Archive for April, 2006

Imposter

Sunday, April 30th, 2006

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I was at one of those big box home improvement stores (no, not the very red one but the slightly red one) shopping for fence pickets for the suburban turf when my ears were greeted with a much longed-for bird call.

Little birds have found these monster hardware stores beneficial. Not only can they find spacious, predator-free, weather-protected habitat, but there will always be a bag of grass seed that has fallen from a shelf and burst on the ground, leaving plenty of seed for the birds to devour. I like the intrusion of these wild things in a store so essentially devoted to our human efforts to control nature.

So as I rifled through the pickets, looking for the ones with the least damage or the fewest knot holes, I heard the call of a bob white quail directly above me. Long-time readers of this humble blog will know that one of my great ambitions at Roundrock is to help with the return of bob white quails to that part of Missouri. Someday I’d love to find a covey of the birds near the pond or in the grassy area below the dam. And whenever I visit the woods, I always keep my ears tuned for their characteristic call, which really does sound like “bob white.” I’d heard it all the time during those idyllic summers in Kentucky as a youth, but I can’t recall the last time I’d heard the call as an adult.

Except there I was in the lumber section of the insanely huge hardware store and I heard the call of a bob white quail. These quail are ground birds, so it was odd to hear the call from overhead. But I looked into the steel rafters of the store and spotted the only bird up there. As though to reward me, the bird sang again.

It was a starling.

I’ve known that starlings can mimic the calls of other birds. I suppose it is one of the reasons this introduced bird has been so successful in North American. Yet to imitate the song of a native bird that is having so much trouble hanging on seemed especially eggregious to me.

Perhaps I can take some encouragement from this though. That starling had to have learned the call somewhere. I’d like to think that the starling had strayed from the easy pickings of suburban life and found itself in the wild, hearing a new, unfamiliar call that it could imitate. And that suggests to me that the quail are still out there.

_____________________

Also, does anyone have any idea what that thing is in the photo above? I found it at Roundrock on our last journey there. I’m guessing it is some sort of shotgun shell. You may be able to discern the dimpling on the plastic. As a cylinder, it was about three inches long and a half inch in diameter. And how do you suppose it got onto our land? Interloping turkey hunters, perhaps?

Missouri Calendar:

  • Turtles crossing roads; watch out!
  • Chimney swifts return.

Programming Note: My spam blocker has captured nearly 20,000 pieces of comment spam. On some days I’m getting several of these a minute. When I visit the cache to review them, there can be hundreds accumulated and awaiting my attention. (I wish they boosted my visit count, though that would be a bogus sort of pride.) Anyway, the point is that if you are not a regular visitor to Roundrock Journal, the spam blocker may not recognize you yet as a friend and may shunt your comments to the spam cache. (I don’t know how it makes the distinction.) If the numbers are manageable, I try to review all of the comments there individually to spot any legitimate visitors from the machine-generated ones — the imposters, I guess. But when I open that cache and find 400 comments to be addressed, I will delete them all at once without reviewing them. So if you’ve been leaving comments and they haven’t been showing up, that is likely the reason. Send me an email if you want me to fix this for you. I do appreciate comments to my humble blog.

Welcome to Fallen Timbers

Saturday, April 29th, 2006

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This is the entrance to our woods called Fallen Timbers. The two miles of axle-snapping road that lead here are pretty bad, but this final road of ours barely exists. You can almost see where the track turns to the left beyond the scrub, and if you look very closely in the lower left, you can just see one of the two tires that flank our entrance and that eventually became my only clue as to where to turn to get into our woods. At least that’s the way it was before our last visit.

As I noted in an earlier post, we chose to do some work on this bit of ridgetop confusion before we indulged in our dogwood hike. It was here that we chopped away with our loppers and cut at the saplings with our saws when our neighbor Max drove up for a chat. (Note that this Max is a talking mammal and not the Max who is our dog but doesn’t know he is a dog. The season has come for leaving our Max at home since we’d pulled about forty ticks off of him after the last woodsy visit.) Our neighbor Max volunteered to use his brush hog to clear our ridgetop road for us, and after a little hemming and hawing we agreed.

Now for those of you who don’t know, a brush hog is a heavy-duty mower that is pulled behind a tractor. It is a tool that does not provide a lot of finesse. It pretty much lays waste to any growing thing it passes over. (It will also quarrel with rocks.) Max apologized for his hog, saying he hadn’t sharpened the blades recently, so this promised to be a very rough cut.

