The oldest living thing in the world lives in California, but despite all appearances, it is not me. Of course, I'm talking about the bristlecone pine, some of which have been alive for almost 5,000 years. One reason that the trees have lived so long is that they do their best to stay out of fights and just go off and live away from everybody else. Maybe they're like me, after all.

Today, I planted the youngest known bristlecone pine, following the instructions in this handy kit I bought last year at the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest:

The kit comes with cartoon instructions, the planting demonstrated by Sequoia ("our pet tree wolf"). Sequoia puts dirt in the container, gives it bottled water and then makes this wonderful face while trying to open the seed packet:

I suppose the face is supposed to be "concentration," but I prefer to think of it as, "I'm already bored with this whole planting thing, Mom. Can't we just make trees on Sim City? It'll be faster."

The kit even comes with rocks. You can't beat that with a stick. At least not for a year, if you're waiting for this tree to produce a stick. This is my little greenhouse:

It's not going up on the shelf next to the banana plant, because bristlecone pines have to be "tricked." It's going to live in the refrigerator for the next 20 days. The random action of the refrigerator light is going to really play havoc with its circadian rhythms.

1 thoughtful messages from friendly readers:

AbbotOfUnreason said...

Further instructions because I know I'm going to lose this cartoon instruction booklet:

"After 20 days, remove the mini-greenhouse from the refrigerator, and place it near a sunny window or in some other WARM place."

"Now, sit back and enjoy watching the life of your tree begin! Water as needed to keep the soil 15-45 days, germination will occur...transplant smaller sprouts."

"When your tree reaches about an inch tall, remove the top cap of its mini-greenhouse for ventilation."

1 year later "Once your tree grows to the top of its mini-greenhouse, it's time to transplant it to a larger container...Water it only when the soil looks and feels almost completely dry."

"A happy tree can grow more than 1 foot each year!" This is why we know a banana is not a tree.

2 years later "When your tree outgrows its container, it's ready for a permanent place in the landscape."