Thursday, April 2, 2009

Nature Notes: Grand Dad's Toes

Grand Dad's Toes

Grand Daddy

Plain and Fancy

It's Thursday again already. Time to take a walk and see what there is to see. Like, for instance, tree bark.

There aren't many really big trees on our property. Only the ones too gnarly for logging have survived the buzz saw; the forests are studded with the stumps of their betters. Those that remain have distinct personalities.

I think of the top one here as Grand Dad. I believe it's a white ash. He's a good three feet in diameter, and has skin like an old elephant. The texture is amazing, striated on one half and shot through with ragged diamonds on the other. At the base is a large burl that looks like a big toe. If you look closely to the right of it, you can see the other toes in the base of the tree, like a foot peeking out from under a robe. Well. That's what I see, anyway.

The third shot is a study in contrast. The rough tree is a younger white ash. The smooth one I had never noticed before. Research revealed that it is an American hornbeam, A.K.A. musclewood because it resembles sinews and muscles; A.K.A ironwood because its wood is dense and heavy. Apparently, excellent tool handles can be made from it and hornbeam charcoal can be used to make gun powder.

*Stop by at Michelle's place, Rambling Woods, for more nature stories and photos, OK? Click Here: Nature Notes.


Anonymous said... does look like toes..That is so funny. I never paid much attention to trees until we had a storm that took down many branches and we had to have a professional come to trim the tree to save them. He was a lovely man and told me all about the trees I had in the yard and you couldn't help but appreciate them as he had such a love for them.. Great Nature Note. --Michelle--

Leora said...

What nice twist on what to feature. I love looking at this old bark. Such texture. Yes, "like an old elephant."

Anonymous said...

Fine photos. The grey bark definitely gives the tree a feeling of old age combined with wisdom.

Ed said...

What keed of tree is it? I go for coffee every week with some woodworkers and some of the wood they show is unbelievable. You Have a good day we are to get snow this week so there goes my garden.
Bye Bye Ed

ChrisC and JonJ said...

Very artistic!I really like it!You should try it in b/w.

Carver said...

Granddad's toes is so descriptive and perfect for that oak. I enjoyed seeing the focus on the bark of the trees. Beautiful shots.

MyMaracas said...

Michelle, I'm glad you can see them too. It takes a bit of imagination. I wish I could find a mentor like that, somebody who knows what he/she is seeing and can offer wisdom and guidance about the woods.

Leora and Ilanadavita, thank you! Wise old elephants were the first thing I thought of once I noticed this tree.

Ed, I can't be sure until I see the leaves, but I think it's a white ash. I don't think ash is particularly remarkable for woodworking, but the bark really turns me on LOL. Hope the snow doesn't harm your garden. By the way, do you have a blog? I don't see a link in your profile.

ChrisC and JonJ, you're right. I will have to try that in black and white. Thanks for the tip!

Carver, I'm glad you liked it. Thanks for your kind comment. :-)

Morgaine said...

wonderful pictures of the trees. Trees are have a lovely blog.

MyMaracas said...

Thanks, Morgaine, and welcome! I'll be by to get acquanted in a bit. It's always nice to meet someone new.

2sweetnsaxy said...

Been browsing through your web. Beautiful shots. I really like the one of the lady bugs on the jar. How cool! Love it!