Time Passages

By: Bogon , 8:14 PM GMT on November 14, 2010

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Spiffing up the Landscape

This week my wife and I were pleased to acquire three new trees to adorn our heretofore largely vacant front yard. The process began last weekend when we drove down to a local nursery.

Three years ago we bought a pine for the back yard. We wanted an evergreen to provide afternoon shade and year-round privacy. I narrowed the choice to loblolly and longleaf pines. The longleaf pine, the signature tree at Pinehurst, does grow beautifully here, though my yard sits near the northern edge of its habitat. The loblolly ranges wider, extending as far north as New Jersey and as far west as Bastrop, Texas. I know about the "Lost Pines" of Bastrop, because I used to visit a park there when I lived in Austin. Now the tree reminds me of old friends and bygone times. It was the personal connection that ultimately tipped the balance.

Our loblolly has grown fast and well. We feel that the folks who planted it did a good job, so we were predisposed to approach them again. This time we did not carry a specific shopping list. We wandered around the grounds and looked at what was in stock. Everything was marked down to half price! With winter coming on, it was time to move the inventory. Besides, this is a good time of year to plant trees. Many trees go dormant during the winter, so their demand for water is less critical. The ground remains cool and moist while they acclimate and begin to put out roots. Next spring, as things warm up and growth resumes, they will have had a few months to get ready. Hopefully by the time hot dry summer rolls around they won't be so sensitive and vulnerable.

We had two general requirements. We wanted one or more flowering trees for visual (and possibly olfactory) appeal. Since we were obliged to cut down a pair of cedars that someone planted too close to the house, we needed a new tree to screen the bathroom window. The privacy function calls for an evergreen. The geometry of sight lines demands something big and fast growing.

We picked a redbud for its flower. As a matter of fact, it was blooming right there on the lot. It is still blooming half-heartedly now, even as Jack Frost begins to nip at it each morning. If the tree had a brain, I would have to think that blooming this time of year would be a clear sign of stupidity or desperation. Probably desperation — after all, the poor plant has been uprooted and generally accorded high-handed and unsettling treatment. It could be trying to sow the seeds of a new generation as its final act of optimism and/or defiance. Now suddenly its roots are back in terra firma, it has a new home, and perhaps it won't have to die. Perhaps in a few years it can look back on this traumatic episode and laugh at its own folly.

We considered the southern magnolia. The magnolia fulfills both requirements: it has wonderfully scented long-lasting blossoms, and it is an evergreen. Sadly, all of the available magnolias were too small. With respect to the screening function we were looking for instant gratification.

One of the largest trees, judging by the size of its root ball, was an evergreen. Like the redbud it looked somewhat downcast and forlorn, but otherwise it was an attractive specimen. Neither of us could say what kind it was. We had to ask the attendant. She told us, "Cryptomeria". Never heard of it. Crypto what? She spoke the name again. That didn't help much.

Later we noticed another nice looking conifer. It had bright green needles and red bark. A tag wrapped around one branch labeled it "dawn redwood". There was something odd about it that I couldn't quite put my finger on.

More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About Two Trees

Friday morning a team from the nursery arrived to plant our trees. I showed them where I wanted the holes dug and where to find water and mulch. I watched as they used a handy little multifunction lawn tractor thingie to position the trees and rapidly auger big holes in the ground. Then, while they finished up, I repaired to my office to undertake belated research.

First I googled for the Crypto-whatsit. It turns out that Cryptomeria japonica is the national tree of Japan. Over there they call it sugi. The tree can reach heights in excess of fifty meters, three to five meters in diameter. Average trees, which may live for centuries, are called kosugi. Individuals that survive over a thousand years get promoted to yakusugi.

The dawn redwood, Metasequoia glyptostroboides, has a different claim to fame. For a while everyone thought it was extinct. It was discovered among Pliocene fossils. Three years later an unclassified conifer was reported from southwestern China. World War II and then Chairman Mao's revolution impeded research in that part of the world, but eventually seeds and specimens were shipped around the globe, and a California paleontologist figured out that this was the same species previously identified from fossils by a Japanese paleobotanist.

