Thursday, October 31, 2013
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
|TAMARACK IN ODE BACK YARD|
|SUGAR MAPLE WITH TAR SPOT|
When we travelled to Wausau in central Wisconsin two weeks ago the tamaracks in most of the northern part of the state were already turning their golden fall coloration, as they approached their annual defoliation. Here in Bayfield, a hundred and fifty miles north of Wausau, they are just now turning color. That is how much proximity to Lake Superior affects fall leaf retention, hardiness and many other physiological factors of plants,
Tar spot of maple leaves is a lesion caused by several species of the fungus genus Rhytsma. I have been seeing quite a bit of it. It is seldom a serious disease, although it looks threatening. The best control, if deemed necessary, is to rake up and burn or bury affected leaves to prevent an outbreak the following year.
Is a mere five-percent of anything something to be concerned about? After all, it is less than fifteen million people, about five percent of the US population, who may loose their present insurance, doctors or hospitals under Obamacare, despite the President's repeated assurances to the contrary. After all, that is a statistically unimportant number.
Consider this: the Jewish population of Germany in 1933, when Hitler became Chancellor, was only 500,000 out of a population of sixty-seven million. Less than one-percent. Hardly noticed as they were loaded into the cattle cars and shipped to the crematoriums. As we all know, they didn't count to most Germans, and neither to most of the rest of the world. It is easy to sacrifice someone else's life, health, or property, particularly if they are only a small minority. Why can't they just "take one for the team," shut up, and get out of the way?
My friends, sacrificing some else's life, liberty or property for the supposed "common good" is the very essence of totalitarianism.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
|PIONEERING PAPER BIRCH AND WHITE PINE DOMINATE..|
|SHADE TOLERANT RED OAKS AND MAPLES WILL SUCCEED THE PIONEER BIRCH, PINE AND SUMAC...|
The southwest corner of the Ode property is a mini-woodland which is quite beautiful, especially in the fall. The dominant trees are a maturing (perhaps twenty-five years old) multi-trunked paper birch, which hopefully will live another ten or fifteen years, and a young white pine of about the same age, which, absent any intervention, may live another century. These are both pioneering species, which often are established after fire or blowdown, and thrive in full sun. Sun loving trees do not reproduce well in heavy shade, and thus their own seedlings do not normally thrive under the parent plants.
Instead, the seedlings of more shade tolerant trees grow under the maturing pioneer species. In these fall photos it is easy to pick out the yellow-lleaved sugar maple saplings and the red leaves of red oak saplings growing up under the birch and white pine trees. They are also springing up under and around the clumps of sun-loving sumac on the steep bank. Also in this successional mix are two shade-tollerant young balsam fir trees, which are difficult to see in the photo. If I do not manage this collage of plants in any way the shade-loving trees will soon take over and dominate the original trees (but probably not the massive white pine). I do some thinning and pruning of all the trees and shrubs to optimize the esthetics of the grouping, but by and large plant succession is taking place the way nature dictates.
I managed budgets and contracts for government and non-profit agencies my entire career, always under the watchful eye of boards and committees, and always under written rules on the bidding process. So I am virtually dumbfounded by the venality of spending (I guess legally, at least by present analysis) over $600,000,000 on the Affordable Care web site contract without competitive bids. And by all recent accounts the work was given to a Canadian firm, an executive of which is a personal and professional friend of the First Lady. The fact that there are evidently no rules in place to prohibit such malfeasance makes congress and both political parties complicit in this unarmed robbery of the American taxpayers.
I do not understand why there is not more popular outrage over this blatant misuse of public funds, and it makes me feel like a damned fool for worrying about and accounting for every penny of public money I ever was entrusted with.
