Tree

Trees are huge, yet delicate. Branches, stems, twigs. So much to see, so hard to draw. Mature trees are suffering damage all the time now. Gales blow down limbs, rain undermines their roots. Fungi and bacteria, so small, can lay a tree low. Sudden Oak Death, Ash die back, so many trees are disappearing from the country. Once it was Dutch Elm disease, now it could be any number of infections and lesions.

We are seeing the effect of the anthropocine, the effect of humans on the natural world. We need to change for the good of nature.

Oak tree in our kitchen..

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He sneaked in an acorn into one of my indoor plant pots, and now its growing into a tiny oak tree. Leaves growing despite the winter frosts.

My other plants are thriving, mainly Christmas cactus. A few other succulents.

On the other hand succulents are being ripped out of their natural habitats because they have become fashionable. The environment they are from are being trashed by greedy humans.

So I don’t buy them, I propagate them from cuttings. And the oak? I hope I can find it a good home so it grows into a huge old tree in time.

Bowls

It’s that time of year, who said “the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”?

A glut of pears, a bowl of acorns and a plate of conkers and pinecones. If we were hunter gatherers this would be a bountiful time. Nuts and fruit. Perfect.

Nowadays the squirrels eat the acorns. Carefully burying them in caches in the woods to eat in winter, and creating baby trees in the meantime. Children harden conkers in vinegar and play Conkers with them. Holes are drilled through them and a knotted string is threaded through. Each child takes it in turn to swing their conker and try and smash another child’s one. If they succeed they can call their conker a ‘one-er’ smash two and it’s a two-er etc. Until the winning conker has smashed all its opponents. The last bowl – of pears? Well they are nice, poached with custard or cream, baked in a pie or even a cake, and apparently you can eat them on a pizza with gorgonzola cheese!

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Old Oak and ice-cream

Visited Snugburys ice cream parlour near Nantwich today. I had the sugar free vanilla and a plain cone. It was weird, a bit like tiny frozen hailstones slightly moist, but bits kept dropping off! My hubby had Walnut and Maple syrup (me jealous?).

As we came out we had a look at one of the oak trees in the grounds. It was hollow inside. The tree looked healthy though. As a tree grows the outside bark and outer layers carry the nutrients and water up the trunk in tubes called phloem and xylem. The centre can be lost, but as long as fluids still flow and the outer wood is strong the tree will survive.

Finally we walked towards the giant bee they have built out of straw. It replaced the Peter Rabbit sculpture that was previously there. We didn’t go to close because it was raining and very windy. Took a quick photo. Enjoyable visit.