Wednesday, March 29, 2006

New information has come to light

Today’s new moon and solar eclipse have already turned things on their head around my home. Expect the unexpected, for along with these two events, today also sends Pluto retrograde until September. For those interested in astrology, this means it’s time for reflection and introspection

When we look back on the past with fresh information from the present, things often look different. While chatting with my landlady the other day, I learned that many of the large, beautiful trees around the farm with which I have been smitten are Black Walnuts. Those nuts I’ve been wondering about are walnuts covered in a spongy husk.

According to my landlady, these Black Walnuts are as toxic as they are beautiful. She has learned that when a Black Walnut springs up, other trees around it have a tendency to die. This phenomenon is referred to as allelopathy, and is easily visible around the farm: most of these trees stand in a stately and solitary fashion.

While Black Walnut might not play well with other plants, it does offer a food source for squirrels, deer, and other creatures, and a habitat for many birds and rodents (including the screech owl). It’s a gorgeous tree, one of my first new loves of Pennsylvania. Below is a list looking back over the last couple months at some of the pictures I’ve shared with you that include the Black Walnut.

Thursday, January 19, 2006 Exploring [first image foreground]

Thursday, January 26, 2006 New Friends

Tuesday, February 28, 2006 Chasing the Sunrise [second image]

Monday, March 06, 2006 Perspective

Tuesday, March 07, 2006 Half full [second image]

Friday, March 24, 2006 Curves and Curls [fifth image]

In addition to all this new information, I have something else which will aid in our exploration of the Pennsylvania flora: The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees: Eastern Region; Elbert L. Little.

Now you want to hear the REALLY cool part?

This book was a gift from one of PAL’s colleagues, who happened to come upon it while cleaning out a garage with his father. He remembered that PAL and I happen to like all that crazy outdoors stuff.

But the SUPER cool part has to do with this blog entry:

Saturday, March 18, 2006 Trees I have loved.

I came upon this blog entry quite by accident just a few days ago. I was using the blogger search tool to see how my tree blog ranks in some simple searches, and this entry came up. I don’t know anything else about her blog besides this entry, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

If you choose to read it you will find that roughly midway through her post, she mentions her “Field Guide to North American Trees (Eastern Region)…. the brown tree guide is copyrighted 1985.” When I read this, I thought to myself, “Wow, I wish I had that book!! That would be perfect for Arboreality!”

Lo, and behold: the brown tree guide.

Armed with this new information, we shall go forth and give names to trees, common and scientific alike. As to the giver of this treasure: “these buds are for you!”...

PS – For those who recognize this tree from my Happy Vernal Equinox post, as it turns out it is NOT a pussy willow – it’s a magnolia, and those blossoms smell deliciously delicate and sweet.


  1. Out of curiosity I did a Google search for Black Walnut and found a site that referred to it as "The Ultimate Nut" as well as offering recipes and whatnot, so apparently you're not the only fan. :)

    I have a Field Guide to North American Wildflowers that I consulted about your little yellow mystery, but no luck. :( I like that they have nice big photos of the plants, trees, birds, etc. How cool that someone happened to find exactly what you needed and then thought to give it to you!

  2. Ooo... I was thinking about looking for some recipes. The squirrels seem to LOVE the nuts!

    Indeed, it was so cool to receive this book. Don't you just love serendipity?

  3. I am glad you liked the book! It was one of those things that looked like it needed a good home. I'm happy to say "I believe it has!".

    Use it well and enjoy it.

    ~Book Giver

  4. I'm glad you got a copy of the book! And I'm glad you have one of those magnolia trees, too. I have one in my yard, and when it blooms I barely want to go anywhere but outside to stand under it.

  5. Book Giver, the treasure is very much appreciated! Thank you so much for thinking of us.

    Dr. S., yes, you understand! Magnolias are truly wonderful trees! Of course, I don't think I've ever met a tree I didn't like ;)


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