Trees with Seeds

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This time a year it’s easy to spot trees with seeds. Some are very colorful like the magnolias (they remind me a little or red M&Ms)

And the dogwoods.

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Others are mostly brown like the golden rain trees

And maples (some trees shed their samaras in the spring…others, like these at Brookside Gardens, wait until the fall)

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And red buckeyes with the buckeye nut showing where the mottled brown and green husk has cracked.

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Then there are seeds that are still green…that will take more time to mature and dry…ready to be shed next spring. The tulip poplar seed pods are still closed in the fall…the seeds not yet mature. We always accumulate a lot of tulip poplar seeds in our gutters in the spring.

The sycamore seeds will get softer…the balls feeling almost ‘furry’ by the time they break apart dispersing the small seeds in the spring. Each bump on this immature seed ball will become a sycamore seed! When I show tulip poplar and sycamore seeds to preschoolers on spring field trips, they are always awestruck my how small they are compared to the trees!

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Training at Belmont

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There was a volunteer training session for the 5th grade BioBlitz field trip at Belmont led by Howard County Conservancy a week or so ago. The short hike back to the woods…to an area along the trail where water seeps out of the ground to create a small stream…gave us an opportunity to see how easy it is to find interesting organisms to document. The trees are obvious.

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Looking more closely there are things like mushrooms growing on a moss-covered log, macroinvertebrates in the water,

Crawly things (millipedes, worms, termites, insect larvae, etc.) under logs that can be rolled and sometimes frogs/toads that jump and show themselves. In our case it was a small American toad.

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Sometimes even the texture of tree bark can be interesting. This beech tree has wrinkles!

It was a ‘in a few minutes’ type of event…so much found, quickly. We could spend the whole time documenting what we found in that small area. It helps that there is water…since we haven’t had much rain recently and some longs that were mossy and full of fungi last spring are brown right now.

New Laptop…Rearranged Office

August was a big tech purchase month for me….I bought a new laptop and monitor. My old laptop was going to run out its 4-year warranty in mid-September and I used the Labor Day sales as my excuse to buy the new one a few weeks early. I ended up buying the new and improved version of my old laptop – a Dell XPS 13. The new model (9380) has double the RAM and SSD size…more processors. It is the same size as the old one. I bought a Dell Business Thunderbolt Dock TB16 to make it easier to get everything attached to the laptop via one plug (the thunderbolt). I also got a bigger and better monitor – a Dell UltraSharp 27 Monitor (UP2716D); I’ve graduated from one monitor to two in my home office. It took me very little time to get software installed and my files copied from the old laptop.

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I used the interruption of the new laptop to rearrange my office. I’ve been using the same office furniture for about 25 years (since we moved to our current house). At first the furniture was 3 pieces attached to each other. About 5 years ago I detached the longer table. Now they are all independent. The corner piece is my computer work area complete with Swopper chair (bouncing so I am never sedentary for long at the computer), two monitors, the laptop on the far fight, my phone in a metal bowl under the monitors….a lamp in the background. I’m experimenting with a scarf at the front to protect the edge of the table….after 25 years the finish is worn.

There is a window to my right….with a view of trees. My office is the room with the best view in this house

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Behind me is a long table where I work on major Zentangle projects like the transom window film. There is another lamp there and a charging station for items like the iPad and pencil. I have a narrow-shelved case to sort materials for projects.

I’ve enjoyed my home office from the beginning…but the new arrangement hones it for the things I do now rather than when I was in the thick of my career.

Gleanings of the Week Ending August 31, 2019

The items below were ‘the cream’ of the articles and websites I found this past week. Click on the light green text to look at the article.

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week: August and Sunbirds and Spiderhunters -  Two sets of bird pictures this week…catching up a little on the gleanings…and good picutres to start out the post this week.

Rare Lightning Strikes Detected 300 Miles from North Pole | Smart News | Smithsonian – I’d never thought about lightning or thunderstorms over the arctic….so this was ‘news to me’ from several perspectives.

