A Different Kind of "Twitter" April 11, 2011
It was finally spring. I'm playing catch in the backyard with my brother, and that's when I hear it - so small it's almost inaudible. A tiny, yet piercing "Peep! Peep! Peep!" I stop the game and motion for my brother to come over quietly. The sound seems to be coming from a nearby tree. We tiptoe closer to investigate.
The "peeping" gets louder, and we can tell there is more than one creature taking part in this chorus. Our imaginations run wild: Have fairies made a home in our backyard? Have dinosaurs returned and are laying eggs in our trees?
We stop right in front of a full evergreen where the noise seems to be concentrated. I look at my brother. He looks at me; his eyes wide with curiosity and fear. Looks like I'll have to be the brave one. I reach forward, grabbing two clusters of branches and slowly pull them apart. And then I giggle.Read More
EAB: Fact or Fiction March 29, 2011
I'll probably show my age with this post, but I vividly remember several sleepless nights as a youngster after watching the movie Empire of the Ants. You might think the start of the movie is Joan Collins, but from a childhood perspective the stars are colossal insects wreaking havoc on their human neighbors.
Childhood nightmares of giant insects aside, there are real pests that wreak havoc on our landscapes, causing tremendous monetary loss-not to mention the emotional toll of losing a favorite tree.
If you live in the Midwestern U.S. or Canada, you've probably heard a good deal about the emerald ash borer - or EAB. In this spirit of a good science fiction movie, let's separate the real from the imaginary with this topic.Read More
Show Me the Money! March 16, 2011
OK, I have an experiment I'd like you to try with me.
Go outside, walk up to one of your trees, gently grab one of the lower branches and carefully uncurl one of the leaves. Now take a close look (I'm envious of those of you in the south and west who can do this now - northerners will have to wait a bit…hang in there, spring is almost here.)
Do you see something green? (Your answer should be yes.)Read More
From Snow Angels to the Angel Oak March 11, 2011
We in northeastern Ohio have witnessed record low temperatures and snowfall this year - it's snowing as I write! My family has had more than our fill of winter gloom, complemented with winter coats, boots and gloves, shoveling sidewalks and clearing driveways By this point in winter, even the strongest are ready for some sunshine. A recent long weekend provided an opportunity for a quick family getaway to Kiawah Island, S.C.
During the drive south, my nieces, ages 9, 11 and 13, entertained themselves by discussing what they wanted to do when they arrived. Their list included walking along the beach to hunt for shells, hoping to spot dolphins in the ocean, reading outside in the sunshine, and eating at their favorite seafood restaurant. The list also included a family tradition - visiting the historic Angel Oak on Johns Island in Charleston.
The Angel Oak is a Live Oak (Quercus virginiana), which is a native species found throughout the Lowcountry along the coast of South Carolina. Believed to be in excess of 1,500 years old, its massive, draping limbs and wide spreading canopy present the aura of an angel.Read More