Category Archives: cedar

Tree Talk

Did you know that trees talk to each other? Just look at these two firs on the far right. They definitely have their heads together, whispering secrets to each other.

“Are you there, Conan? The fog is so thick, I can hardly see my limbs in front of my face.”

“Of course I’m here, Firginia. It’s not like I’ll be going anywhere anytime soon. My feet are firmly planted on the ground.You might say I’ve put down roots here.”

“Well, it’s not like you’d get a better view  if you went anywhere else.”

“Oh, heavens, no. I knew a fellow tree, not sure fir how long, fir years anyway, he was leaning towards another  location. But it ended up all his plans went up in smoke. Some guy with a chainsaw promised him a nice cozy woodshed to live in, but the odds were stacked against him. He met some of our old friends there in the woodshed, but it wasn’t enough to save him. I’m sure from up here, I saw the other  blockheads in the shed. That girl Ashley, made a real ash of herself. Should have stayed on her mountain.  And there was some burly fellow just lying there. He thought he’d be turned into a tabletop but it ended up the tables were turned on him. He got fired, just like the rest of them.”

“That’s sounds like what happened to our friend Cy. He said, ‘Naw, they won’t burn me. They don’t like cypress. Too pitchy.’ But they piled him into the woodshed too, along with his cousin, Cedric. If only he hadn’t drawn attention to him, he might have survived. But Cy kept saying, ‘Ce-dar he is, over dar….Ce-dar, right dar,’ and he kept waving his flat, feathery fingers to point out the cedar. And just when Cedric was kindling a relationship. Now he’s just kindling.”

“I wood think about a move but I’m quite happy here, with all my cones,” Conan said. “I have a fantastic view from up here. Eagle’s eye view, Baldy told me so yesterday when he landed on one of my arms. Little pest was bouncing up and down,  though, trying to break my arm.”

“I know!” said Firginia. “He’s done that to me too. I think it’s the nesting instinct. They try to break off arms fir building their nests. I don’t mind if they break off the deadwood, but not my good arms, fir heaven’s sake.”

“I pre-fir the owls. Fowler just drifts in silently and I don’t even know he’s sitting on my arms until he calls his wife.”

“Yeah, I know. She’s always sitting on my arms, watching fir him to notice her, but he really doesn’t give a hoot.”

“Oh but he does.  Every 15 seconds, he’s hooting and ‘owling fir her. Drives me crazy some nights.”

“Well, why don’t you leave then, if you don’t like it?”

“I told you, I’ve put down roots here. Fir heaven’s sake, weren’t you listening?”

“Yes, yes. All right if you’re not going anywhere, the least you can do is hold my limbs when I reach out for you. There’s another storm coming and we have to hold on to each other, or we’ll end up in the woodshed together.”

“That woodn’t be too bad,” said Conan, twitching his fir cones. “I hear some interesting things go on behind the woodshed. Yew don’t know what yew’re missing. A hot time!”

“I said, IN the woodshed, not BEHIND it. And then you’d soon be in the wheelbarrow and heading for a hot time in the woodstove,” said Firginia.

“Well, c’est la vie. At least I’d be doing a good thing warming up the house for Anneli. I hear she’s always cold.”

“Now don’t pick on Anneli. She’s been very busy with publishing her new book, Marlie. I hear it’s a good one. Our cousins on the Queen Charlotte Islands are in it.”

“What I really like about Anneli’s books, she doesn’t insist on cutting down trees for her books. You can get the Kindle version,” Conan added.

“Oh HOT stuff! Kindle, get it? Kindle a fire under her words? I hear they’re that good!”

“But what if I don’t need to Kindle anything?”

“Then you go to smashwords.com.”

“Smashwoods?”

“Not smashWOODS! SmashWORDS. It’s smashwords.com Honestly, sometimes I think you have a wooden head.”

“Well … I do.” (Sigh!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Nightgown Shapeshifters

Flannel on the clothesline

Sheds the dusty coat

Gathered in the fabric store,

All those tiny motes.

Filtered sunlight and a breeze

Scent of cedar from the trees.

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Quickly! No one’s looking now.