While Max drove to his nearby cabin to fetch his tractor and brush hog, Libby and I walked into our woods where we had parked the truck. We’d intended that when he reached us there he would know he’d covered enuf of our road and needn’t press on. He was being generous, and we didn’t want to take advantage of his goodwill.

Soon we heard his tractor coming down the gravel road, and we knew when he’d turned onto our ridgetop road by the sounds of snapping and clanging and general mayhem. Once or twice it sounded like he’d struck a boulder, or perhaps a tree stump or old car hidden in the scrub. Soon he was rounding the bend and approaching where we stood.

And he drove right past us. He didn’t stop where we stood but kept on hogging all around our campsite area on the ridgetop. He drove straight into the scrub and saplings that rose over our heads, completely disregarding that they were there. As long as his tractor could drive into it, his brush hog could lacerate it into pulp. He circled the area, came around our truck, waved briefly, and then drove out on our entrance road.

Well, that was nice, and he’d made two passes with his brush hog on our road, so it certainly was more open than before. But he wasn’t finished. Very soon he was coming back up our road, widening the swath of destruction. Again he waved as he passed and he continued clearing our ridgetop area. Eventually he opened about an acre of former scrubland atop our ridge. You can see the fruits of his labors here:

ridgetop.JPG

Consider that the growth here in this newly opened area was about the same as the greenery you see around its edges. Yet in a half hour he had re-opened our ridgetop and suggested that now the grass could begin to retake the area from the scrub. He also thought we’d encounter fewer ticks and chiggers in the shorter growth.

We chatted for a while and shared some cold water and some tall tales. We thanked him again, but he said he always has fun when he’s on his tractor, so we encouraged him to come by and have all the fun he wanted whenever he felt inclined. Then Max said he had to go prepare for the impending arrival of his 81-year-old-father who was going to join him for turkey hunting, the season opening the next day it turned out. Max made a final pass down our road on his way out.

Next came our dogwood hike, and at the very end of our day as we drove out on our newly cleared road, we stopped to take a second picture of it.

Behold the new entrance to Fallen Timbers:

entrance 2.JPG

Missouri Calendar:

  • Indigo buntings and dickcissels are arriving.
  • May apples begin blooming.

Stumped

Friday, April 28th, 2006

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What to make of this when you come across it on the forest floor. Well, clearly someone had cut this tree. It was a nice, smooth, even cut. But why?

Then you look about ten feet to the left and you find this:

stump 1.JPG

This little bit of tale-telling is not far from our pond at Roundrock. It is the flattest part of Roundrock — more than ten acres I estimate — that would have been good grazing area in the cattle days. Thus this tree was taken down to allow more sunlight to reach the ground. There is another stump not too far away, though the tree was much smaller and couldn’t have blocked much light in its day. And there are a few other trees in the area still standing that would have been as large as this one, yet they were spared.

This one was taken for the wood it could provide. The crown part of the fallen tree is, as I noted above, about ten feet away from the stump. Thus the trunk part is deliberately missing. Had the sawyer merely wanted to bring down the tree to open the canopy, he or she would not have made the second cut where the trunk begins to branch. This discovery brings to five the number of sawn stumps we have found in the woods at Roundrock.

I can only guess what the timber was used for. Perhaps it was milled and went into building a house or chicken coop. Or maybe it remained a log and was rolled up beside a campfire where folks could sit and roast their weenies.

Missouri Calendar:

  • The Big Dipper has tipped and spilled into the Little Dipper.
  • June bugs begin appearing.
  • Arbor Day

Who is at home?

Thursday, April 27th, 2006

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What kind of burrowing animal can take on an armadillo, kill it (but not eat it), and take over its den?

We strayed a little bit from Roundrock the other day when I took this photo, but not much (and maybe not at all). This den is in the water side of my neighbor’s dam just above our pine plantation. It’s a defunct pond, which is in the natural order of things. Since it was a cattle pond in its day, it silted in much faster than an undisturbed pond would. And it is ringed completely with cattails that continue to creep toward the center. It would take major work to dig out the pond and repair the dam, and I don’t think my neighbor is interested in that. At least not right now. He’s concentrating on building his vacation camp farther into his woods.

Our northwest corner may or may not be staked. According to the realtor and the survey map I have, the corner is somewhere within this pond. Thus, technically, his dam is on my side of the line (though I would not contest it if he claimed the dam as his own) so I wasn’t trespassing when I walked on “his” side of the dam.

