Saturday, July 31, 2010

oh, the things you'll see

A few years ago my daughter and I were going somewhere in the car when I gasped and pulled over to stop and look at some cloud formations over the sunset. We sat and watched for a few moments.
As we drove off, Molly thanked me for being the kind of mom who saw those things and made her aware of them. Her friends enjoy it now when she is the one showing them the natural world. It really never crossed my mind that other people forget to look, but since then I've watched and noticed that she was probably right. Of course, I should mention that there are lots of things that other people think that I miss. Fashion, for instance, is beyond me.
The other day we were at a local restored homestead that gets a decent amount of tourist traffic. While everyone took the tour, my sister and I spent our time wandering by ourselves, looking at the authentic plantings on the grounds and talking about why people needed them 200 years ago.
This year, trees have really been catching my attention. In the spring it was Linden, in the mid-summer it was mimosa and cherry, and now the nut trees are calling to me.
So as we walked past the fruit orchard, we started noticing the different nut trees lining the lane leading to the farm. The chestnut trees can not be the original American Chestnuts; 99.9% of those were killed by disease in the early to mid 1900's. It's a little unusual to see lots of English Walnut trees around here, but there they were. In fact most of the trees have probably been planted during the last 50 or 100 years, but it made me think about how valuable those trees would have been to homesteaders all those years ago. The food, the wood for building and burning, and also the fact that plantings would have been planned to bring in different wildlife for the supper table.
Mints grew along the side of the one barn, and hops grew up a rustic lattice on the side of the herb garden. The herb garden itself was surrounded by a 5 foot rough hewn stockade fence. I didn't see vegetable gardens, but they would have been large and orderly on a PA German homestead.
We'll probably tour the buildings sometime in the near future, but the grounds were fascinating and thought-provoking. It's easy to forget that most living took place outside not so very long ago.
Not too many years ago, I was at a gas station and looked up to see a bald-eagle perched on an electrical tower, looking down at us. For at least 10 minutes I stood transfixed, watching this magnificent, rare (in this area) bird. It was a busy place, and I am pretty sure that nobody else ever looked up. Be sure to look up every now and then.


Rosemary said...

I'm with ya about the fashion thing! Had to chuckle at that one.

Anonymous said...

I believe that that is an american black walnut in your picture, but then again I am not that familiar with English walnut. We have many many black walnut in our area. They are distinctly different and actually far superior in flavor to the European variety. they are just more difficult to crack out of their heavier shells. You need a special long handled cracker to get them out.

Tina Sams said...

Our woods are filled with black walnuts, but their outer flesh is dimply and rough while the nut shown had perfectly smooth outer flesh. Thanks for looking though. I need to go back now - since it's fall, and find out for sure!


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