Impact of largescale tree death on carbon storage -- ScienceDaily – In our area, invasive insects have caused the deaths of two tree species in recent years: Eastern Hemlock (wooly adelgid) and Ash (Emerald Ash Borer)…die-offs that are definitely not the norm. I wondered if the research included these in their ‘insect outbreak’ category.

The practical ways to reduce your carbon footprint (that actually work) | WIRED UK – How many of these have you considered…implemented?

Here's How the 'Fish Tube' Works | Smart News | Smithsonian – And it doesn’t injure the fish? It seems like it would be very traumatic for the fish.

Tracing the History of Decorative Art, a Genre Where "Form Meets Function" – Short…with some good pictures…and links.

Microplastic drifting down with the snow: In the Alps and the Arctic, experts confirm the presence of plastic in snow -- ScienceDaily – Aargh! Something we have in our minds as being ‘clean’ because it is white, is polluted by things so tiny we can’t see them.

Insect 'apocalypse' in U.S. driven by 50x increase in toxic pesticides – Why are we still using such huge amounts of pesticides when we don’t need to….we have methods to grow our food without decimating pollinators and other beneficial insects.

BBC - Future - The wildlife haven in a Cold War ‘death strip’ – The land between what used to be East and West Germany…the borderland between Finland and Russia….places where the Iron Curtain divided people. This is a long corridor of land left alone for the decades of rapid growth in Europe – land where people didn’t tread but where plants and animals could thrive. It is the European Green Belt through 24 countries. Some species are already using it to migrate north to escape the effects of global warming.

What drives inflammation in type 2 diabetes? Not glucose, says new research -- ScienceDaily – A surprise finding….and now a lot more research needed about fat derivatives and mitochondria in people with type 2 diabetes.

eBotanical Prints – July 2019

Sixteen books added to the list of botanical ebooks collection this month. The are all freely available on the Internet. The whole list of over 1,700 books can be accessed here. Sample images and links for the 16 news ones are provided below. (click on the sample image to see a larger view) Enjoy!

There is quite a variety this month – trees, mosses, wildflowers, mushrooms, pitcher plants and roses. A lot of plant types to savor.

Forestry handbooks * Maiden, Joseph Henry * sample image * 1917

Species muscorum frondosorum V1 * Hedwig, Johannes, Schwagrichen, Christian Friedrich * sample image * 1801

Species muscorum frondosorum V2 * Hedwig, Johannes, Schwagrichen, Christian Friedrich * sample image * 1801

British Wild Flowers * Loudon, Jane Wells Webb * sample image * 1846

The ladies' flower-garden of ornamental annuals * Loudon, Jane Wells Webb * sample image * 1840

Watercolor Album * Passmore, Deborah Griscom * sample image * 1911

Field book of common gilled mushrooms * Thomas, William Sturgis * sample image * 1928

Illustrations of British mycology V1 * Hussey, Thomas John, Mrs. * sample image * 1847

Illustrations of British mycology V2 * Hussey, Thomas John, Mrs. * sample image * 1855

Illustrations of North American pitcherplants  * Walcott, Mary Vaux; Wherry, Edgar Theodore; Jones, Frank Morton * sample image * 1935

Journal des Roses  (yr. 18-20, 1894-1896) * Cochet, M. Scipion * sample image * 1896

Journal des Roses  (36-37, 1912-1913) * Cochet, M. Scipion * sample image * 1913

Journal des Roses  (33-35, 1909-1911 ) * Cochet, M. Scipion * sample image * 1911

Journal des Roses  (1897 ) * Cochet, M. Scipion * sample image * 1897

Journal des Roses  (1880 ) * Cochet, M. Scipion * sample image * 1880

Journal des Roses  (1903 ) * Cochet, M. Scipion * sample image * 1903

Belmont Field Trips

BioBlitz for middle schoolers and Nature Tales for pre-K – the Howard County Conservancy field trips at Belmont had quite an age range.

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Early in the month before a middle school BioBlitz, a red-tailed hawk sat on the Carriage House roof watching the flurry of preparation below. It stayed until the first groups of students arrived to fly away.

