Posted on April 9, 2012 at 7:18 AM
DRIPPING SPRINGS, Texas -- From a distance, a huge oak tree beckons. It's almost as if the branches are saying, "come and seek shade."
"This one, this legend oak, here is -- stressed," said Marianne Simmons, an organic farmer helping to care for the tree. "It's been stressed by encroachment of oak wilt and by drought in the last couple of years."
"A couple years ago when the drought first started, I came out one day, and I looked up, and basically it had defoliated," Simmons said. "Most of the leaves had fallen during the time of year when leaves don't ordinarily fall off oak trees. And then we realized we were in crisis."
Simmons explained watering the tree, as well as the recent rains, have helped the tree considerably. However, it will need more care.
Not only does the tree need to be nursed back to health, the historic home of Dr. Joseph Pound, which is part of the farmstead, needs to be maintained. Pound was one of the first people to move to Dripping Springs, bringing his family there in 1852.
The Pound family home, which is open to the public, is more than 150 years old. Once you step inside, you can see how the family lived in the 1800s. Pound's medical tools are even on display.
Shelley Hill is the chair of the Heritage Gala, a fundraising effort to preserve the home and save the tree. She recalls an amazing story surrounding the oak tree and farmstead. A few years ago a man discovered he was a descendant of Pound.
"He did not know anything about the farmstead, and he called us and said 'hey, I want to come to your gala this year, but I also want to get married -- at the gala,'" Hill said. "So he and all of his relatives came down here, and they got married under this oak tree."
The goal is to ensure this special tree and historic farmstead remain a part of Dripping Springs history for a very long time.