Thursday, January 8, 2009

Hickories- shaggy and shelly

Dear Hunts Poorly,
I hope you don't mind, but I have decided that rather than let this blog languish any longer, and due to time constraints, I shall begin posting my emails to you about the holler in the blog, killing too rabbits with one stone, so to speak. I am sure you will censure and scold me when necessary.

I enjoyed the visual in your email of the fire ring in the snow at the boat lot, never thought about ashes insulating the ground like that...guess that gives a poets line that goes something like "a heart as cold as dead ashes" a real ring. (oh, bad pun)
Went for a long walk, picked a way I hadn't been in a while (up the side of cane holler, like if you start above those alter rocks in the old cedar thicket and stay at that level and go straight to the big sassafrass in the very back) I had a mission, on that holler side there are a lot of hickory trees, and I was shopping to locate a shell bark hickory.
You see, I figured out that those giant nuts are from shell barks, not shag barks. I can't tell the bark and twigs apart yet, but I learned the shell barks are much rarer and have a smaller range. I also learned that hickories take a long time to bear (durn, there goes my big ideas) but you can graft them. hmmmph.

Anyway, no shellbarks, and the nuts in that area where not even as large as the ones above my pasture hill. But what I did find is several blown down trees and blown out massive tree tops. I guess that happened in the wind before last. (we have had lots of wind with the gloom)

At least two where trees that I had photographed frequently because of their lovely lines. It reminded me so much of the impermanence of your river, and the way it changed so drastically from one weather event to the next and how that always surprised me but did not surprise you, because I think you accept impermanence better than me.

Anyway, I was studying one space where a large, familiar oak tree top used to be when I noticed that it had taken out a hickory and walnut neighbor treetop, the large twisted-out walnut tree top was dangling precariously in a tall skinny fragile ailanthus tree directly over my head. I am supposed to be more conscious of widowmakers than that, especially on such a roughly gusty day. I high-tailed it out of the woods, taking that as a sign, and commenced my hickory tasting experiments back on the back porch before my fingers got too cold.
Let me know how your plans for a model of a compound canal lock turn out, using eagle clay for bricks seems kinda tedious, but might just go pretty quick with a multiple could have teeny weeny little initials in it...oooooh! I love miniatures.

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