The funny thing is, the tree almost was extinct. In the mid '40s there were only a few thousand of them left in the wild. They were growing in an area where human population pressure exerts heavy stress on the environment. The species is listed as critically endangered within its home range. Fortunately in this case we are in a position to define "home range" more broadly. Some of those fossils originated here in North America. At least one Tarheel proposes to reestablish the tree on this side of the Pacific.

Fossilized dawn redwood is found mixed with baldcypress and sequoia. It took a while for someone to notice the difference. The needles of other similar conifers, such as baldcypress, alternate along the length of a twig like the strands in a braid. The needles of dawn redwood grow opposite each other in pairs like the barbs of a feather. That is the oddity that caught my eye when I first spotted the tree.


Like sugi, dawn redwood has the potential to reach great age and size. There is a clue in the name Metasequoia. The tree is related to the tremendous sequoia trees of California. So now I learn that I could grow two massive fifty meter trees in my yard. All I have to do is wait a few hundred years.

Waiting is the hard part. I live on a suburban street lined by other people's houses. My spouse and I don't expect to live here forever. We'll likely retire in a few years, and we'll seek a location based on personal preference rather than on employment opportunities or family obligations. Beyond that, we fully expect to croak within a few decades. Our new trees, if they manage to outlive us, will just be getting started.

What kind of life expectancy can they have in this environment, in this culture? I'm glad I'm not an actuary charged with figuring that out. I would not give good odds. This is a real estate development. Local developers like to begin by sending in the bulldozers. I guess it's easier to build on a tabula rasa.

My typical neighbor is a good old southern boy, the sort who is fond of his pickup truck and power tools. He is quick to whip out a chain saw when confronted with foliage. A number of my acquaintances express anxiety about large trees in the vicinity of their houses. What if they fall or catch fire? Better to whack 'em and rest easy.

The result of these trends and perceptions is that most people never see mature trees. Without that experience, how can they know what they are missing? I would argue that there is a qualitative difference in a forest of ancient trees. Walking through such a forest is not the same as walking through a forest that is regularly exploited for timber. Ask a builder or woodcarver. Lumber from old growth trees is still very much in demand. It's just that the supply is dwindling without replacement.

In western North Carolina there is a grove of trees that somehow escaped natural disasters and loggers for 800 years. Eight hundred years is roughly the age of the great cathedrals of Europe. I get the same feeling of awe and reverence walking under the limbs of those great tulip poplars as I do beneath the vaulted ceilings of Westminster or Notre Dame.

I have visited the majestic west coast redwoods. When I look at those trees, I see much more than a huge stack of lumber. Some of those trees are older than our nation, older than Christianity, older than most of what we are pleased to call western civilization. In that sense they are irreplaceable. We cannot wait to replace them. We cannot plan ahead on those time scales.

It's not that it's impossible, it's just that we don't. Our thinking, our customs and institutions are limited in that way. In other times and places people did plan and act on very long time scales indeed. That is a crucial element that is missing from our shortsighted culture.

The chain saw is a utilitarian symbol of man's technological mastery. With it one can bring down in minutes a tree that took centuries to grow. That hardly seems fair. Cutting a tree is not an act of valor or machismo. The tree cannot fight back; it cannot hide; it cannot run away. The tree's investment of time never appears on the balance sheet along with the developer's or lumberjack's investment of money. Why is that? There is obviously a problem with our methods of accounting. You cannot order a new tree planted a thousand years ago. If you want to create a thousand year old tree, you have to plant the tree now, then exercise care and forbearance for a thousand years. How much is that worth?

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49. Bogon
7:50 PM GMT on December 09, 2010
Thanks a lot, Vet. It's those kinds of comments that keep me going.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 81 Comments: 4066
48. PSLFLCaneVet
7:15 PM GMT on December 09, 2010

Good afternoon!

I thoroughly enjoyed your blog header. Informative and a great read as well. I have deep respect for the art of expression. Outstanding job!
Member Since: July 23, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 12414
47. Bogon
4:26 PM GMT on December 09, 2010
Hey, Shore. I'm pleased to report that it's above freezing out in the yard this morning: thirty-four big degrees. Dewpoint is a chilly -13° C. So far I'm staying inside where it's warm, and my keyboard is close at hand.

