Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tulip Tree

Years ago, I met a man who did not believe there were Tulip Trees; snorted at the very idea. I remember staring at him in disbelief. It was like saying he did not believe in Maples or Oaks or trees even. I could not get my head around it. If he had never seen one, then I was making them up. He huffed through his whiskers, muttering about tulips on trees. We had been having a spirited conversation about morels. I merely mentioned that I had heard that morels loved Tulip Trees and to make sure to look around their base. He wandered off shaking his head. I did not realize what a narrow range the trees had.

Years later, I had a house guest that had never heard of Tulip Trees either. But as luck would have it, he was visiting at a time when they were blooming. On a walk in the woods, we came across a perfect tulip blossom lying on the path where it had fallen in the night. The smile of delight on his face as he turned the flower in his hands; then looked up at the towering tree was truly a sight to behold.

I will always remember both of these fellows when I see the flowers of a Tulip Tree.

Tulip Trees are in the magnolia family. They can grow to staggering heights, have beautiful straight trunks, and look like Greek columns standing in an emerald glade. It is the tallest and one of the largest trees in the woods. I love the "gentleman of the forest". They usually produce their first flowers when they are 15 to 20 years old and may continue blooming for 200 years. 200 years! The flowers bloom from April to June and last from 2 to 6 weeks at a time. They are blooming now. So when you are out, make sure to look up.

Make sure to check out Festival of the Trees, Edition 36 is up at Roundrock Journal.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

As a Point of Clarity

I finally got around to weeding yesterday. (Long overdue may I add.) In amongst the flowers, shrubs, and full host of weeds, I have soaker hoses that I put down years ago and just leave out all year. Every once in a while they startle me. I would just like to point out why.

This is a soaker hose.

This is NOT. Do not be confused. My Black Rat Snake from last year is still around I see.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


I am not great at IDing all types of native ferns, (I had the Fern Finder booklet, but can't find it, Grrr) but some of them just scream their names. This is an Interrrupted Fern. You can see the brown fertile leaflets that interrupt the green sterile ones. The fronds were 2-3 feet high. This is a large in your-face-fern that grows along roadsides.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Soaked to the skin, Ellie stood on the front steps to the gray and white trailer banging on the door in a panic. “C’mon, C’mon,” she whimpered to herself. She continued banging the metal door with her fist, peering through the open slats of the window until Mr. Lewis staggered down the hallway in a undershirt and his gray workpants. “Alright, Already,” he shouted, “No need to knock the house down.” Relief spread over her like a balm; here was a grown-up. “Mr. Lewis! Come quick, Teresa is trapped!” she blurted. Mr. Lewis looked through the screen at her, slow to understand. “What?” “We were playing on the cliff and sand broke and fell on us,” Ellie tried again; tears of frustration leaking onto her cheeks and into her voice. She had to make him understand. Mrs. Lewis suddenly appeared pushing him out of the way. “Where’s Teresa?” Trapped in the sssand," Ellie blubbered. The catastrophic accident was catching up with her. “Dale is trying to dig her out. She is covered in sand. She can’t breathe.” Mrs. Lewis grasped the situation immediately and started screaming. The screams galvanized her husband. He flung open the door knocking Ellie off the steps. “Where is she?” Ellie ran to the back of the lot and pointed toward the dump.

Start of a story idea. What do you think?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Pink Lady's Slipper

My Lady's Slipper is blooming once again. I am never sure if it will make it through the winter, but it is hardier than it looks. I have about 6 plants with their fuzzy basil leaves scattered around the edge of the woodland encroaching on my property, but only one actually blooms every year. Since Lady's Slipper are endangered in NJ; I do not talk about it or show it to people in the event that some plant hunter may want to take it. Lady's Slippers reproduce poorly and should not be dug up. So I watch it, marvel at it's beauty and hope that one day the other plants will bloom and throw out seed.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Star Trek Memories

It was 1966. I was sitting on my grandparents couch being bored, and a brat no doubt, when I picked up the little TV Guide (remember those?); on the cover was a picture of a man with pointed ears. The idea of a man with pointed ears living in outer space did not compute for me. What an Earth-shattering concept. I thought all pointed-ear folk were fairies and lived in Ireland. Grandpa Omer leaned over to see what I was prattling on about and laughed; when he did a puff of sweet- smelling smoke washed over my face. I wanted to watch it, but it was mid-afternoon and the show was not on. He laughed again and went back to watching whatever was on TV and I wandered outdoors. Born in 1903, I'm sure he thought all the space stuff was nonsense, just like fairy stories. Boy, oh boy, if only he could see what this nonsense has become.

I fell in love with science fiction at that moment and have loved Star Trek very since. Spock was my favorite. My sister was more of a Kirk fan. We watched the show avidly and would discuss it for days afterward. We each had our favortie episodes and argued about them even the 15th time we had seen them in re-run. In my opinion the original series was the best of the entire franchise (although I do have a fondness for Jean Luc too.) Holding on tightly to my fond memories of the original, I have been struggling over whether to see the new movie or not. Some of my Twitter buds have loved it so I am leaning that way. Are you a Trekkie? What do you think? Have you seen it?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009