Today’s poetic adventure was inspired by the larch tree that is growing at the top of our road! In the summer, this tree was like a beautiful, elegant, youthful woman, but now her beauty seems to be fading.
It surprised me to learn that larch is one of the few conifers which sheds its needles in Autumn. This morning as I was walking my dog, I noticed how brown and bare some of the branches were becoming – and this observation prompted today’s haiku.
You can read today’s haiku here, and I read it out loud in today’s video-blog. (Oh, and in case you’re wondering exactly how big a collection of haiku poems is, it’s 30! We’re nearly there 🙂 ).
Earlier in the Summer, I undertook a series of tree identification adventures and really enjoyed them. After those adventures, my tree radar was on high alert and I began to notice different types of trees in all sorts of places. I had a lot of fun identifying them and it felt good to know more about my natural surroundings.
One tree stumped me though. I noticed it in the summer when its blossom was white. Now it has red berries and large lobed leaves. And then a piece of the jigsaw dropped into place that would narrow down my search for its identity : I have seen this tree in parks, along streets and very occasionally in people’s gardens. Only twice have I noticed it in hedges .. so it seems that it is rare in the wild.
With my trusty tree book in hand, I visited one of the local mystery trees and I think I have solved the mystery : it’s a whitebeam!
It feels really exciting to have solved the mystery – and this adventure has reminded me how much I love working things out for myself (even thought it’s taken me months to work this one out, it’s been fun 🙂 )
For today’s adventure, I returned to the copper beech tree! At the week-end I attempted to gather seeds from the tree for planting, but every seed failed the “float-sink” test (they all floated, and many sources say that this means that the seeds are infertile).
When I collected the seeds, the earth was covered in beech nuts and their open casings. The open casings looked like little hairy hands that had released their grip on the seeds. Looking up into the giant copper beech, many of these open hands were still on the tree. It made me think of a mother with thousands of children who was ready for Nature to take them off her hands 🙂 .
Further research suggested that not only might the float-sink test be invalid, but also that the first fall of seeds from a beech tree are often infertile. No-one is quite sure why this is, but some people think it’s a kind of decoy. The local predators go for the first fall and realise that the seeds are of no value, leaving later seed-falls to their own means.
So, it might be worth gathering some seeds now – and gathering some seeds later!
Anyway, back to the business of the day 😛 . Today’s adventure is a poetic one : I’ve written a haiku about the beech tree. You can read my poem here, and you can hear me recite it in today’s video-blog too.
For today’s adventure, I took my dog for a walk through Portglenone Forest. I recorded my walk by taking photographs of things that caught my eye and then used the images to make a short film.
My dog didn’t like all the stopping ; he was very keen to get on. The “Sparky Effect” is evident in some of the pictures (the ones which are a little blurred are the ones where Sparky was pulling hard on the lead, and I was having a little trouble keeping still!)
I’ve kept in all of the pictures, and I’ve maintained the sequence too. This way, you get to experience the walk as I experienced it. Watching the film, I’m amazed how much there is to see in a forest at this time of year.
Beech nuts are now falling from the copper beech tree on our farm, so I thought it would be a good time to collect some of the seeds and plant them.
I read all about collecting and planting seeds in Tree Planting And Aftercare . I discovered that the guidelines for collecting and planting seeds is species-dependent. Luckily beech seeds seem quite straight forward : you collect them, test them for their fertility, and then you can plant them straight away (or wait for Spring).
The germination rate for beech seeds is about 60%. That’s a good rate when compared with seeds from other trees. To optimise my chances of tree-growing success, I decided that I would test the fertility of the seeds before planting. In my tree planting book, it told me that if the beech seeds float , then they are infertile* (and, therefore, not worth planting).
* After today’s adventure, I carried out some on-line research. Many people believe the “float-sink” rule to be a fallacy. So it may actually be worth planting floating seeds!
Portglenone Forest was the setting for a fabulous impromptu adventure today! The forest was leaping with mushrooms large and small, and a walk that usually takes 30 minutes to complete with the dog, took almost an hour and a half today. It was really exciting to hunt for different types of fungi, even though I didn’t have a name for anything I saw.
I took pictures of all the different types I spotted. When I got home, I used the Wild Food UK website to help with identification. It was so much fun comparing my pictures with the images on the website and learning more about each one of them.
Here’s what I came up with! If you click on the name of each one, you’ll be able to see why I came to the conclusion I did. Do you think I identified them correctly? I’m not sure about the last one ~ I think it’s a type of bracket fungus though! (Do let me know if you know what it is 🙂 ).
Well, when you’re out camping, you can get pretty hungry! So today, I decided to see if I could find anything in the hedgerow that I could add to my breakfast bowl 🙂 . (Nature’s larder seems to be quite full at the moment 😛 ).
Today I set up a bird box! I’ve never had a bird box, table or feeder in my garden before, so this will be a new experience. I hope it encourages birds into the garden ; I’m looking forward to learning how to identify them 🙂 .
As a result of adventuring on a daily basis, I’m becoming more attuned to what’s happening around me. I’m more present (that’s for certain) , but something else is emerging too : a desire to notice change, a desire to track the cycle of Nature.
I have the impression that I’ve missed a great deal over the years. One minute the blossom is on the trees, the next the leaves are on the ground. Now, I’m going to slow right down and remember what I noticed as a child : the slow turning of Nature’s wheel.