The Northpoint iBand is sorta neat, I suppose, from a geek's perspective. I'm not sure what the Ghost of Christmas Present would think about it. Probably the inevitable result of a generation raised on the Simon.

Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 81 Comments: 4066
46. shoreacres
4:02 AM GMT on December 09, 2010
Evening, Bogon,

Double brrrr, I'd say. I came over to peek at your temperature readings after I heard Cancun's dipped below 50 three nights in a row. Then I found out next week looks really bad for the growers in the SE, and Gamma's muttering about her orchids dying. Not good!

I hear there's a holiday coming along pretty soon. I 'spose I ought to be doing something about that, but tonight I'm not up for much more than a little light tippy-tapping on the keys. Hope all's well in your world.

How about a little iPad caroling to celebrate the season?
Member Since: October 4, 2004 Posts: 205 Comments: 15288
45. DontAnnoyMe
3:27 AM GMT on December 09, 2010
Member Since: September 21, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3690
44. Bogon
2:00 PM GMT on December 08, 2010
BW - This siege of weather is anomalously cold. The weather station at the local airport reported 16° this morning. There's still a surprising amount of last weekend's thin snow cover lying about. The twin wheels of doom which spin the arctic conveyor are about to sieze up, however. There's a slow warmup in the works. Despite the cold, the morning sun is shining brightly.

Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 81 Comments: 4066
1:12 AM GMT on December 07, 2010
Getting down to near record lows is not a good thing :-(

Stay Warm...
Member Since: January 17, 2006 Posts: 18 Comments: 3382
42. Bogon
12:30 AM GMT on December 07, 2010
Tonight a low to the northeast is cooperating with a high to the southwest to funnel arctic air over my house. The weather service office in Raleigh forecasts a low temperature of 19° tomorrow morning. That's about seven below zero on the Celsius scale.

Tomorrow night the prediction dips to 15°. Brrr!
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 81 Comments: 4066
41. DontAnnoyMe
12:53 AM GMT on December 05, 2010
Quoting Bogon:
Hey, DAM, thanks for dropping by.

As darkness settles over the northern piedmont, it looks like we might have a couple of inches on the ground so far. If I were a betting man, I would have lost my money, because I never would have thought it could snow so much today.

My wife and I have to decide whether we can make it to the seasonal celebration in my mother-in-law's neighborhood tonight. The streets were clear the last time I checked, but the temperature is dropping through the freezing point. If the snow keeps on falling, it may pose a driving hazard soon.

Just got back from the store, main roads are clear. There might be a bit of slush on the side roads though. The amount was a bit of a surprise! But it's my kind of snow - here and gone real soon. See ya 'round, stop by Grillin's some evening, there's usu. plenty of music or other entertainment.
Member Since: September 21, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3690
40. Bogon
10:42 PM GMT on December 04, 2010
Hey, DAM, thanks for dropping by.

As darkness settles over the northern piedmont, it looks like we might have a couple of inches on the ground so far. If I were a betting man, I would have lost my money, because I never would have thought it could snow so much today.

My wife and I have to decide whether we can make it to the seasonal celebration in my mother-in-law's neighborhood tonight. The streets were clear the last time I checked, but the temperature is dropping through the freezing point. If the snow keeps on falling, it may pose a driving hazard soon.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 81 Comments: 4066
39. DontAnnoyMe
7:39 PM GMT on December 04, 2010
Quoting Bogon:
BWThere are rumors of snow in our forecast

Looks like the rumours panned out! Hi neighbor, I'm in Carrboro. Saw you pop in over on Grillin's blog.
Member Since: September 21, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3690
38. Bogon
10:20 PM GMT on December 03, 2010
BW - We've both witnessed a lot of growth during our lives, both economic and population wise. My family lived several different places as I was growing up. Even so, most of my childhood haunts have been bulldozed and built up or paved over. The sole exception is my grandparents' farm. My parents live there now. Much of the cleared land where the old folks grew crops, pastured cattle or cultivated a garden has been allowed to return to forest.

It sounds as if you have been able to make the best of your situation, to save what you can and cope with changes as they arise.