Let them stand and wonder how

The seamstress waves her magic wand.

Of nightgowns she is very fond.

Scrunch together, stretch again,

And two new shapes, now remain.

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Shapeshifters, you can take a bow,

And sleep in cozy dreamland  now.

Wood and Water

One of the perks of having company is having an excuse to be a tourist in your own territory. Normally, I don’t go visit the waterfalls near Qualicum or Cathedral Grove, the forest of huge trees at MacMillan Park. It has been two years since my last long-term guests were here and I had a reason to make this wonderful combination trip of wood and water.

I parked the car and before we even started our walk, I looked up and saw two interesting sights. A huge arbutus tree (on the left) showed off its beautiful barkless trunks and evergreen leaves. To the right, a burl had grown on a Douglas fir. Because a burl has a lot of knots and gnarly growth patterns, it is often cut into slabs and used as a top for a small table. The knots in the grain make a beautiful design and you’ll see these tables lacquered or varnished to give the table a high-gloss finish.

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But follow me down the path into the woods and let’s go see Little Qualicum Falls.003

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From the middle of Vancouver Island, when you drive from the east coast of the island to the west coast, you’ll come to Cameron Lake, a very deep lake next to a winding road that can be treacherous in the wintertime. Little Qualicum Falls is a camping area on the east end of Cameron Lake and if you wind your way beside the long, long lake to the other end of it, you’ll come to MacMillan Park (or more commonly called Cathedral Grove by the locals).

One of the trees in this park is over 800 years old. A sign says that when Columbus came to North America in 1492, this tree was already about 300 years old. It is taller than the famous leaning Tower of Pisa.

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The trees cling to any grip they can find to keep their feet firmly on (and in) the ground, so watch your step.035But sometimes in a big windstorm, some unfortunates may topple and their roots will reach up, wondering where the ground went. This tree root has been filled in by sandy soil from the blowing dust of many years, and possibly tamped down by many a footstep. I would guess that the footsteps have been made, in large part, by  children needing to go up to see the lizard-like creature face to face. Do you see him standing up on the right of the sand-filled roots?029Last but not least, I must show off my very sweet 93-year-old mother-in-law as she investigates the hollow cedar tree. If she went into the hollow of the tree, she would disappear inside – it is that big.

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The Cathedral Grove trees never fail to impress.

Hope Springs Eternal

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Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never is, but always to be blessed:
The soul, uneasy and confined from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.

– Alexander PopeAn Essay on Man

I know these lines are not about spring, but I’ve been hoping for spring to come for so long that when the words got a bit jumbled in my brain, I thought of this poem. Pope has me totally confused with his big words all thrown into four lines seemingly at random, but I gather that he too, was waiting, hoping, for something.

I thought maybe the words would make more sense if they were realigned a bit to say:

Hoping for spring eternally is this human beast,

Just when she thinks it’s coming, the day warms up the least.

Her soul is uneasy, inactive too long,

Oh why is the weatherman always wrong?

—  Anneli W.(without) Hope, from “A Messy-Essay of a Woman”

I’m hopeful though. Spring is a time of new beginnings, a time for love. And here are two lips just for you. I found this tu-lip in my garden today.

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And here is a shrub that thinks it is quintessential to bringing spring. The quince bush. I started out with one plant but it has definitely had at least quints since I planted it.

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And now, here comes my punishment for being so pessimistic about the late arrival of spring. No, that is not Mount Fuji. This mountain of a cloud came to tower over my house just to remind me not to get too happy about the bit of (cold) sunshine we had today. No mountain is hiding under that cloud. It is all rainwater, waiting for me to say the word when I want my flowers and my new cedar hedge watered. Notice the cloud is white though? That’s so I don’t lose heart altogether about spring’s impending arrival.

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May it come soooooooooooon!

Hedge Your Best

It’s now or never. Just in, the new  hedging cedars are going like hotcakes in the stores and nurseries. We needed a new hedge. The old fir hedge was on its last legs and we could see them. That was one of the biggest problems – that we could see their legs. The lower branches were weak or gone and on many trees, only the top ones greened out. We could not only see the trees’ legs, but the legs of all the people walking past. Our privacy was disappearing fast.