But anyway, back to the point of this post. Some fierce critter has made a den in this dam. Apparently an armadillo had made the original den, but the last time I was by, the sun-faded corpse of the ‘dillo was on the ground outside the den. And now the den opening is much larger. Without scale it’s hard to tell, but that opening was easily a foot in diameter, and I could see a good way in when I crouched down to have a peek. Despite the advice of one eminent blogger, I did not reach in to see what my hands could discover.

I didn’t see any tracks on my last visit, but (if we ever have rain) I can check the mud outside the den and see what turns up.

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Blogburst Update: Some of you may have seen the comment that Afarensis left on yesterday’s post. For those who missed it, I have reproduced it here:

The bloggers at ScienceBlogs got invitations to join Blogburst…so Seed Media checked it out. Apparently, by joining you give Blogburst permission to do whatever they want – repackage them, sell them, whatever, with your post.

This is what they found:

1) Rights to all of your content, forever (as long as Pluck creates a “derivative work” – which is defined so broadly as to mean almost anything) – including the ability to sub-license your work at will, *to anyone* (i.e., they could sell your work to folks you might trust even less than blogburst)

2) No guarantee of payment

3) There is *no out* to this contract. All the work you give them is *theirs* for as long as you have a relationship with Pluck.

In other words, Pluck is counting on the naivete of most bloggers.

I would stay away…

Missouri Calendar:

  • Ozark darters spawn in rocky riffles.
  • Egrest Egrets begin nesting in heronries.

Interlopers – Part 5

Wednesday, April 26th, 2006

It seems that I have a new interloper. Earlier this week I received a phone call from the same Roundrock neighbor who called me last spring to apologize for burning down part of my forest. He had a different sort of news this time.

To appreciate this sordid tale, you need to know that turkey hunting season opened in Missouri on Monday, April 24. My good neighbor was down at his land on Monday to get an early start on the season. And what did he see? A landowner from far on the other side of our “former cattle ranch development” who was heading into my property, loaded for turkey.

This surprised my good neighbor because he didn’t think I had given the man permission to hunt on our land. So he hung around and waited for this mystery man to emerge from the trees, and he confronted him. The mystery man told him that of course I had given him permission (which you and I know was not true).

Being skeptical of this news, my good neighbor called me the next day to chat. It turns out that the mystery man and his whole hunting party had wandered all over everyone’s property last year, blasting away at any turkeys they saw. Several of the landowners put their heads together and decided to make it clear to the mystery man and his guests that by no means did they have permission to hunt on their lands.

That left one owner’s land still not officially off limits to the mystery man: Roundrock. I guess he counted on me not being a hunter and thus not catching him trespassing.

After my good neighbor and I finished our chat, we concluded that there were several hundred acres on the east end of the “development” that the mystery man does not have any business stepping on. If he crossed a line roughly defined by a pile of rocks and a burned out International Scout, he would be trespassing.

My good neighbor said that he planned to be back down to his woods this coming weekend, and he said that if he met with the mystery man again, he would tell him what he had learned from me. And he suggested that he might call the local game warden if the mystery man disregarded the warning.

What is ironic is that had the mystery man asked me, I would have naively given him permission to hunt my land. Now, of course, I’m not going to give permission to anyone I don’t personally know.

__________

Does anyone know about an outfit called Blogburst? I’ve received an invitation to add Roundrock Journal to this service that apparently releases blog posts to “publishers” to increase exposure and traffic. I’d be flattered if the email didn’t sound like a merge mail. I added Roundrock Journal to one of those blog directories some months back, and shortly after that the innundation of comment spam began. Coincidence? I don’t know. But it leaves me a little gun shy about this new solicitation.

Missouri Calendar:

  • Crappie are spawning
  • Mink kits are born through early May.

4.23.2006

Tuesday, April 25th, 2006

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This day was our dogwood trek. As I’ve noted before, we’ve not found any dogwood trees in the woods at Roundrock. However, Fallen Timbers, that other little bit of forest on the edge of the Missouri Ozarks that we have, is rich with the trees. In fact, their abundance was one of the qualities helping us decide to buy those 40 acres.

We feared that we had missed the blooming since the dogwoods in Kansas City were in full flower already, and Fallen Timbers is 125 miles southwest of the old hometown. But Karl over at Pile of O’Melays (even farther south, though still in the great state of Missouri) reported that his dogwoods were currently rampant with flowers, so we were hopeful as we finally found some free time to make a day trip. A powerful storm had passed through Missouri the night before, and with the forest now greening up, we thought we would have a delightful trip.

