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Sunday, June 11, 2017





Sunday, 9:00 AM,  69 degrees F at the ferry dock, 67 on the back porch.  Wind variable, calm.  The sky is mostly cloudy, the humidity 61%.  The barometer is dropping, now at 29.73."  A dthunderstorm is predicdted for today along with highs in the 70's.  Next week will have highs in the 60's and 70's and mixed skies with chances of thunderstorms.  Yesterday was very hot, humid and windy, the atmosphere filled with blowing dust and pollen, which reflected greenish on the lake waters. To me it was a truly threatening tableaux, reminiscent of Nebraska tornado weather,
 Hawthorns are blooming, right about on time.  My recorded bloom times are: 6/20/15; 6/18/13; 6/25/12; 6/13/11; 6/08/10. The late spring is morphing into an on-time summer.
 Hawthorns (Crataegus species, in the Rose Family) are interesting and useful small trees, in nature found on the edge of woods and in fence rows.  Many are very floriferous and have attractive foliage and habit and can be used to good effect in the landscape.  They flower after  crabapples, so they provide a continuation of bloom.  Like crabapples, they bear attractive, small, apple-like fruit that can be quite decorative and are valuable wildlife food (edible but bland and meally). 
   Unfortunately, they have some drawbacks.  Most are extremely thorny, some downright dangerously so.  As a young man digging hawthorns by hand in the nursery I hated them, as there was no way to handle them without ending up looking like I had had and encounter with a wildcat. Nowadays equipment takes care of most of the digging, but the thorns of many species and varieties pose a danger to maintenance workers, pedestrians and children.  Also, most hawthorns have a very wide branching habit, making them unfit as street trees.
   Pictured are two hawthorns which have no or few thorns, beautiful flowers, and a good landscape habit.  The white-flowered hawthorn is Crataegus phanopyrum, the Washington thorn, which has glossy green leaves that are reddish in color when emerging, and red to maroon in the fall.  It is resistant to fireblight, a disease which can disfigure and even kill hawthorns, crabapples, apples and other members of the rose family.  It is also the last of the hawthorns to bloom, the flowers lasting as long as two weeks.  Some people find the scent of hawthorn flowers very malodorous, although I don't find it objectionable.
   The 'Paul's Scarlet' hawthorn is a selection of the English hawthorn, Crataegus laevigita.  Its double petalled flowers are very beautiful, looking very much like roses.  It also has an upright habit, making it quite usable in the landscape.  Unfortunately, this hawthorn, which was once very popular, is usually very susceptible to fireblight.  The one pictured, located in a Bayfield park, has not been infected with fireblight.  Unfortunately, I do not know if this individual tree has a natural immunity, or has simply not been infected.
   Some hawthorns are very good for landscape use, some bad.  And then there are some, like the cockspur hawthorn, with its 3," sharp thorns, which although beautiful on the edge of a woods, is just plain ugly to be around.
   Hawthorns: call them the good, the bad and the ugly.
   The conditions of George Orwell's classic  novel, 1984, about the oppression of the dictatorial state, are fast developing in America, albeit a few decades later than predicted.   We are now well into the era of the "Thought Crime."
  Two cases in point: leftist Senator Bernie Sanders, while interrogating a candidate for a sub-cabinet post, assailed him for his Christian belief that Jesus Christ is the only means of salvation.  Now, Christians in general believe this to one degree or another, depending upon their denomination, but it is overall a basic tenet of the faith.  During a heated question and answer period Sanders stated that one could not be a fair and good civil servant while holding such a belief.  The poor man was indeed accused of a thought crime, and the media went on to judge him guilty.  So I guess it's no Christians in the government anymore if Bernie has his way, despite the fact that traditional Jews consider themselves God's chosen people, and Muslims believe infidels fair game.
   Second case: ex FBI Director Comey, also testifying before a Senate committee, stated that he leaked information about the President and the Administration because he thought that the president might lie.  So the President has been convicted  in the media of perjury, without a trial or any evidence whatsoever, on the basis of what someone, himself of very questionable character,  thought.
   We are nothing without our thoughts, good bad or indifferent.  When others; the media,  the opposition party, or the dictatorial state, control or punish us for our thoughts, we struggle to exist.
   The next step in this progression will be the "Thought Police."  And ultimately,  "re-education" in the torture chamber.

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