 * * *

There are rumors of snow in our forecast for tomorrow night. It's early in the season for snow in these parts, but the models make a good case for admitting the possibility. My wife has me signed up for some kind of Christmas activity tomorrow night, so that if it does snow, we're going to be out in it. Maybe that'll help me get in the spirit of the occasion.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 81 Comments: 4066
1:54 AM GMT on December 03, 2010
How's this for a time passage? In 1987 the golf course next door to my childhood homestead decided to add 9 new holes...2 of them in the scrub field of brush that my brother and I grew up with. Hide & Seek. Bike paths and bike rides, later becoming motorized bike paths. Spin the bottle. High School keg parties. I think you get what I mean. MY childhood (and teenage) playground was going to become golf course...

First thing I did was dig a big hole in the best part of the yard. Then it was an afternoon of digging a big hole around an Eastern White Pine sapling that was sure to be bull-dozed when they started the new nine holes. Into the wheel-barrow it went, about 100 pounds of earth and a 3 foot tall tree. Wheeled 300 feet or so over to the hole I dug in the yard--it was not fun going down through a few gullies and over bumps!!! And now, it has a base circumference of 28 inches at 3 feet, and it stands about 30 feet tall. All alone, on the top of a Southeast facing hill. Dropping cones and needles every year and establishing itself quite well...Part two of this story would be how I turned the 180 foot long treeline that borders the golf course into mostly Maple, starting in the same year 1987, but that's a long story unto itself. Patience is a virtue...
Member Since: January 17, 2006 Posts: 18 Comments: 3382
36. Bogon
3:27 PM GMT on December 02, 2010
There was frost on the windshield early this morning. Venus and the crescent of an old moon rode together across a swale of predawn purple.

Now the sun gleams in a sky like frosted glass. There are flurries in the air across the Midwest. Today's little clipper may bring us clouds, but there'll be no snow this side of the Appalachians.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 81 Comments: 4066
35. Bogon
1:52 PM GMT on December 01, 2010
Looks like we got just over half an inch of rain last night. That's certainly helpful, but it's less than we were promised. The vast storm that covered Tennessee from end to end yesterday was reduced to a squall line by the time it got here.

The sun's coming out now, but the temperature is falling.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 81 Comments: 4066
34. Bogon
3:09 PM GMT on November 29, 2010
There was a hard freeze in the Piedmont Triad this morning. Temperatures descended into the low to mid twenties per Herr Fahrenheit's reckoning, well below zero Celsius.

I have been traveling during the holiday weekend, so my personal observations have been scattered. Southeast of Raleigh near the fall line it is late autumn. In the mountains the trees are bare. Here, when I look out my window I can see lots of gold and brown leaves still clinging to oaks, sweetgums and pear trees, but there are more leaves on the ground. When the wind blows they rustle and shift restlessly.

Days are short. The sun slants and glares even at noon. Meteorological winter begins Wednesday. Three weeks later we'll reach the solstice.

Our forecast calls for gradual warming today and tomorrow accompanied by clouds and rain. Following the rain winter's chill will return.

BriarCraft - welcome. It's hard to assign a value to homespun philosophy. Your mileage may vary. Regardless of how far it takes you, the price is heavily discounted.

Cal - an intelligence test for emergent sentient species? That may be a good way to look at the problems besetting us, whether or not there are any aliens out there grading our performance. If we fail to solve those problems, it will be a sign that we're not as smart as we think we are.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 81 Comments: 4066
33. LowerCal
8:32 PM GMT on November 28, 2010
Re. #26, I wonder if homo sapiens is currently facing a rapid series of tests that many "intelligent" species face at some point in their development. It may be so quiet out there because it's so hard to pass them all and/or any others are waiting for when and if homo sapiens does pass them all.

On that note I'll make my music contribution... the long version of course. ;^)

Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9443
32. BriarCraft
6:56 PM GMT on November 27, 2010
Just discovered your blog, Bogon. And not only are you "someone who has time to blog about the weather... ", you're someone who has time to become a philosopher and time to think about our place in the cycle of life. I very much enjoyed your subtle passage from tree-shopping and research to "We cannot wait to replace them. We cannot plan ahead on those time scales." How wonderful is that?
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 92 Comments: 4646
31. Bogon
5:26 PM GMT on November 27, 2010
BW - You're right about the 'we' in #28. I sat and looked at that after I wrote it. I wasn't satisfied, but I didn't have the energy to change it. Must have been the tryptophan. :o)

In the end I decided that the statement included me, because I was among the audience for MTV when it first cranked up. I was no longer a kid, and indeed I aged out of the target demographic within a few years. Maybe that's what saved what remains of my attention span. That and the fact that I grew up in a world where MTV and its ilk (along with cell phones, video games etc.) did not yet exist.