The last field trip of the season was a pre-K group. My station was all about trees. I took a picture of it before they arrived. I’d had pulled some tulip poplar seedlings to show since the nearby sycamore trees that I used to talk a lot about had been cut down (before they fell on a nearby building).  The was the calm before the 56 4-year-olds with their chaperones arrived on 4 buses. I was glad that they came to my station in 4 separate groups rather than all at once! The weather was near perfect…the children thrilled to be outdoors…and a good time was had by all…and maybe they learned a little about trees too. It was a good finale to the spring field trip season.

Gleanings of the Week Ending May 25, 2019

Eye's vulnerability to macular degeneration revealed -- ScienceDaily – All cells of the macula are not the same. The ones in the central part (Muller cells) are smaller and shaped differently than the cells around the edges…and they are the ones involved in macular degeneration. Knowing more about the central cells may lead to more focused treatment.

Dangerously High Air Pollution Levels Found in Most U.S. National Parks - Yale E360 – Our national parks are places to enjoy natural beauty…be outdoors. Its very sad to know that air pollution is a problem.

Banana disease boosted by climate change -- ScienceDaily – Black Sigatoka – a fungal disease impacting bananas – is not virtually worldwide. It’s surprising that bananas are still such a bargain in our grocery stores.

Ten Tips for Being a Good Partner - On the Job - AGU Blogosphere – Good tips…and I liked the illustrative examples from real projects.

Oldest known trees in eastern North America documented -- ScienceDaily – In North Carolina there is a Bald Cypress that it at least 2,624 years old!

Does insulin resistance cause fibromyalgia? A newly confirmed link with insulin resistance may radically change the way fibromyalgia and related forms of chronic pain are identified and managed -- ScienceDaily – Researchers dramatically reduced pain of fibromyalgia patients with medication that targeted Insulin resistance.

Dogs Sniff Out Invasive Mussels at Chickasaw National Recreation Area – In the early 1970s, my husband and I often visited this area of Oklahoma (also visiting what was then Platt National Park). Kudos to the people trying it keep Zebra Mussels out of the Lake of the Arbuckles!

Soaking up pharmaceuticals and personal care products from water -- ScienceDaily – A new acronym (PPCPs = Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products). These are being detected in water everywhere usually in low concentrations but increasing…so it’s good that research is underway to develop ways to remove them from water.

A New View of Bird Vision – Cool Green Science – The article describes ways bird vision is being studied and provides examples of specific UV sensitivities in turkeys and red-winged black birds.

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week: May – National Geographic Society – Last but not least for this week --- enjoy some bird pictures.

Tree Bud Project – Week 3

It’s Friday – I’m updating the status of the branches I brought inside 2 weeks ago (previous posts: week 1, week2). This will be the last post. The flowers and leaves are wilting because the small branches can’t get enough water to the new growth.

The cherry blossoms opened but stayed small – then started to show stress – the delicate white petals wilting.

The tulip poplar branch lasted longer with more and more small leaves emerging from the bud.

Four leaves emerged from one bud and one of the leaves unfolded before they all began to wilt.

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The only branch that didn’t seem to develop at all was the black walnut. Maybe it was just way too early for those buds to develop even in the warmer temperature indoors.

Tree Bud Project – Week 2

It’s Friday – so I am doing an update on the tree branches I brought inside a week ago. See the previous post here. All of them seem to be surviving in the vase of water. I’ve freshened the water every few days. All the pictures are with the 15x macro clip-on lens and my smartphone.

The cherry buds have opened into small white flowers! At first the buds just looked bigger.

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Two days later, the white tips showed beyond the green of the outer covering.

And the next morning the flowers were open! I took a picture of the back and front of the flowers.

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The plum is slower. Some of the buds have not changed at all and I am wondering if they were damaged by cold temperatures. Some look like they are larger. I hope they eventually will open.

The red maple has bloomed and is now drooping. They are wind fertilized…so won’t make seeds in the ‘windless’ house. At first, they looked very red – like little streamers from the bud.

Then the bigger structure grew.

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And now they seem to be drying out.