Monday, October 28, 2013
|ICE ON THE BIRDBATH THIS MORNING|
|UNDER CONSTRUCTION: TREE STAND OR TREE HOUSE?|
|IF IT'S GOT A MAILBOX, IT HAS TO BE A HOUSE...|
|WITH A GREAT VIEW OF THE ODE'S FRONT YARD|
Monday, 8:30 AM. 34 degrees F, wind NE, moderate with occasional very strong gusts. It was a foggy dawn, with traces of snow on roofs and cars, but no significant accumulation. The bird bath was frozen over, a reminder that I still have a few things to store for winter. The humidity is 81%, and the barometer has risen sharply to 30.49", so hopefully it will clear up some. I have a Tree Board meeting this morning and we plan to put fertilizer spikes around young trees, so better weather would be welcome.
The kids project across the street continues apace, accompanied by a constantly playing radio, as is every other bonafide construction site. And the question, whether it is a tree house or a tree stand, is now answered: the boys have put up a mailbox, so obviously the structure is a treehouse.
Sunday, October 27, 2013
|TREE HOUSE CONSTRUCTION SITE|
Saturday, October 26, 2013
|SMALL GROVE OF TREMBLING ASPEN, FLANKED BY WHITE PINE AND SUGAR MAPLE|
|RED MAPLE AT THE CEMETERY|
|Wisconsin wolves have made an amazing comeback since they were reintroduced a few years back, so amazing that they are no longer on the federal endangered species list and need to be controlled, since they have no natural predators but man, by hunting and trapping. The 2013 season is still ongoing, but the state announced last week that 95 wolves have been trapped or shot out of a targeted harvest statewide of 251 wolves. Of the 95 harvested in 24 counties, 12 have been taken in Bayfield county, the highest number of any county in the state. The hunt will continue through February or until the harvest goal is reached.|
|SILVER MAPLE ON RITTENHOUSE AVE.|
The parade of colorful fall trees continues, despite changes in the weather. The poplar trees, both the familiar trembling aspen and the less recognized big-toth aspen are very colorful this year, turning hillsides and valleys bright yellow. As I have noted, many red maples have turned shades of yellow this year, but the one pictured, along Washington Ave. at the cemetery, is its usual fiery coloration. Even the normally drab silver maples are pretty this fall.
The delisting of the gray wolf from the federal endangered species list and the resulting hunting season has been controversial, with many environmentalists, along with some Indian tribes, opposed to it. In addition, many forestry interests desire a reduced deer population to control browsing of seedling trees.
But farmers, ranchers and many deer hunters have been calling for the delisting for some years. Wolves can cause great economic damage to farmers and ranchers, and can decimate local deer herds, regardless of whether they may be of benefit to the overall deer population by culling weak individuals and keeping the population in balance with its food supply.
Last year, the first hunt since delisting, there were 42 wolves killed at this point in the hunt. This year there have been more than twice as many killed. Some will say too many wolves are being killed. Others will say the kill has more than doubled because the wolf population is far greater than was estimated. One thing is certain; the Wisconsin wolf population has expanded exponentially, from virtually zero to almost a thousand in only a few years. There are almost four thousand wolves in the the tri-state region of Minnesota, northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
I myself remain rather neutral in the wolf debate, recognizing both the value of wolves in the balance of nature, and the economic damage that results from out-of-control predators. A major predator, such as the wolf, that loses its fear of man is best controlled through hunting. I am not personally interested in hunting wolves, but neither do I want to loose my dog to wolves or coyotes when we are out in the woods, so my pistol goes into my pocket along with my dog whistle.
Friday, October 25, 2013
|A RUSTIC, FRONT YARD VEGETABLE GARDEN|
|SUSTAINABLE GARDENS MIX VEGETABLES AND COMPANION PLANTS|
|A "KEYHOLE " GARDEN|
|THE" SUSTAINABLE LANDSCAPE"|
At the lakefront in Ashland the other day we saw something we had not seen before; a majestic bald eagle, soaring high, being mobbed by a gang of crows. How humiliating! Like Rodney Dangerfield, he didn't "get no respect." That's just the way it goes sometimes, no matter how high one flies.