And I certainly don't mean to imply that everyone who wields a chainsaw is a psychopathic bozo. A chainsaw is a tool like any other, meaning that it can be used to accomplish good or evil. The credit or blame redounds to the user, not the tool.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 81 Comments: 4066
2:44 AM GMT on November 27, 2010
When a chain saw is used the way I use mine, it's not so destructive. I selectively prune and remove the dead branches. It's free heat for me and it actually adds to the health of the tree, if done right...
Member Since: January 17, 2006 Posts: 18 Comments: 3382
2:39 AM GMT on November 27, 2010
#28--"WE" have the attention span of a gnat? I certainly hope "WE" refers to society in general and not a certain few of us like minded folks who think long term!...JK LOL I can speak "cyber" like the rest of the kids, but hey, it's been over ten days since my last comment on your blog, right?
Member Since: January 17, 2006 Posts: 18 Comments: 3382
28. Bogon
2:09 AM GMT on November 27, 2010
Hi, Shore. Yesterday I shared Thanksgiving dinner with my wife's family. Tonight, a day and eighty leagues later, I enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner number two thanks to Mom.


It's a tough assignment, but somebody's gotta do it. :o)

Shucks, wood is a high tech green material. An old school reputation is no reason to dismiss it out of hand.

When MTV, the first cable music channel, came along, there was some discussion about what effect its programming would have on the youth of America. The short commercial music segments consisted of rapid cuts and kaleidoscopic cinematography, which made some people dizzy.

Now we can see where that trend has led us. We have the attention span of a gnat. If it doesn't coruscate and beep, we don't have time for it.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 81 Comments: 4066
27. shoreacres
2:45 PM GMT on November 26, 2010

Happy day-after Thanksgiving. It sounds like you're having a great time. We've just been shoved into the Christmas season by the weather - 75 and sunny yesterday, 45 and rainy and windy this morning. I confess, from a purely selfish perspective it's perfect holiday weather. There's no way I could work. Too much of the not-working routine has its own consequences, of course, but for today it's just fine.

Reading LC's comment and your response, I suddenly realized anew how much of what you say I live out in my own life. Varnishing boats for 21st century people can be a bit of a kick. They're used to faster chips,faster phones, faster computers. Varnish dries when varnish dries, and no one can sand at warp speed. They demand "quicker", while the necessities of the physical world dictate "slower".

Some give it up, and buy boats of fiberglass and stainless steel. "Don't want that wood", they say. "Wood's too much trouble."

Which, writ large, is the same point you're making.
Member Since: October 4, 2004 Posts: 205 Comments: 15288
26. Bogon
2:37 PM GMT on November 26, 2010
Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!

Am spending face time with relatives and in-laws, which demands time away from the console. Lots of good food and nice people. I am thankful for both.

Cal - I agree that today's culture seems better geared to product cycles than to such long term problems as survival of the species.

Much of my adult life was spent wondering whether today would be the day when we blow ourselves back to the Stone Age. The Cold War has thawed, but the fundamental problem remains unsolved.

We obsess over the latest cell phone or computer game. We devour media coverage of starlets and sports figures. We seem endlessly fascinated by such ephemera, but we can't be bothered to create an effective meteor defense shield. We shrug when confronted by the certainty of global warming. We stand by helplessly as the rate of species extinctions inexorably rises. We can't seem to focus on the big picture. It's too broad and too slow.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 81 Comments: 4066
25. LowerCal
7:02 PM GMT on November 24, 2010
Bogon, your blog entry is a fascinating progression from your personal landscaping decisions to homo sapiens' relative valuation of various time scales.

It seems that sensitivities to both the immediate and the long term have accompanied us along our arc. What is different today is our purely technological mastery. It has brought us to our current style of living relatively rapidly and could send us back with at least equal dispatch.