With the purchase of forty-five cedar trees, the removal of the old fir hedge could begin. We hired a friend to help and the first efforts seem funny in hindsight. The winch on the front of the friend’s truck turned around but the cable on it stayed as it was instead of winding up to pull out the tree trunks. Maybe if the cable on this new “Made in China” winch had been attached to the winch itself, there would have been some torque on it. With no provision for attaching the cable, the poor fellow now has a brand new winch to return.

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Plan B was a good one though. The friend’s son had a little bobcat and that made short work of the firs.

007The fun was just beginning. A big mess had to be cleared up before the new hedge could go in.

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Meanwhile you may be wondering if I helped or just stood around taking pictures for my next blog post. I did my bit by going to buy the rooting compound, bone meal, and several truckloads of composted soil to add to the extremely sandy soil on our property.

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 And now for the new trees – western red cedars. The weight of each of these potted trees was cause for many a groan.

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Once the trees were in the ground and the valiant hedge planters had moved along, the robins wasted no time getting at the freshly uprooted worms and grubs…

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while the work continued….

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 I am now very happy with my new hedge. At first I wondered if the fellows would come through for me. If not, I could always have a wood fence built. I had hedged my bets, and they had hedged their best.

 

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PS  Don’t forget to visit my other blog that is dedicated to writers, books, and writing. http://annelisplace.wordpress.com

Paddin’ Around Lake Padden

Moving a household is hard work, so after helping my sister-in-law pack boxes all day…001I was happy to follow her suggestion to go for a walk in one of her favourite places, Lake Padden, in the south part of Bellingham, Washington.

021aThe walk goes all the way around the lake, for a distance of 2.8 miles.

014On the way around the lake, we came across this cute little fellow who entertained us by showing us how he ate a cone of some sort. He turned it around and around, chewing, shaking it, spitting out parts he didn’t like, and savouring the rest.

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We continued to the other side of the lake and marveled at how nature works to regenerate growth. From a fallen cedar, many young cedars had sprouted, like so many children standing in a line. The decaying cedar would provide nutrients to get all these young ones started.

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Another large tree had fallen closer to the path and someone brought a power saw to carve out his creative idea. I was tempted to sit down to try out the unique benches but they were probably a bit damp and, even more probably, I would find it hard to get up again and continue the walk. After packing boxes all day it would have been easier to stay on the bench and have a snooze than to go on.

036aMy sister-in-law will miss her old stomping grounds, but I’m sure she’ll find new paths to walk at her new home.

The Ups, Downs, and All Arounds of Trees

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The sun warmed a spot through the clouds for about twenty minutes this morning, very low in the southern sky. I rushed to the beach with my camera to catch the rare light. A David-and-Goliath battle was raging between two formidable contestants: the sprawling army of thick fogbanks and the solitary feeble rays of the sun. The sun stood its ground and battled bravely, but was soon overrun by the misty masses rolling in like wave after wave of gray-cloaked cavalry.

I resigned myself to making the best of a quick jaunt along the beach boardwalk and my mind was soon re-focused on trees. Though many lined the walkway, some had fallen down, roots drowned in rivulets flowing to the sea.

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Others stood tall, waving their arms as if to encircle me and cast a spell on me.

017Yet others, tiring of their job of decorating the seaside boardwalk, had no strength left to resist the high winter winds off the sea. The trees were no longer up, yet not quite down. They were “maybes,” the kind of trees the loggers call widowmakers.

??????????See the grandfather tree keeling over and the young whipper-snapper doing his best to hold him up?

Those were the “ups,” “downs,” and “maybes” of the tree world. On the way back to my car, I noticed one more tree that appealed to me. It was the “all around” version.

025So there you go. I hope you’ll find this post was a “tree”t. Yes, yes, I’ve used that pun before, but my bark is worse than my bite and I wanted to come up with a way to thank you for lumbering along with me. I knew it wood not be very witty. It’s really a pithy to make you suffer like that. In future, I’ll try to branch out more and leave all this fir someone else. Maybe soon yew‘ll cedar improvement. Still, you’d better hedge your bets. Thank you so much for logging in to my b-log post.