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Tuesday, September 20, 2011



Tuesday, 7:00 AM.  48 degrees, wind WSW, calm.  The sky is overcast with high, thin gray clouds.  The barometer predicts rain but the humidity is only 39% so it will be quite a while until it does.
    The mountain ash tree on the south side of the house is so loaded with its clusters of orange-red berries that its branches are in serious danger of breaking.  I am not overly worried however, as the birds are rapidly devouring the rather mealy, soft, bland tasting fruit, and at the present rate the branches will soon be devoid of both birds and berries.
    Robins were the first to discover the avian treasure trove, and now flocks of cedar wax wings and even fall warblers have invaded, so many birds enveloped in the foliage that the whole tree shakes from their fluttering and jumping from branch to branch.
    There are several species of native mountain ash, and the European mountain ash is planted and escaped, so it is sometimes difficult to tell which is which.  For landscaping purposes I try to use the showy mountain ash, Sorbus dedcora, which is native to North America.  It has a sturdier frame and dark red berries and is somewhat more decorative than the others.  Mountain ash (in the apple family) are not true ash trees, which are in the olive family.  Both have pinnate (feather-like) compound leaves, and thus the confusion.

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