The private road leading to our forest (two miles from the county gravel road) is more of an idea than an actual road. It can pound the fillings out of your teeth in places, and this visit nearly managed to do so. But with appropriate recklessness and four-wheel drive, we were soon pulling into the overgrown entrance to our woods. The track that cuts across the southwest corner of our land was once the old ridge road that served whoever lived or worked in these hills in the past, and it serves as our property entrance and passage to our fire ring. It was still discernable to us, especially since we have relied on it to get through the trees for years, but it could be lost to an untrained eye amidst the sprouting young trees and scrubby growth. Had we visited more regularly and perhaps done some more vigorous maintenance to it, this old ridge road might have stayed more open.

So we were on a dogwood trek, but we thought we ought to do a little clearing work on our entrance road, and since I knew we’d be too pooped to work after we returned from a dogwood hike, we decided to work first and explore later. None of the scrub that was growing on the road was more than an inch in diameter at ground level — and most of it was much less — so our tools were lopers and hand saws. Applied with the right of amount of bending, stooping, kneeling, grunting, and cursing, they can do an effective job, but they clear only one invader at a time. Still, we thought, a little bit of work, and a little on our next visit, and so on would make a big job more manageable and provide at least some sense of being responsible about our duties as landowners.

As we were chopping and snipping and sawing away, our neighbor drove up and stopped to chat. I’d met him once before, and he’s a personable chap who also lives near Kansas City and keeps his woods for a wilderness refuge. (As we chatted, he spoke of one visit when he was surprised by a heavy snowstorm and was left snowbound in his cabin for three days — remember that malevolent road I spoke of — and how it was the most blissful time he’d ever had.) He looked at our work, commented on how big a job it was, and offered to bring his brush hog by to make quick work of it for us. We demurred, of course, but he insisted, saying it wouldn’t be work to him but actually a big load of fun. When he finally agreed to let us pay him for the gas involved in running his tractor the matter was settled. He would drive over to his cabin and return with his tractor and brush hog while we would hike over to our fire ring where our truck was parked so he’d know where the clearing work ended.

Suffice to say, he did a few months worth of work for us in a few minutes (well, a half hour), but I’ll leave that tale for another post.

Then it was finally time for our dogwood trek. Our fire ring and general campsite is on the ridgetop, and most of our land at Fallen Timbers lies on the land sloping down from there to the north. Although there were a handful of dogwood trees here and there on the ridgetop, we knew the thickest stands were down on the north-facing slope. So with a knapsack full of bottled water and a few hand tools (plus two cameras), we turned our feet to the north and began our stumble down the hill. Now I know that the temperate forests of the Midwest can’t compare with the tropical growth in, say, Florida, but we were pushing through dense, dense growth, making our way down the hill. Occasionally we’d come upon a game trail, but the critters are too clever to go directly up and down the mini-mountains in this part of the Ozarks, so we were generally crossing their paths rather than following them.

The dense scrub was due to the fact that this hillside had been mostly clear cut about a decade before (two owners past), and with the canopy open, the opportunistic seeds and nuts and acorns sprouted to life and elbowed their way to the sunlight. As a result, we lost our bearings a bit and veered to the west more than I realized. When we finally reached the mostly dry creek at the bottom of the slope, we were much farther to the west than I had expected, but that was okay since it was exactly where the thickest stands of dogwood were.

Alas, the best time to visit Fallen Timbers to see the dogwoods seemed to have been the day before. Apparently, the storm was just as intense down here as it had been in Kansas City. Most of the bracts (the white “petals” of the dogwood blossoms) were battered or knocked from the trees. There were still clouds of white up in the trees and on the hillsides, and some of the more protected trees deeper in the ravines still bore passable blossoms, but it looked like we had just missed the best display. Nonetheless, any time spent in an Ozarks woods is time well spent. As a compensation, the gods managed to shower us with these bracts as we sat by the stream, as though with a soft, white snowstorm. That was pleasant.

The plant life at Fallen Timbers is much more diverse than at Roundrock. Not only do we have plenty of dogwoods and redbud, but we have dense thickets of sassafras and some tall-standing variety of sumac. We also found many flowering plants that we had not seen at Roundrock, and I tried to get decent pictures of them all, so in the days to come, I’ll bore you with these as well.

