Nature Writers I Follow #2: New Hampshire Garden Solutions (NHGS)

“You don’t have to fly or drive anywhere to see the beauty of nature-it’s all right there in your own yard!” -NHGS

NHGS started out as a gardening blog — by a garden and landscape professional, self-described now as, “Once a professional gardener, now a helper” — who now shares with us nature studies, photographs, descriptions and more, including personal reactions to nature as it occurs in New Hampshire habitats of the same kinds I have here in the Northern Adirondacks.

It is terrific nature writing, wonderfully illustrated, and I am grateful to be a subscriber.

It is a delightful source of education about things I see every day, written in a fresh, light, personalized style, loaded with information about the things explored, in all seasons. I’m introduced to things I did not realize I was seeing! I’m enlightened about the things I have seen and long appreciated.   Continue reading

Nature Writers I Follow #1: Zeebra

There are times when I enjoy an eye-to-eye inspection of those exotic plants, and by capturing their likeness with pencil or water media, I discover minute details that otherwise might be missed. I always walk away with deeper respect for the plant and its support cast of companions. – Lisa Brunetti, Zeebra Designs & Destinations

She says she does it with graphic media.  Others do it with cameras or words or other forms of contemplation or meditation.  It’s about attention and intention, and it yields a clearer sense, if only a glimpse at a time, of the true nature of things, their union with each other and ours with it all, and with each other.  Lisa Brunetti expresses that sense in “pencil or water” media, and in words, and in photography.

In this series of posts (Nature Writers I Follow), I will salute (and recommend) some of the blogs I follow that inspire, inform or entertain my biophilic sensibility with their nature writing and related art.  Truly, it is not the blogs I follow, but their writers.  I appreciate these people for their awakening and supporting rational regard for humanity’s role in the natural order; i.e., part of it, not separate from it; in it, not above it.

I am amazed at how these obviously busy people I admire make time to write for us, share their art with us, and do it so well, free.  Maybe it’s like the old saying goes: if you want to get something done, ask the busiest person.  My lifestyle is too slow to get much done.

Challenged to choose the order of blogs to present here (who goes first?),  I’m going with reverse alphabetical order.

That puts Zeebra Designs & Destinations at the top of the list, and today’s … um … “victim” of my attention: professional artist, author, naturalist and (in my view) philosopher Lisa Brunetti, resident adoptive sister to the soul of Ecuador.  I’m just one of about 2,400 followers of her blog, no doubt from every curve of the earth (whoever came up with the idea of “corners of the earth?”).

Snow Falling from Trees Awakens

560 words, 18-sec. video, 2 photos

After half a foot of sticky, soggy snowfall overnight, today the temperature at Balsamea rose well above freezing.  Along our trails, rapidly thawing snow showered from the trees everywhere in these dense woods, especially from the pines and firs, those bearers of great snow-loads.

Click pix for full size images

It fell in droplets, spoonfuls, cupfuls, bucketfuls and barrowfuls. The still, windless air said nothing while each of these sizes played their particular sounds, all around me patting, drumming, shushing and thumping their way through tree limbs, branches, twigs and evergreen boughs, then concluding each phrase with a strike on the snow on the ground.  They formed an unusual percussive symphony unique to this particular circumstance, in a special variation playing upon atypical conditions in the fresh snow cover.

When or where can you hear nature using trees and snow as instruments to drench the still air in sound this way, with a variety of visual effects, too?  When do you get to sit in the middle of the orchestra as it plays?  It filled the air within a great dome surrounding me, simultaneously at every volume possible to my ears.  Some notes played a few feet from me, ranging out to ones played barely within hearing.  Some struck funny notes on my ball cap and shoulders.
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my dkhometree blog

Visit my other blog, dkhometree.com

dkhometree-bookshelf-header-770pxSense of online self

I call it dkhometree because I’m D.K. (Dennis Koenig) and this is my home tree on the web, from which you can browse the rest of my webwoods.  It’s a personal blog with no mission; just a place to share some things with friends, wanna-be friends, and curious followers.

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Oak Tree Trilogy Part 2 – Defiant Oak

Front Yard Oak 00 20131009

Defiant Oak’s happy autumn leaves, October 2013.

Oaks against the sky,
Ramparts of leaves high-hurled,
Staunch to stand and defy
All the winds of the world;
Stalwart and proud and free,
Firing the man in me
To try and again to try –
Oaks against the sky.

– Excerpt from Trees Against The Sky,
Poem by Robert William Service

It’s not a good idea to fall in love with a guy whose favorite book is the dictionary.  This thought occurred to me today when I perused my 1995 10th Edition of Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, which I would prefer over using the Internet to look up words, but my eyes can’t take it.

I felt something like comedic irony when I saw her inscription to me in this dictionary, my Good Book, a gift on the third anniversary of our first date.

That relationship brought me to the brink of swearing off women forever.  After dalliances since then, I’m now so selective, it’s as good as having sworn off them.  I won’t deny the possibility of someone coming along to inspire a romance that makes people dismissive of Tristan and Isolde, or that inspires me to write an eternally classic novel about civil war, bells tolling, and earth-moving sex.  (Hemingway, you delightful madman.)  Still, she won’t lure me away from Balsamea, or get me to abandon my little Defiant Oak tree.

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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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The Junk Tree (Fagus grandifolia)

Six years ago a first-time visitor to Balsamea — call him Schmoe — looked at a young beech tree in the yard (then just a campsite) and asked, “What’s that doing there?”

Beech 33 Schmoe's Junk Tree 515x464

This is the tree Schmoe asked about. At the time it was about half this size.

His tone seemed to imply that there was something wrong with it being there — or something wrong with me for having it there.

I told him it was a beech tree that I saved when I cleared all the other original trees from that little part of the forest. (This was during my Thoreauvian Experiment, living off-grid in a 100 square foot camper for two years, with a dog, before Balsamea grew a house in 2010. I had cleared only a small space in the woods, less than a tenth of an acre.)

Other examples of American Beech:

Beech 03 change begins 2     Beech 05 leaves green 1

I kept that tree because it had a nice shape, as opposed to so many other trees growing scraggly in our dense, competitive woods. When allowed to grow in the open, beeches have a beautiful shape and make terrific shade trees and climbing trees, and they produce spectacular autumn colors that last long after all the maples go bare.

When clearing space, I kept a lot of trees that were in bad shape, too. I nursed them along and they are wonderful now. In truth they were always wonderful. I just imposed my aesthetic notions on them, with the help of lopping shears.

Before I got to tell Schmoe why I kept that beech tree, or why I liked it, he added, “It’s a junk tree. They get that bark rust.”

Beech 27 Bark Rust 477x230

The “bark rust” starts with an insect infestation which causes a fungal infection. Other than this bark condition, everything about this big old beach (one of our tallest) seems normal, and has been this way for at least 9 years that I know of.

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