Thank you for once again sharing a novel perspective. :^)
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9443
24. masshysteria
6:11 PM GMT on November 23, 2010
Bogon ~

Thinking of you and yours will have a most pleasant Thanksgiving with those who are near and dear!

Click animated graphic below for accompanying traditional holiday music ~

Member Since: June 21, 2006 Posts: 70 Comments: 8273
23. Proserpina
2:33 PM GMT on November 23, 2010
For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.
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Member Since: May 6, 2008 Posts: 180 Comments: 18695
22. masshysteria
6:43 PM GMT on November 22, 2010
Hi Bogon!

Want to thank you for leaving that hilariously funny "Turkey Hunt" video on my site. It definitely is right up there with the Thanksgiving episode of the 1980ish tv sitcom, WKRP In Cincinnati.

It dealt with the head of their so-called radio station developing a visual holiday promotion under the belief that turkeys could fly. I never hurt from laughing so much in all my years! How I miss the days of cerebrally well-written sitcoms!

In case you missed this post on my site, here's a 33 sec summary of that hysterically funny episode on Youtube. Hope you'll get the gist of it Wish there had been more content of this episode included. This was the only one available.

Member Since: June 21, 2006 Posts: 70 Comments: 8273
21. Bogon
12:57 PM GMT on November 22, 2010
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 81 Comments: 4066
20. Bogon
6:19 PM GMT on November 20, 2010
Shore! I read your latest Task about what happens when windows come open in the fall. Community members reconnect with each other and with nature. I hope you have achieved a modus vivendi with the noisy ducks in your back yard.

I also hope that soon, when the laundry is done, you will find time for some cheese and quackers.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 81 Comments: 4066
19. shoreacres
5:25 PM GMT on November 20, 2010

It's delicious, it's delightful, it's delovely!

ADD: Glad I took "time" to stop by! Have a great day - I'm really supposed to be folding de-laundry ;-)
Member Since: October 4, 2004 Posts: 205 Comments: 15288
18. Bogon
5:23 PM GMT on November 20, 2010
Ah, it occurs to me that the previous comment (#17) follows directly this blog's theme of Time Passages.

Kudos, UK, for bringing us back on topic.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 81 Comments: 4066
17. Bogon
5:12 PM GMT on November 20, 2010
Thanks for your insight, UK.

In terms of filling in the blank 'detreestuff' will do nicely. It definitely debuts with a 'd'.

If only my mind could burst out of its rut, I might enjoy your sense of creativity and freeform self-expression. My English teachers were at pains to brainwash, uh, inform me that, while my local slang and accent might work fine around the neighborhood, in other parts of the world, such as the United Kingdom, people use different slang and speak with a range of different accents. If you want to be understood by the widest possible audience, they told me, it's better to stick with Standard English.

Of course, I thought most of those teachers were tedious and stodgy old fuddy-duddies. Who could imagine that in only forty years I would come to realize that they might be onto something?
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 81 Comments: 4066
16. insideuk
11:32 AM GMT on November 20, 2010
You could always go about making your own words up. I do.

How does this sound:

Yesterday's desultory drizzle dislodged deciduous detreestuff?

Works for me Mr B....

Member Since: February 28, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1533
15. Bogon
5:24 AM GMT on November 19, 2010
Detritus, debris, dross...

Sounds like I gave up too easily. Perhaps I rushed to beat some fancied digital equivalent of a press deadline. Perhaps I had not yet absorbed a sufficient quantity of morning coffee.

Perhaps... it's time to declare victory and move along. :o)

Shore, you win the linguist's rodeo prize. Thanks for being so steadfastly and inimitably you.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 81 Comments: 4066
14. shoreacres
2:23 PM GMT on November 17, 2010
Ah, ha! Only because I recently used it myself, so it's at the top of my mental heap...

...desultory drizzle dislodged deciduous detritus....

Off to work with me!
Member Since: October 4, 2004 Posts: 205 Comments: 15288
13. Bogon
2:07 PM GMT on November 17, 2010
Ahoy, Shore! You sort of snuck in there between the eight seasons.