Having done a little mountain backpacking in Colorado in another life, I learned that it is much easier to hike up a hill rather than down one. Yes, gravity assists you going down, and fatigue fights you going up, but at least you can be more certain of reliable footing as you climb with less fear of sliding as you go. And so went our return to the fire ring and lunch waiting for us back on the ridgetop. We diverted here and there, paused to take photos or investigate this or that, and all the while take a few stabs at clearing some of the scrub. Eventually, we were throwing ourselves down in the chairs by the fire ring, doing our best to be polite and dainty as we prepared our lunches (when what we actually wanted to do was shove it all in our mouths and wash it down with great gulping glugs of water — though I had iced tea, with no sweetener).

After lunch came the regular stupor as we listened to the birds and watched the butterflies. Something noisy poked about in the leaf litter nearby. Early flies buzzed around our heads. And we drifted in and out of consciousness. Finally, we pushed ourselves out of the chairs and made a last great effort at clearing some of the scrub that was encroaching the fire ring/campsite area. Again we made a few discoveries that I’ll post about in future days, but finally we thought we might see what time it was (not having worn a watch, of course), and it turned out to be nearly 5:00 p.m.! We still had a two-hour drive ahead of us as well as unloading, showering vigorously, and then some regular household chores to address before we could fall happily into our beds.

So we said farewell to Fallen Timbers, but I think we’ll be back again pretty soon.

Missouri Calendar:

  • Ruby-throated hummingbirds begin arriving.
  • Hickories bloom.

Common as Crinoids

Monday, April 24th, 2006

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There is nothing special about a rock full of crinoid fossils except that I find it very cool, and since this is my blog, I get to declare such things. Maybe it has to do with the fact that crinoid segments were the first real fossils I had found on my own as a pup. Even then I knew instantly that I was gazing across millions of years to a world unlike my own.

These crinoids are also in a world unlike my own — or they would be if the lake held its water. The rocks most abundant with the fossils are down in the bottom of the lakebed, and in a perfect world, they would be under ten feet of water. In a sense, then, these critters would be at home. Crinoids were a marine animal — not a plant though their growth habit and appearance would suggest that — that flourished in the Mississipian period hundreds of millions of years ago when the limestone that underlies Roundrock was laid down. Crinoids were thriving in this part of the world long before the meteor struck nearby. Their relatives are alive today in the form of sea stars, sea urchins, and the like. One geologist I met said that if he could travel through time he would not want to see the dinosaurs but rather would like to have a nice scuba set with him so he could prowl the warm-water seas and look at the colorful and diverse underwater life that flourished in this era.

Just like the round rocks, these crinoid segments call out to be collected. Perhaps I could accumulate enuf of these to put on a string and adorn the neck of my love.

Missouri Calendar:

  • Cedar apple rust appears.
  • Coyotes bear young through May.

More Anguish

Sunday, April 23rd, 2006

coconut.JPG

The odd-looking thing you see here is a half of a coconut filled with suet and seed. It’s hanging on a tree near our shelter (late lamented) above the lake. That’s a bit of the lake you can see through the trees on the left, though there should be deep water on the right side of the photo too.

This is another of my random feeding attempts in the woods at Roundrock. This time it is for the birds, specifically the woodpeckers, I hope. Libby and I had bought a pair of these on impulse when we were at our local wild bird shop. I fully expect to find the shell completely empty on our next visit to the woods, and I hope that means that some birds received a high-energy meal or two in order to bring off a brood of hatchlings.

This looked like an odd contrivance when I’d first encountered it, though it seems sufficient to do the job, and it uses natural materials, so maybe it will work. (Though what we find on our return visit will tell the true tale.) We hung the second one on a tree in the forest across the lake. Like so many other things over there, I don’t know if I could ever find it again.

As some of you know, I’ve only lately come to discover the nature writings of Hal Borland, who was a countryman in Connecticut some decades past. Currently I am enjoying his book entitled Beyond Your Doorstep, which was published in 1962 (before many of you were born. Well, not you FC). Imagine my surprise when I was strolling through his chapter on birds and came upon a description of a similar coconut feeding system that he had devised. He began with a halved coconut and found the birds ate all of the white meat within it. Then he filled it with bacon fat, Crisco, and even something called Spry, and the birds cleaned it for him every time. (He also noted the observation made by others that suet cages should not expose any bare metal to the birds since on a cold winter day their flesh could stick to it just like a child’s tongue to a flagpole. He said that he’d never observed this happening himself, but I realize now why our own suet cages are covered with a thick plastic skin.)

