Fungus Amongus and the Trees

August 16th, 2008

While wandering the property this week I found a fungus bonanza in an area where the grass has not been cut under the trees for many weeks.   There were probably five or six varieties in a small area.  The fungus is fascinating to look at, but I have to wonder if they are also a sign of a greater problem with the landscape and trees?  

Oak tree decline is a problem in Missouri and other states, and it may affect us locally as well. Over the past few years we’ve lost 3-4 large oak trees, most likely stressed due to drought conditions during the same timeframe.  Once stressed, the trees are more susceptible to insect and fungus damage.    It’s hard to see a 70 or 100 year old tree die.  But I’ve planted other native trees in the landscape as well, and with a little luck they’ll achieve a similar stature one day.

 Dead Oak tree

Some of the tree decay and loss occurs naturally of course, but hopefully it won’t happen on a large scale over a short timeframe.   I see a few other trees that we may lose in the next year as well.  Although we’ve got a lot of trees on our small acreage, if we lost 3-4 each year, it wouldn’t be too long before our landscape changed dramatically. 

 I’m not sure what type of fungi this is, but there were a half-dozen scattered around looking like brown turtles!

Fungi that looks like turtles

Among the different types of plain looking fungi in the area, this red topped mushroom stood out.

Red fungi of uknown type

For now I’ll need to cut down several of the large trees that have died.  Sometimes  it’s good to leave a dead tree or two as a snag host for woodpeckers, insects and other wildlife.  But a few of the trees are in areas where people walk and play, and can be quite hazardous when the large branches let go.  And if I cut the dead tree down within the year, we’ll have a good supply of firewood to help keep energy costs down.   Every little bit helps. 

Editors note:  I wrote this a few days ago, to post in absentia while we are canoeing down some lovely stretch of Missouri river this week.  See you in a couple days!

Festival of the Trees #26

August 1st, 2008

It’s time for the August 1st, 2008 edition of the Festival of the Trees!  This week I find myself off traipsing (is that really a word?) across the north-central U.S. straggling from park to campground while seeking wifi connections.  We’ve ventured through oak-hickory forests, flooded farmland and endless cornfields.  No matter how often I’ve traveled this or another country, I’m amazed at the changing nature of the land (and especially the plant life) around us.   But here from the road is the Festival of the Trees.

As we enter the warmest days of summer, we are thankful for the shade of trees. The mornings have been cool, and the evenings bring a welcome respite from the heat of the day.  But could we ever imagine what our world might look like without the magic of trees?   It might look like those endless cornfields, or the pasture beyond the trees with a nice grassy meadow that is cut for hay every year.  But quite empty!

Of course deserts and oceans have their magic, yet I find that trees bring a unique contrast and perspective to life and somehow provide an extension of our vision and imagination.  This picture for example, taken by a 7-year old, sought the blue sky through the canopy of White Oak leaves and reaches through treetops for something more.

Blue sky through White Oak canopy

We so often lose our childlike wonder as we grow older, but seeing nature through the eyes of children allows us to remember it.  Seabrooke shares such wonder from children of the past and the heritage of The Royal Oak posted at The Marvelous in Nature.

Silvia, aka Salix Tree of Windywillow, shares a beautiful stand of Beech Woods.  Few trees strike such a magical chord within… I could get lost for hours among such gnarled branches!

And Wendy at Naturally Connected finds A Tree with a Special Message Inside, wondering if anyone else has seen something similar?

If you’ve ever been among the Giant Sequoias you almost feel messages of a different kind, and are humbled by the thousands of years they have stood tall among the moments of time on earth.  How does one grasp any sense of perspective while laying among the feet of these sentinels and looking up for hundreds of feet?

Laying among the Giant Sequoias

Rebecca from Pocahontas County Fare shares a more reflective view of Coleridge and how our imagination is often different from reality with This Basswood Bower My Prison (and those Rain Lizards are pretty neat too). 

Sometimes the same trees bring understanding and joy in new ways.  Shai Gluskin from EveryDayandEveryNight.com reflects on the personal history of a neighborhood tree with Linden Light and Shadow.

Yet so often our imagination reigns supreme. Jean at Tasting Rhubarb shares some shadowy Tree Creatures from the past.  They remind me of autumn, not so far off now, and becoming dizzy with flickering light and shadow while driving down a tree lined drive. 

Jane at Wrenaissance Reflections wonders Is There an Xfile for Trees?  I’ve seen many a storm damaged tree, but is there an explanation for this one?

And what would the roads of life be like without trees and forests?  I love a road that disappears among the trees for it conceals, for a moment perhaps, what new wonders lie beyond to surprise our fancy and stir the heart.

The road disappears among the trees

Sometimes we know little about the journey in the same way that we know little about a tree.  Yet it’s the journey that often reveals so much.  Pam Johnson Brickell  falls in love with a Loblolly Bay in the Low Country Wild, and has the chigger bites to prove it!   The pictures reveal her beautiful artwork and notes.

Mary Farmer shares her love for the science of trees with Deciduous Trees in the Tropics posted at A Neotropical Savanna.   Her site is an amazing labor of love, and an educational bonanza for those who want to learn more about plants and trees.  Count me in… or maybe I should just take a trip to Panama!?

Maneesh from Bangalore, India doesn’t share much about the trees, but he does share some amazing pictures about his beautiful country and the Singara Tea Garden.  

Jade Blackwater presents a New Book Release by Dr. Nalini Nadkarni, Between Earth and Sky: Our Intimate Connections to Trees posted at Arboreality – Tree Blogging.  Dr. Nadkarni’s book explores the countless ways that humans relate to trees in every aspect of our lives. Arboreality has so much about trees it’s amazing, and she shares the posts of several other bloggers below.  Thanks Jade!