A few weeks ago I wrote about Martha's Fantastic Garden, and that has been a very popular post. I said at the time that there are as many kinds of gardens as there are gardeners, and Beth's "sustainable garden," just up the street on the corner of 11th and Old Military, is at sort of the opposite end of the spectrum.
I have been watching the progress of the garden up the block since it was started by the previous owner of the home about five years ago and never knew quite what to make of it, as it is very rustic and didn't seem to have any particular stylistic qualities. Which didn't much disturb my sensibilities, since that could be said of my own landscape.
When Beth and her family moved in a year ago, it was obvious that more effort was being put into the garden and landscape, but all in the same vein. Since then I have gotten to know Beth, who practices sustainable gardening, which is an aspect of the sustainability movement, the goal of which is to integrate environmental, social and economic factors in an attempt to create a more sustainable future (that's a succinct and probably grossly incomplete definition).
Beth practices companion planting to reduce the need for pesticides and fertilizer, plants perennial food crops (berry bushes, nut crops) as well as annual vegetables, does a lot of recycling, saves rain water, and is experimenting with plant "guilds" (what I would call plant associations), the companion planting of trees and shrubs that naturally grow together. I sure can't argue with any of what she is doing, and do much of the same myself.
I have to admit that I haven't been enamored by the whole "sustainability"movement, as I don't know why anyone would wish any garden or landscape effort to be "unsustainable." I am also very suspicious, by nature I guess, of social movements of any kind, and the usual jargon and attempts at social control that go along with them. And I definitely part ways with those who worship the earth goddess Gaia, as some in these parts do.
But I like what Beth is doing, and promise to learn more.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
|SNOW CLOUDS OVER CHEQUAMEGON BAY|
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
|MOUNTAIN MAPLE (JUST IN TIME FOR HOLLOWEEN)|
|MOUNTAIN MAPLE LEAF|
|BURNING BUSH (OVERUSED BUT STILL BEAUTIFUL)|
|SUGAR MAPLE ON OLD COURTHOUSE LAWN|
I have mentioned mountain maple, Acer spicatum, before, but it is worth mentioning again. The fall leaf coloration is spectacular, ranging from pumpkin orange (this year just in time for Holloween) to other typical maple leaf colors such as shades of red and yellow. It is probably not rare but is not often seen, perhaps because it inhabits cool northern woods, along stream banks, cliffs and lake shores, places hard to traverse. This one is in the woods on the east side of Tenth St., right along the road, between Old Military and Wilson Ave. It is just a shrub, tucked under a big old willow tree, but others deeper in the woods are small trees, standing out amongst other trees with their unusual fall color.
Mountain Maple is native to the eastern forests of Canada, New England and the Great Lake States, and in micro habitats as far west as Iowa. It has attractive yellow flower spikes (thus its latin species name) and colorful red, winged maple seeds. I have no experience with growing or transplanting it, but in the right location it would be a wonderful addition to a northern landscape.
As uncommon as is the mountain maple, the burning bush, Euonymus alatus, an introduction from Asia, is ubiquitous. It is baldly overused but undeniably attractive in its fall attire. Uncommon or mundane, both are beautiful.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
|VIEW OF CHEQUAMEGON BAY FROM GOLF COURSE, BEFORE SNOWFALL|
|RED AND SUGAR MAPLES AMONG THE CONIFERS|
|HACKBERRY ON WASHINGTON AVE.|
|MAPLE ON WASHINGTON AVE., OLD COURTHOUSE|
Tuesday, 9:00 AM. 36 degrees F, wind light, variable. The sky is covered with a low overcast.The humidity is 73%, and the barometer is trending up slightly at 29.98". Yesterday's blustery first "snowfall"(really ice or snow pellets) left no accumulation but everything is quite wet. Neighbor Marilyn is out puttering in her yard but I won't do any outside work until things dry out.