So when I return to Roundrock (soon, I hope) perhaps I can recover an empty coconut shell and take it home to pack with our own suet.

Missouri Calendar:

  • Orioles arrive this week; listen for their flutelike whistles.

Stoneman

Saturday, April 22nd, 2006

stoneman.JPG

Everyone, this is Stoneman. Stoneman, say hello to everyone.

Stoneman was one of our first contrivances when we began coming to Roundrock all those years ago. I’m not sure if you can tell, but Stoneman is currently comprised of three round rocks. The largest is hidden down in the grass. If you’re impressed by how well the other two rocks are balanced atop each other, don’t be. They’re glued together with a special squirtable cement.

At the time we assembled Stoneman, I’d forgotten my high school geometry (which is odd since that was about the only “math” class I ever felt I actually understood, but that was so very long ago). We applied far too much glue to the top of the bottom rock, forgetting that spheres like these would intersect at only one point, thus requiring far less spread and smear of the glue than we had applied. That may not have been so bad, however. We were more efficient about our next application of glue for placing the topmost rock, and now that rock won’t stay in place. The middle rock has held on just fine for years.

Stoneman sits beside the pond in an open, grassy area that we’ve been clearing lately with the notion of making it a picnic spot. (You know, for those two or three days a year between bitter cold and biting bugs.) If we do realize this silly ambition, Stoneman may need to be moved a bit since he’s right in the middle of things. Actually, I wouldn’t mind giving him some better prominence since the grass does overwhelm him by the end of the summer.

When we first began coming to Roundrock, the pond was our primary destination since it was our first body o’water and it was a novelty to us suburbanites. This was in the days before we’d had the road built, so a visit then was a quarter mile of bushwhacking, but it was always worth it, whatever the season. Thus Stoneman was someone we visited frequently. The kids marveled at him (though they were on the cusp of that age where the dared not display any emotion — teenagers!). Our lovely daughter, Rachel, even made a wreath of buckbrush with little red berries to hang around him once.

Now Stoneman sits silently, awaiting our next visit, which won’t be soon enuf to my preference.

Missouri Calendar:

  • Oaks bloom.
  • Earth Day.

Shapely Cedar

Friday, April 21st, 2006

shapely cedar.JPG

Little things can make Pablo happy. Like this curiously shaped cedar tree in our woods. This tree is not far from the “entrance” to Roundrock. The entrance was first defined by where the easement to cross our neighbor’s property met our southwest corner. We would park there and begin our adventures afoot. Thus we grew to know this part of our 80+ acres first. Now we have a road that enters our forest in that corner and then hurries on toward and then across the northern boundary and down to the dam, but that’s a different tale.

When we would course over the woods — this area being covered with young and merciless stands of blackjack oak — anything that was even slightly different stood out. When we first came to this tree, we called it our “candelabra cedar.” It lacked too many extra limbs to be called a “menorah cedar,” and I don’t suppose it qualifies much as a “cadelabra” either.

In any case, we marvelled at the shape of this tree, and we trimmed away some of the lower, wispier branches to help bring out the shape it had taken. These days our truck takes us far from this area on our visits, so we don’t get to see the “cadelabra cedar” much. Thus is was pleasant to hike this part of the woods recently to have a look at it. After we had replanted many of the shortleaf pines over in our northwest corner, I had four little pinelings left. I’ve read that they like dry, ridgetop soil, and I figured this was an area where I could bestow a great deal of neglect on them. Thus an experiment. Will the neglected pines in rotten soil do better than those in good soil? So the pines I planted near here are my control group, and if they turn out to be better situation, I’ll scatter pines throught the dry areas of Roundrock next year.

In the meantime, I’ll have reason to wander over to this part of the forest more frequently to check on the progress of the forlorn pines and to visit this oddly shaped cedar.

Max doesn’t seem to have an appreciation for these things. This was an attempt to have him pose for a photo, but his attention span is a bit short.

Also, I don’t think the background in this photo gives you a good indication, but this is a dense part of the forest. There are many low limbs and fallen branches along here. They make straight-line journeying more of a theory than a practice, and I can always tell when I’ve been to this part of the forest by the lacerations on my hands and forearms from pushing through the malevolent branches of the blackjack oaks.

Missouri Calendar:

  • Giant Canado goose goslings begin hatching.
  • Columbines bloom.