Photo for the day Thursday, Nov 20 2014 


Taken a few weeks ago. I always like subtle colors of the beeches, (top right in this instance a European Copper Beech) and the oaks (center, an ordinary volunteer black).  Top left is a Sugar Maple,. The closer trees are the apples which hold their leaves quite late.

Considering trees Sunday, Aug 31 2014 

Esperanza has a horrid, Brigadoonish*, feel about it.  Alright, it isn’t horrid. It is lovely, I like the musical. But the fact is that being outside of time can’t happen, when it does…Brigadoon actually has a rather dark underside to the story and the older tales it is based on are darker still.

But I was fretfully contemplating a few trees in various stages of mature/decline/stone Dead.  Trees should outlive people, that is one of the points about planting them.  But they still die. Just like people, just like pets. When you have a history going back 140 plus years, some trees, important trees, will die.

It’s a long list. There was a horse chestnut on the east lawn in the 1870’s, that was gone by the 1890’s, two big maples on the north lawn, two big elms, we are on our second copper beech, at least four full sized white pines, one of the big Norway Spruces*, the old cottonwood, several white birches, several huge apple trees, several full sized sugar maples, at least one Norway maple, several hemlocks….

And those are just the trees that spring to mind and were big enough to require outside help in removal…

Sometimes I wonder, what hell would it be to live forever?


*The others are just as big now, 80-100+ feet, but this was one of the originals.

The old Silver Maple Thursday, Aug 28 2014 

Down by Julie’s Pond, taken a few years ago. I have to figure out how to get the duckweed back under control on that pond….


A random fact Saturday, Aug 16 2014 

The tulip tree, happily growing in a prime location, and not that old relatively speaking (planted early 1970’s) has a rough measurement of circumference at 5ft up of: 106 inches; which though is shy of three feet in diameter.  The magnolia clocks in at 190 inches, 15 plus feet, give or take, or a just a hair over five feet in diameter…  I suppose I ought to stop considering the tulip tree to be small? I mean it is, frankly, if you were looking at it from the standpoint of the Pacific Northwest, or Old-Growth, or high quality timber, but it isn’t Small…

The Ginkgo Tree Tuesday, Feb 25 2014 

The big one that is, as opposed to the other one, which isn’t small but is smaller.

Here it is in 1905-1910* on the right hand side of the picture, standing out nicely against the dark conifers behind it.  You can see that it already has a very upright growth pattern rather than a spreading one.  I believe that it was planted in 1893-94, when the north end of the house was completed.  WWE and family were, at the time, living in New York City. The ginkgo was a commonly planted tree in Central Park and along the streets; to stretch for meaning a bit, it was a tree that signified a modern and cosmopolitan culture along with an interest in exotic botany.  I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it was the first ginkgo planted in the town, though how I’d go about finding that out…


Here it is in 2013, the size has changed, but the growth pattern has not:



*I have an exact date, but like an idiot I didn’t put it into the computer…


Winter trees Wednesday, Feb 5 2014 


It isn’t a perfect job, or even close, but since I simply cut and pasted in wordpress rather than any stitching tools, not too bad 🙂

Just playing around, and how does one take a complete photo of a tree that is over 100 feet tall when one is close to it?

Not a nightmare Monday, Jan 27 2014 

Though, it would probably be a bit spooky if it loomed unexpectedly out of a dark night.  It actually is the root bole of a black locust.  It fell over two decades ago; the wood is still very solid, sufficiently so that I would not recommend falling against any of those points.  I have a fondness for black locust trees.  They are massive, slightly gothic, often picturesque trees.*  Some people dislike them, arguing that they aren’t native to New England.  They are, however, native to Pennsylvania and points south; so the whole ‘not native’ complaint is somewhat tenuous given the similar climate and short distance between the Appalachians and the Berkshires.  More to the point, it is a valuable timber, firewood, and nectar (for honey) tree.


*we have the third largest black locust in the state.

Creak… Saturday, Jan 11 2014 

Nothing makes one’s ears perk up as well as walking through the woods (in this case the Rabbit Hole’s stand of Norway Spruce/Pine/Maple) on a windless, warm day and hearing an ominous popping creak from high above.  It might be the massive double trunk White Pine near the drive, it has several pieces of climbing Euonymous jammed in the crotch of the trunk and consequently it sometimes makes some very odd noises, even on a day with essentially no wind.*  It might be an innocuous branch rubbing somewhere; it might be a tree reacting to the changing temperature.  Or it might be gravity asserting itself.  It is the sort of noise that is very hard to get a solid directional fix on, you’re doing well to pin it down to about 90 degrees.

You can’t go and visually inspect all those trees, not when there are well over a dozen Norway Spruces and Pines standing at between 80 and 110 feet in height.  Besides in my experience, you can never tell.  The White Pine on the North Lawn all those years ago was a lovely example: a perfectly fine, fully mature pine when I walked past on a day with light wind; fifteen minutes later and it had snapped like a toothpick.  On the other hand, there is an ash that is busy defying physics: it has a spiral crack so large that a child could hide in the hollow of the trunk and on windy days you can see the crack shifting.  It has been that way for about five years and two hurricanes.

If it is something…well, we will KNOW about it one of these days!

*even 5mph wind is enough to get a little bit of sway at the top, which is just enough to get it to rub.

THUD Thursday, Dec 26 2013 

Well, it had to fall over some day…this big sugar maple snapped about a dozen years ago, the snag toppled the other day in the rain and wind.  For a bit of scale, the young tree it is leaning against is about 8 inches in diameter (dbi). At its greatest, the fallen trunk is around five feet tall and three feet wide.  The second photo is taken from over fifty feet away.  Big snags like this always put me in mind of some of the illustrations and descriptions in Moby Dick, whales of the forest.




Winter Hemlocks Tuesday, Dec 17 2013 


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