After several nights at or near freezing, the leaves have intensified their coloration. Sugar maples and red maples in particular are more vivid, some of the sugar maples that had been quite golden yellow now turning to hues of red. The yellow leaves of some ash, birch and poplar are more brilliant, and even the lime green leaves of hackberry trees stand out. As of this morning, most of the leaves appear to be hanging on, even after yesterday's stormy weather.
With all the agonizing over the monetary cost of Obamacare, I have been wondering why some analyst hasn't asked what the out-of-pocket cost of simply paying the annual medical expenses of the estimated 15,000,000 uninsured might be.
I am certain those expenses are being paid by society presently anyway, since in all my long life I have never personally known of anyone being denied needed medical care of whatever kind or expense necessary. In fact I have known many people, including extended family members, who received or are receiving medicaid, SSI or other government or private assistance that pays their medical and other bills, usually with great generosity.
So, take a guess at what such expenses might average per person per year: for example, $10,000 each would total $15B. Take a guess, a generous guess, and multiply that number by fifteen million. if you do the math, I'll bet you come up with a number that is less expensive than Obamacare, that could be paid with income taxes or other taxes, without its Soviet-style oppression. And remember, it is being paid by all of us one way or another already!
Obamacare is not about health-care, it is about the government controlling the most crucial aspect of our lives and, ultimately, our freedom. Ever heard of "The Dictatorship of the Proletariat," comrade?
Monday, October 21, 2013
|SNOW CLOUDS AND MAPLE LEAVES|
Sunday, October 20, 2013
|LAST YEAR'S TOWN OF RUSSELL GUN RAFFLE|
|VIEW TO WEST OVER VALLEY OF N. BRANCH OF PIKES CREEK|
|VIEW OF HILLS SOUTH OF HWY. K IN TOWN OF RUSSELL|
Saturday, October 19, 2013
|NO BUFFALO...AND NO CIGAR!|
|HISTORIC APPLE SHED ON WASHINGTON AVE.|
|SMITH FIRE LANE...|
Friday, October 18, 2013
|GLOSSY, OR EUROPEAN BUCKTHORN...|
|...MANY PEA-SIZED FRUITS...|
|...CONTAINING THREE SEEDS|
|WALNUT TREES ON 6th ST. AND RITTENHOUSE AVE.|
The European, or glossy buckthorn is an invasive large shrub to small tree with pea-sized red to black fruit that might be confused with cherry fruit. The bark also looks much like the bark of a young cherry tree, being smooth, shiny brown in color and with dotted lenticels like cherry bark.
Now is a good time to recognize Rhamnus frangula, as the leaves stay green and attached to the branches much longer than most native shrubs. The fruit ripens from red to blue-black, and each berry-like fruit has three, or sometimes four, black seeds that are flat on one side. The fruit is not really poisonous, but has an acrid taste and if eaten in any quantity will cause gastritis, as its former latin species name, cathartica, testified. Seedlings and even larger plants can be pretty easily pulled up by hand, or popped out with a shovel. Just cutting the trunks at ground level only causes them to re-sprout, unless treated with herbicide. Don't just throw larger bushes with lots of berries in a wood chipper and then use the chips for mulch, as the berries will germinate and spread new seedlings elsewhere.
Walnut trees, Caryua ovata, with their long, pinnately compound, golden-yellow leaves and black trunks, are conspicuous now in the landscape, and their yellow-husked nuts can be found lying under the trees. They are not native much north of central Wisconsin, but there are more in the Bayfield area than one might think, many having been planted in farm yards and elsewhere for their edible nuts, and spread from there by squirrels.
Thursday, October 17, 2013
|COCKSPUR HAWTHORN IN WAUSAU...|
|...LOADED WITH FRUIT|
|WISCONSIN RIVER VALLEY BLUFFS|
|TAMARACK TURNING FROM GREEN TO GOLD ALONG HWY. 51|