The tulip poplar has been changing a lot too. At first more buds opened.

Two days later all the buds were larger, and a tiny leaf had emerged from one of them.

Over the next few days other tiny leaves emerged and began to get larger. I noticed the tiny leaves while they were still folded inside the bud too. The bark of the twig seems to be a deeper color too.

I haven’t noticed any changes in the black walnut branch. If the buds do open it should be spectacular with so many buds on the tip of the branch.

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The sycamore buds haven’t changed much either although they seem to be a little larger and their color has shifted to green with some red overtones.

Stay tuned to next Friday for the next tree bud report!

Gleanings of the Week Ending March 16, 2019

The items below were ‘the cream’ of the articles and websites I found this past week. Click on the light green text to look at the article.

Wind Cave, In the National Park, Is 150 Miles Long...And Counting – About 2 miles are surveyed annually and there are about 3,000 unexplored openings that haven’t been checked.

Climate of North American cities will shift hundreds of miles in one generation: New web application helps visualize climate changes in 540 North American cities -- ScienceDaily – The article includes a link to the interactive map. Baltimore Maryland will be like Cleveland, Mississippi in 60 years!

Southern California Will Soon See Another Booming Superbloom | Smart News | Smithsonian – Much better than burn scars and mud slides.

The Obelisks of Heliopolis - Archaeology Magazine – Obelisks taken from the city…a project to understand where they originally stood and the role they played.

In Era of Drought, Phoenix Prepares for a Future Without Colorado River Water - Yale E360 – Living on the edge when it comes to water supply. It’s not just South Africa that has the challenge.

BBC - Future - How Japan’s ancient trees could tell the future –Teasing out how much rain fell in Japan over the past two and half millennia by looking at the preserved wood of ancient forests.    

The soaring cost of US child care, in 5 charts  and Paid family leave is an investment in public health, not a handout – Thought provoking…families coping in the modern world.

Utilities are starting to invest in big batteries instead of building new power plants – Shifts in the way big utilities are structuring themselves for the future – it not all about new power plants.

New molecules reverse memory loss linked to depression, aging -- ScienceDaily – Maybe in the future we’ll be able to treat some types of cognitive decline better than we can now.

The Future of Universities | What's Next: Top Trends – 7 Cs: Critical thinking, Creativity, Collaboration, Communication, Curiosity, Character and Compassion

Tree Bud Project – Week 1

I started a project to photograph tree buds this week by cutting small branches from trees in our yard: cherry, plum, red maple, tulip poplar, black walnut, and sycamore. Unfortunately, there were no branches low enough for me to reach on our oak.

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The plan is to bring the branches indoors (where it is warm) and monitor the buds – see how many of them would open indoors over the next few weeks. Once they do, I’ll check to see what is happening with the buds on the tree outdoors.

I took pictures of the buds with the 15x macro lens clipped to my smart phone…starting with the cherry. The buds are enlarging but still firmly closed. Our tree lags the blossoms down in DC around the tidal basin.

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The plum buds are still very small. They already show the pink color of the flowers. The tree usually blooms after the cherry.

The red maple twig is easy to identify - opposite twigs, red buds. I was surprised that there were so few branches with buds on the lower branches; the deer must be the culprits. It took a lot of looking to find a branch I could reach with buds.

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The tulip poplar already had a popped bud! The others on the branch were still closed. The leaf scars are interesting to notice too.

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The black walnut has a lot of buds at the tip of the branch. This tree was also heavily browsed by deer. The branch leaked sap as I was taking pictures. Hope is it OK with the water from the vase.

Finally – the sycamore buds are still tight. In a previous year, a sycamore bud on my indoor branch opened and a tiny leaf unfurled.

I’ll be posting about the leaf buds about once a week if there is action to report.

Twigs and Witch Hazel

I have been looking more closely at twigs of trees recently and trying out simple dichotomous keys. As an example: here is one I looked at during a class on winter tree identification. Looking at the full branch – it was obvious that the leaf scars were opposite. Next, we needed to look at the leaf scars in more detail. There were hand lenses for everyone but I used my 15x lens clipped to my phone so I could share what I was seeing. The leaf scar was D shaped and had three bundles. And the new growth was red. We had to break the twig to smell it…its didn’t smell rank, so it was a RED MAPLE.