Yep, the Dry Slot ran true to form last night. We did see some lightning; the wind blew, and though darkness made it hard to tell, I think we may have gotten harder rain for a little while. The weather service's cumulative rain chart hasn't updated yet.

I really, really wanted a word for leaves that started with a 'd'. I looked. There were words like dendron, dendrite or dendroid, but I thought those would be stretching too hard. It wasn't worth it.

Anyway, I hope I was able to make some small contribution toward starting off your day on the right note!
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 81 Comments: 4066
12. Bogon
1:50 PM GMT on November 17, 2010
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 81 Comments: 4066
11. shoreacres
1:28 PM GMT on November 17, 2010
Two, four, six, eight !
Everyone alliterate!

The cheer of the galloping linguists....

Love the words, love the smile. Glad to hear the dry slot's still doing its thing. I've heard "cold front" about 20 times since I got up - the weather folk on the radio are all excited. On the other hand, our high tomorrow is supposed to be 63 or thereabouts, which means 40s at night. Sort of perfect.

Looking at the forecast, I just discovered today is Wednesday, not Tuesday. Guess I'd better get a move on if I want to get a full week's worth of work in!
Member Since: October 4, 2004 Posts: 205 Comments: 15288
10. Bogon
1:25 PM GMT on November 17, 2010
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 81 Comments: 4066
9. Bogon
1:20 PM GMT on November 17, 2010

A little windy, maybe, on the back side of a cold front. Yesterday's desultory drizzle dislodged deciduous leaves. In other words, a lot of the foliage that was looking so fine on Monday is lying on the ground today.

We almost had a thunderstorm last night. Two parallel lines of storms formed ahead of the cold front. One wave came down from the Virginia mountains trailing southwest through Winston-Salem. The other stretched from Asheboro all the way into Georgia. We shot the gap between the two waves.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 81 Comments: 4066
8. Bogon
3:26 PM GMT on November 16, 2010
We woke up to clouds and rain outside the window today. Alas, the NWS guys promised more than the storm seems likely to deliver. The new trees could use a thorough soaking. It's beginning to look like they'll be lucky to get properly damp.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 81 Comments: 4066
7. Bogon
2:35 PM GMT on November 16, 2010
Hi, Walker. Or do you go by "Bangor"? I have visited your blog before and enjoyed it, but I haven't been a regular. So many blogs, so little time...

I did click through to check out some of your photos. I'm thinking Joealaska would love the golf course.

I was an apartment dweller during most of my misspent youth, so I had few occasions to plant trees forty years ago. I helped my dad set out a pair of willow oaks, ah, let's see, about 47 years ago. Those are sizable trees now, more than capable of shading a front porch where the hot afternoon sun used to blast without let or hindrance.

Planting a tree is an act of optimism. I feel that way about our trees now despite my doubts about the trees' prospects. Some people are tree lovers, and some people could not care less. As far as the tree is concerned, it only takes one bozo with a chain saw to ruin a perfectly good day.

Shore - thanks for the tunes. I doubt whether I had Al Stewart consciously in mind when I chose my title here. I was reaching for something catchy and familiar. Nowadays a lot of the pop culture that was important to me in my teens has subsided into a sort of gooey residue at the bottom of my brain. Sometimes I like to take a stick and poke around in there, but it's usually a bit of work to salvage anything recognizable.

Bastrop was close enough to Austin that I would pass through or joy ride that way fairly regularly. Though the Lost Maples park was more distant, it was one of my favorites. In fall, when the color change came, those bigtooth maples reminded me of the four-season climate zone where I grew up. Otherwise autumn in Central Texas was unremarkable, since winter was limited to about two weeks of chilly rainy weather in January.

I love that road sign. Philosophers and Whittlers R Us!
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 81 Comments: 4066
6. shoreacres
4:54 AM GMT on November 16, 2010
Evening, Bogon,

I gave everyone else their chance, but no one took it. So, here it is - and I greatly enjoyed listening to it again. This came around in my Berkeley period (you know - like Picasso had a blue period or van Gogh had his time at Arles) and there never again will be anything like an afternoon in the Marin Hills with a good bottle of wine, the smell of eucalyptus and fog...

