When I decided to follow a tree, it was pretty hard to choose one. Maybe a big bur oak, with acorns like golf balls? Or one of the southern prickly ashes, whose bark is covered with spiny pyramids? There are pecan trees, and walnut trees and cedar trees and hackberry trees in the Not So Big Woods. Big ones, too: mature trees that arch high overhead, with trunks that my arms can't circle.
But in the end, I chose a young cedar elm. It's about 7-8 years old, growing within a few yards of its probable parent tree. It's the center of our circular gravel drive, in an area we enclosed with big limestone rocks and railroad ties.
The droughts of the last 2 summers haven't had as much of an effect on this tree as on most others. It got the benefit of the water that we gave the roses that are planted around it, and the dribble from the morning filling of the birdbath. In the picture below, you can see the birdbath flat on the ground on the right side.
Right now, the circumference of the tree is about 8 1/4 inches just below the main fork. It has an important job: providing perching branches for the songbirds that hang out at the feeder station just a couple of feet away. The twigs are tiny little things, a few of them showing the corky wing-like structures that make it easy to confuse the cedar elm with the winged elm.
I picked this tree because it's so small. As fascinating as the big trees are, I love the idea of having the branches of my "followed" tree right down at a level where I can get at them. Spring is springing here in North Central Texas, so changes are sure to be coming soon.