It turns out that multiples buds at the twig tip is indicative of maples and oaks…and that maples are opposite, and oaks are alternate. So – it’s possible to take a picture looking up into a tree and make a tentative identification. For example – this was a picture I took in my neighborhood with alternate branching and multiple buds at the end of the twigs – an OAK.  I had been using the relative height of the trees in my neighborhood (oaks are taller) but this identification is better and maybe easier too for the street trees planted by the builder 25-30 years ago – oaks and maples.

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I couldn’t resist taking a picture of the crumpled bark on the red maple twig. I wonder if they smooth out as the twig grows when the weather warms?

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On a more colorful note: be on the look out for witch hazels. Some bloom in the fall but others bloom now. There is one at Howard Country Conservancy’s Mt. Pleasant location that I am watching. Hopefully bitterly cold weather will not damage the flowers that are beginning to unfurl.

Smartphone Nature Photography – part 1

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We almost always have our smartphones with us….ready for those natural events that just happen and for planned photoshoots. I pulled together a presentation of a Maryland Master Naturalist retreat on the topic and am using it as a basis for the blog posts for today and tomorrow.

Gear

Learn about the camera in your phone. Two critical aspects: 1) Usually the autofocus is reasonably good but tapping on the screen where you want the focus to be can sometimes improve results. Do some experiments to see how close you can be and maintain the focus on your subject. 2) Realize that the zoom is digital – not optical. You are better off getting close to your subject rather than zooming. This is difficult if your subject is an animal that will move if you get close. Birds are notoriously difficult to photograph with a phone.

Consider a lanyard. I like to carry my phone on a lanyard (one that is structured to not obstruct the camera) so that I can be ‘hands free’ while I am hiking or rolling over logs…just doing regular naturalist things.  I want my phone to be easy to access – easier than getting it out of a pocket or pack.

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I enjoy using macro lenses. I have 3 different kinds (8x, 15x, and 60x) and tend to use the 15x clip the most. Sometimes I just have it on my phone so that I can move it over the camera as needed. The depth of field is very shallow with the magnification and the phone must be close to the subject. Practice the best stance to steady your hands. I find that tucking my elbows into my body helps….and using one had to hold the phone and the other to take the picture.

Examples of Smartphone nature photography

BioBlitz. Almost all the BioBlitz pictures are taken with smartphones or tablets. Sometimes we use hands for scale – and sometimes the macro lens gives a new perspective! These are pictures taken during BiobBlitz: spotted salamander, wooly bear caterpillar, milkweed.

Landscapes.  The joy of being outdoors! Try to get something of high interest in the landscape: the trail as a leading line, clouds over the trees, an early winter scene with bare trees/large rock/pines.

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Macro. The macro lens offers to many opportunities to observe more closely than you can observe with just your eye: clams filter feeding, the center of sunflower.

A chicory flower, a newly hatched Monarch butterfly caterpillar turning to eat its egg covering, and damselfly larvae.

A few minutes observing. I play a game with myself looking closely at one thing and taking photos as fast as I can over a short period of time. In this case it was a sweet bay magnolia. There were seed pods at several stages of development and some eggs under a leaf (maybe a leaf footed bug…if I was patient enough I could see what hatched but that was outside my time box).

(To be continued tomorrow…)

Winter Tree Identification – Part 2

Continuing from yesterday -

Seeds that help with identification include tulip poplar (the pods stay on the trees releasing the seeds during the winter breezes to clog up any nearby gutters!),

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Osage orange (that fall to the ground and are only moved around my people these days…they were planted for fence rows after the dust bowl because they are hardy, and the seed balls are easily broken apart and planted),

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Sweet gum (the spikey seeds are a hazard in suburban yards and drive ways), and

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Black walnuts (there are always nuts under the tree but the squirrels may carry then a little further away so look at the shape of the tree too).