I enjoyed reading about your trees - especially the selection process. One question crossed my mind about the magnolias. Were some of them sugar magnolias? They're smaller, and much in favor among landscapers here because they can be planted closer to a house. Not only that, they have a song, too.

I've only planted one tree on purpose - that was a camphor tree that looked very much like this one in its early adolescence. A friend had several volunteers in his yard, so I brought one home. It was about three feet tall and just a switch, with about a dozen leaves. Well, I've since learned camphors are fast growers, and that one proved it. Now, maybe 10 years later - maybe twelve - it's as tall as the second-story roofline on the home it was planted in front of. Maybe taller. I'll have to go look and see - it's in the neighborhood. It did survive hurricane Ike. I checked on it after the storm. I don't know if they would grow where you are - a little nippy for them, I would think.

The thing I liked best about that tree was crushing the leaves and being taken straight back to the days of Campho-Phenique. Talk about a time passage.

It's really interesting to hear about the lost pines of Bastrop, too. I've never heard of them. My focus has always been Vanderpol and the Lost Maples. Well, and the sign that's beside the road just short of the park.

It's really time for a roadie again. Time to get out and look at trees and stuff. And maybe whittle a little. But not with a chainsaw.
Member Since: October 4, 2004 Posts: 205 Comments: 15288
2:53 AM GMT on November 16, 2010
Good luck with the new trees :-)

Mine are well established, most are 40 years old and then some. But then again, growth patterns and species compatability to the climate are totally different up here in Maine. My Evergreens (2 Blue Spruce and a Norway Pine, along with a row of Eastern Cedar next to my back deck)were planted in 1959. They are thriving at 60 to 80 feet tall. They require hardly any care, other than a yearly clean up under the canopy. My Apples and Maples are another story, alot of pruning and ground clean up underneath. Click on my blog and check the photos if you want to see my tree line that borders the golf course, mostly Maples, but you can see the pointed tops of the evergreens in the last photo, after the Maples dropped the foliage...
Member Since: January 17, 2006 Posts: 18 Comments: 3382
4. masshysteria
8:50 PM GMT on November 15, 2010

Quoting Bogon:
Hi, Mass.

Just dropped by to see the turkey trot. Enjoyed Coatsworth's poem.

November marches on. Spent part of the afternoon raking leaves. I wish I could say that I was done, but there are plenty more left on the trees.

Stay warm!

Hi Bogon! ~

I had planned on posting a more animated 'trottin' turkey in my blog header, but WU'S site has been giving me headaches by producing glitches in the header width once posted. Every time I press the post button, all the alignments, shown fine in preview form, go flooey! LOL! I feel lucky that I was able to paste what I did. So glad you liked the poem by Elizabeth Coatsworth. I re-posted it from my initial WU blog header last November. It seemed like such a fitting tribute toward this month and complement to what is normally all about Thanksgiving, etc. Hard to believe that I've had a blog site for one full year now. How time does fly! It's certainly been more challenging and enjoyable than just posting (since last June).


Good luck with the leaf raking in your neck of the woods! We're still doing battle with our oak leaves as well. Their sort of reign over us is the equivalent to the 'Godfather', just when you think it's over and done with, those fallen oak leaves will pull you back in again. LOL!!

Hope those new trees you're planting will be manageable and enjoyable in the years to come!
Member Since: June 21, 2006 Posts: 70 Comments: 8273
3. Bogon
5:26 PM GMT on November 15, 2010
It's a world of silver and gold this morning: gray clouds above with golden leaves on every side.

My wife just came in and told me I should go for a ride to see the leaf color. "It's just amazing!" she enthused.

Sounds as if I'll soon be outward bound.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 81 Comments: 4066
2. Bogon
3:35 AM GMT on November 15, 2010
Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest can be hard to find the first time you go, but it's well worth a visit.

Thanks, Skye, I'll pass along your encouraging words. I have a feeling my new trees will need all the support and luck they can muster.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 81 Comments: 4066
1. Skyepony (Mod)
12:27 AM GMT on November 15, 2010
I'll have to check out that old growth forest next time I go to Nanahala.

Long live your new trees!
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 258 Comments: 40269

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Retired software engineer. "What is that?", you may ask. It's someone who has time to blog about the weather...

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