Oak Tree Trilogy Part 1 – Sentinel Oak

20150819 Driveway Oak 02b me txt

Sentinel Oak with The Balsamean’s head in the lower branches to be removed soon. Remove the branches, not the head.

In 2005, the birth year of Balsamea, my father asked if there were any oak trees on the property.  I had not seen them.  Over time, I learned that there were many red oaks.  They are one of our minority trees, but the mature ones number about one per acre, and there are dozens of seedlings and saplings.  We would have many more oaks, were it not for the deer munching on their buds every winter.  I have seen them kill a 3-foot healthy oak in two seasons.

On that day in May 2005 when I closed on the property purchase, I immediately installed a cable gate across the entrance.  Dumpers had abused the property, a practice that ended that day, and became a considerable process of remediation for me.  Still I find things resurfacing from below ground.

While opening space for access to the right trees to attach the cable, I noticed two little red oaks about two feet tall each.  One was in excellent condition.  The other was crushed under a fallen gray birch.  I left the latter alone to grow in its own way, and it has done well.  The former, I nursed and lightly pruned over the years, to encourage a nice geometric shape.

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How to mix deer, campfire, tin foil stew, dog, photography and grace

oscar-deer-20140906e-notxtDeep in the woods there is a great way to ensure that you get fantastic wildlife photography opportunities.  Leave your camera home.

I’ve said before that our deer population is too high, and this year more than ever.  Among the family here, there is one deer that has learned that Buddy and I are harmless.  Harmless enough that in the woods he lets us come close enough and stay long enough to discuss life.  The deer doesn’t say much, but he seems to be interested in what I say.  Stupid things humans say to wild animals.

Keep in mind that Balsamea is densely forested, surrounded by forest on all sides, and many miles of it, with a smattering of houses.  Our deer have not acclimated to people by their suburban gardens.  Deer at Balsamea are wild.  As they should be.  Just one of them is getting too familiar with us since mid-summer.

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Being Thankful

I went to a wedding where a little boy carried the rings up the aisle on a fancy pillow.  As he walked along, he growled loudly like an animal.  When asked why he growled, he said, “I’m the ring bear!”

I am thankful for Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me, the National Public Radio news quiz show, where I heard this ring bear joke, and where, unless your sense of humor is badly broken, I guarantee you plenty of smiles, snickers, chuckles and laughs during each one-hour show.

It’s Thanksgiving weekend, so I felt obligated to say at least something about being thankful.  Blogger duty called.

A bit more seriously:  I asked myself earlier this week what I was most thankful for.  Instantly, without thinking even one second about it, my mind, such as it is, went immediately straight to …

(drumroll, please)

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Moose Scat

Now this is what I’m talking about, when it comes to really good scat identification technique.

I’ve never seen one, but I hear there are some bobcats in our area.  But there are lots of things I’ve never seen, which is good, because there’s always something new.

As to scat flavor, I think I’d prefer vegetarian pellets, such as this moose scat I found during a hike on April 30, 2013, scattered in several piles within a five minute walk.  Either there was one very prolific pooper on the route, or a whole family.

These are large pellets, roughly half the size of a walnut.  A few of them would be a mouthful for anybody.  I wasn’t hungry enough.  (Click on any picture to get even more up close and personal with these darlings.)

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Buddy, my canine companion

Buddy-01

Meet Buddy, Prince of Balsamea, resident health coach and therapist, human-walker, fellow forest lover, wildlife warden, stick and ball player (mainly in the game of keep-away), tug-of-warrior, warm fuzzy friend, and expert daily comic relief provider.

These pictures span 2007 – 2012.
Click any picture to scroll through them in large size view.

Click any picture to scroll through them in large size view.

“Buddy, don’t step on those.”

“I did so NOT step on your precious Cladonia stellaris lichens!”

This actually happened exactly like this.  I wanted a picture of those lichens (whitish in this picture) to go with the set I published here earlier (see my post, The Best of Being).  I thought he was about to step on the brittle lichens, so I gently said just those words.  His reply came through his usual telepathic mind-melding, plus his body language.

Got a photo-biography of your animal companion?  Share it with us!

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Wind Slayer – Scribblement 20130223

20130223.  A nice date brought to you by 0, 1, 2 and 3.
Congratulations to all of today’s newborns.

WARNING:  This blog is for my entertainment more than yours, including the parts that you contribute.  Apparent indications to the contrary should be viewed another way.

NOTICE:  You are reading the blog of
The Conqueror of the West-Northwest Wind.

colorful weather map

I enjoy clearing snow, but not when it is solely to remove drifts, without the benefits of fresh, significant snowfall.  In this context, the Balsamea Dictionary 8th Edition defines “significant” as at least four inches of snow within twelve hours, preferably at least once per week from Pearl Harbor Day to Saint Patrick’s Day.

Lately we’ve had more snow accumulation by drifting than falling.  It is an annoying pattern where one or two inches of snowfall gives you up to a foot of drifted accumulation in all the wrong places, and it keeps happening for a stretch of contiguous days, including days when there is no snowFALL, just snowBLOW.

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