Of course – there are trees that are not as easy to identify. That’s why I carry a small book – Winter Tree Finder – when I am hiking in the winter and looking at trees. I found mine at a used book sale, but they are available new from Amazon as well.

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Winter Tree Identification – Part 1

Leaves are an easy first step to identifying a tree…but not in the winter. Other identifying characteristics come to the fore. I’ve collected up some photos from the past few winters and will show the ones I find easy to identify even in the winter. Do you recognize the white barked trees that grow near rivers and have round seeds that often stay on the tree during the winter?

The sycamores are common in our area and are easier to spot in the winter than in the summer when their big leaves sometimes hide the whiteness of their branches.

They are only one of the trees that have distinctive bark. Others are spicebush (it can be a bush or understory tree) and beech below. They both have relative smooth bark. The spicebush is speckled with light colored lenticels.

Both the sycamore and river birch have peeling bark.

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Sometime thorns can be an identifying characteristic – like with the honey locust.

The bald cypress is the only conifer I’m including in this post since it sheds its needles for the winter. It is easy to recognize by its shape and the presence of knees…and that it likes wet areas.

The dogwoods have distinctive buds. Sometimes they are described as onion-shaped. They look more like slightly flattened Hershey’s kisses to me!

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Belmont in January 2019

Last week, I attended a lecture for Howard County Conservancy volunteers at the Belmont Carriage House – arriving early to walk around a bit before the lecture. There was still quite a lot of snow on the ground.

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I stayed on the cleared roads until I made the trek up to the old cemetery.

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The old tulip poplar looks even more ancient in the winter with all the hollows and bark injuries more clearly visible. It had a lot of seed pods from last season just as the younger trees do.

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One of the people I was hiking with pointed out an ash tree on the Patapsco Valley State Park side of the cemetery that had evidence of emerald ash borer (the lighter color on the bark). This tree will have to be cut down before it falls on the cemetery taking down fences and stones.

On a positive note – the hemlocks in the cemetery seem to be thriving. A few years ago they were infested with wooly adelgid but they were treated and it seems have saved them.

The wind must have ‘pruned’ the holly in the cemetery. A branch was draped from one of the headstones – no footprints in the snow around the headstone.

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There were lots of deer tracks in the snow as we walked up to the cemetery and back. We didn’t see any rabbit tracks. Maybe a coyote?

We circled back along the row of white pines. The snow stands out even on a very cloudy day.

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It was time to head back. I stopped near the mailboxes to take a picture of the pond with the bald cypress standing just to the left of it. It does have a classic cypress shape but if I wasn’t familiar with the tree, I’d have to hike down to the pond and see the cypress knees that surround it for a definitive identification.

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Winter Walk in the Neighborhood - 2

I noticed a lot of mud as I walked in our neighborhood. Some of it was on the sidewalks – not something I’d noticed in previous years. 2018 was a record rain year for us…and we’ve continued to get rain in the first part of 2019.

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There is mud where grass used to grow under many of the trees.

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Sometimes the trees would have made the area very shady before the leaves fell but most of the branches of trees along the street are trimmed high by the county so emergency vehicles can get down the street without being damaged. There is still a lot of bare soil under them.

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I am already thinking about what alternatives I have for the area under our plum tree; since we have a challenge with deer eating tender plants, my first idea is to simply mulch out to the dripline of the tree.

A squirrel was rooting in a raised bed in one yard. He noticed me, but I was far enough away (using the zoom on my camera) that he continued his investigation.

Cooler Days – Little Fall Color

Here it is the end of September and most of the leaves are still on the trees and green. The ones that have fallen are brown.

Our oak is a good example of that. Looking at the ground it looks like half the leaves have fall but the tree still looks like it has plenty more. (The ruler in the picture is me learning to take better documentary pictures for trees.)

In the back of our house, the red maple has no red leaves. Usually it starts out with a few that show up surrounded by green. But right now it’s still a wall of green although there are leaves on the ground that are brown.

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The tulip poplar usually has some yellow leaves surrounded by green. Some of the leaves look like they might be turning but even the zoomed image looks like a wall of green.