In Stream of Thought at Anita’s Owl Creek Bridge we see a shadowy picture of a tree along a stream with equally shadowy thoughts.  I love the picture, and most of the poem….  Very creative and, ah, somewhat disturbing! 

Yet where some see shadow, others see light.  I am always amazed too by the size and shape of leaves.  Here we see Mulberry leaves glowing in the afternoon sun.

Mulberry leaves in July

Kate shares the connections she finds with Trees posted at Seeing is a Verb, and reaches even deeper to explore Trees, Roots and Suffering.

And Ash shares some interesting facts about Rock Whitebeams in Holyrood Park posted at Treeblog.  I didn’t even know there was such a tree!

The wonder of sharing our photography is that so few words are really necessary.  Something I forget at times, but Lene of Counting Petals reminds us quite simply that sometimes all we know of trees is what is left behind.  Almost like driftwood?  That might be a neat idea for a future edition of the Festival of the Trees, with pictures and stories of driftwood.

Yet today there is nothing left behind, and I thank all of the contributors for sharing your thoughts and creativity. I look forward to seeing you again… down that tree-lined road of our imagination.  Best wishes!

Shades of Green

July 6th, 2008

Trees.  Those amazing mostly green things we so take for granted.  What would we do without them?  They bring to the world clean air, strength, beauty, shade, biodiversity and even help supply our energy needs in winter.  So much more than a simple list of course, but even so we usually just look at them, or through them.   Lately we’re enjoying the shade from our trees as the summer heat sets in.

Trees in summer in Missouri

But on August 1st we’ll look a little more closely while hosting the Festival of the Trees right here at Fox Haven Journal.  Nothing fancy, just an eclectic mix of pictures and words shared by creative people who appreciate the wonder and magic of Trees. 

So you are most welcome to join us, even if you think writing about trees is crazy.  But you’ve got to admit, they’re pretty darn useful.   If you have a treeish blog post to share, you can submit it through the online submission form, or through our Contact page.

Maybe we’ll find a pattern in the mix of submissions, and perhaps some kind of theme will emerge.  But don’t count on it; I’m still trying to put the puzzle of my own life together.

Flowers and Trees for May Day

May 1st, 2008

A break in the wet weather these last few days has really helped with getting some work finished. And we actually had a frost a couple days ago- I was concerned about the flowers and trees. But we lucked out and the only damage was to our tomato plants in the garden. And they were covered?! They’ll still grow from the bottom, but the tops were frostbitten in just a few hours.

The flowers and leaves coming out on the trees are amazing, so Happy May Day! The oak trees are almost finished blooming… not something we think about often perhaps, but the flowers, or catkins of this Red Oak tree hang downward shedding a great deal of pollen. The trees sort of shine or sparkle with reds and yellows as the new leaves emerge. This should be a strong year for acorns, and next year as well. And all the critters should have a strong year too as population cycles swing up and down based on the forage available.

Red Oak tree catkins in spring

Speaking of trees- the Festival of the Trees will be up today and hosted by 10,000 Birds. What a wonderful site, thanks for hosting the festival! Birds have been a passion of mine since youth. I’m waiting to see if the beautiful Summer Tanagers that came by last year will return. I’m not sure where they nest, but they didn’t remain here long. Like the Orioles they seem to pass by on their way to somewhere else. But we have too many wasps around, and the Tanagers can help with that. Now after I get my bees I may feel a little differently… ;)

The wildflowers continue to bloom too, and it seems this year there are more flowers than ever. Maybe from all the rain? Or maybe just my excitement for the season.

I like the colorful blues that Wild Phlox and Birdsfoot Violet provide to the understory. They come and go so quickly it seems, and next week the Bloodroot and May Apples should be flowering.

Wild Phlox flowers


Birdsfoot Violet

I still haven’t found any morels, but maybe it’s just an off year. One of the cub scout families took a class with a “morel expert” and they walked the landscape for an entire day not finding a single one! He said that in very wet years, the morels will grow underground more. Of course we were hiking last weekend and the guy in front of me found a nice white morel on the side of the trail…

Our Nature with Trees as Inspiration

April 1st, 2008

It seems to me that among the many things we have in common as humans on this great planet earth, is a desire to share our interests and creativity with each other, even when we do so somewhat anonymously :)   Technology has leveraged this ability for so many of us, and allowed amateur journalists and photographers to start their own published works.  Why do we write or take pictures, and share our thoughts with other people we may never meet as more than mere pseudonyms? 

Perhaps it is more than that… we are sharing our nature with each other, and our love for the larger Nature of the world around us.  Inspiration comes in many forms, but today it comes from Trees.  

Festival of the Trees

When I submitted a post on The Tuning Fork Tree for the wonderful Festival of the Trees this month, I didn’t have any idea that it would be hosted half a world away in Sao Paulo, Brazil! 

But it’s true- this month the Festival of the Trees is hosted by Alive Trees in Our Lives … soon to include an english translation if it’s not there quite yet.  Being ever curious however, I found a little help from Alta Vista Babel Fish, pasted the link to the site, selected Portuguese to English, and then translate!  Isn’t technology wonderful?  Then I was able to read not only the wonderful festival post, but also to discover more about Alive Trees in Our Lives and their mission:

“To promote and to develop action and projects that value the trees, creating a culture of encantamento, recognition and preservation, always with much joy, creativity and integration.”

 Would encantamento be charm or enchantment?  It missed that word, but when you visit the Alive Trees site you get the idea, and then understand that the Trees and forests are the inspiration and mission.  What a joy to find themes of Nature shared here and there.  But then again, we really are on the same journey, aren’t we?

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