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There are some green tulip poplar leaves that have fallen in recent heavy rains…but overall the tree still has a lot of green leaves attached.

The sycamore has been dropping brown leaves but still has a lot of green ones on the tree. It’s usual the first to drop leaves. This year some are staying on the tree but there are still more green than brown ones.

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We’ve gotten a lot more rain than usual in September (almost 11 inches rather than the historical average of 4.6 inches) and the trees may be impacted by that. There is a lot of mud even in the grassy areas of our yard.

The end of October is generally the time the leaves fly from the trees, so I am still anticipating fall color. It just seems that there are too many brown leaves on the ground already.

Our Oak Tree

We have an oak tree in our front yard beside the mail box. It was a very young tree when we bought the house in October 1994.

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It’s grown a lot in 24 years.

We appreciate it’s shade on the front of the house in the morning. This year it has some Virginia creeper growing on the trunk. Maybe it’s just the wet year. I’m leaving the vine – since it’s a native plant – but may cut it next year. The tree looks very healthy but had no acorns this year; maybe the a cold snap last spring caught the tree at the wrong time.

The tree has more lichen and moss on it now. The extra moisture may contribute to the density but it’s typical of mature tree trunks in our area to have these companions. I like the contrasting greens of the moss (very bright) and the lichen (soft green).

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The county trimmed the lower branches from the street trees in our neighborhood and our oak was no exception. I took a picture of the scars where larger branches were cut. They show how the tree responds.

One that was particularly interesting had some curly fungus growing in it. The surface was not as vertical as most of the other cuts; perhaps more water is retained…and the fungus found a niche.

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Overall – the oak is one of my favorite trees. I wish they had planted it further back from the street and the drive way…and not elevated the mulch around it; it’s a lesson learned for future houses and trees. At this point, I just enjoy that this particular oak where and how it is.

Gleanings of the Week Ending September 1, 2018

The items below were ‘the cream’ of the articles and websites I found this past week. Click on the light green text to look at the article.

Poor sleep triggers viral loneliness and social rejection: Lack of sleep generates social anxiety that infects those around us -- ScienceDaily – Yet another reason that getting enough sleep is important to us as individuals and society at large.

The Armchair Photography Guide to Canyonlands National Park – Island in The Sky | National Parks Traveler – So many of the pictures had snow! It would be good to go when it was not terrifically hot….so any time but summer and even better close to the beginning or end of winter (a little now…not enough to be hazardous).

Stunning Underwater Photos of Microscopic Plankton by Ryo Minemizu – Beautiful, small life.

In Eastern US, adult trees adapt and acclimate to local climate: Tree cores reveal flexibility, more work needed to understand mechanisms -- ScienceDaily – 14 species of trees were analyzed using tree cores from 1940-1980….shouldn’t we look at more recent tree cores too?

Bed Bugs: When Biodiversity Bites – Cool Green Science – Informative….maybe I should check for bedbugs more consistently when I travel. I shouldn’t keep relying on ‘luck’ to avoid a very bad experience.

A Record Year for Measles Cases in Europe | The Scientist Magazine® - When I was a child, the measles vaccines didn’t exist yet. It was awful. Everyone got sick with them and, for some, there were lasting consequences. I was fortunate and survived without lasting damage except for missing enough school that I never quite understood certain volumetric measurements because I completely missed when it was taught.

Which country has the most expensive education? - Are the comparisons really apples and apples…or are there some pears and oranges thrown in? It is about educations but there are a lot of variables beside cost. All countries and parents and teachers struggle with how to make education relevant to students for now and into the future.

Air Pollution Linked to Decline in Cognitive Performance – The study was done in China but I wondered if it was true in other areas of the world with high levels of air pollution (like India). The US could be vulnerable if we relax our clean air standards.

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx begins asteroid operations campaign – We were in Florida in September 2016 for the launch…so I always notice the updates about its progress.

50% of Industrial Climate Change Emissions Tied to Fossil Fuel Companies – An interview with the two authors of a recently released report: Decarbonization Pathways for Mines.