A Quick Note.

Tomorrow is April 1st. I don’t “do” April Fool, I find that sort of thing boring and annoying. If you’re someone who thinks April Fool is all harharfunny, please, take it somewhere else, it will not be appreciated here. And if you’re one of those people who reads this and thinks it’s still okay to carry on, here’s a fuck you, you are outta here ahead of time. It’s just another day, and if you treat it that way, we’ll all have a fine one. As for Ēostre Day, have a good one, in any way you choose. Me, I’m going to continue to sleep in, I’m sure Ēostre won’t mind.

The Black & White of Voter Fraud.

Reid Wilson:

NC white woman who admitted voter fraud: No charges.

CO white man convicted of voter fraud: Probation, comm service.

IA white woman convicted of voter fraud: Probation, $750 fine.

TX black woman convicted of voter fraud: 5 years IN PRISON. Which of these is not like the other?

Clear as crystal, isn’t it? But we just don’t have a gosh darn problem with racism in Amerikka, no. You can read more about this at RawStory.

I Cannot Tell a Lie – I Chopped Down The Cherry Tree

But I really did not enjoy the task.

Cherry_Tree_2012

©Charly, all rights reserved.

My father has planted this tree for me when I was about 10 years old. I liked cherries back then. Now I cannot eat cherries any more, because for some reason they cause me hypoglycemia which is really unpleasant. But I enjoyed the blossoms in the spring nevertheless, I always looked forward to them and I did not mind the birds eating all the fruit at all.

I did not take any pictures with my new camera last year, so I can only share pictures that I made with the old one in 2012.

Cherry Blossoms

©Charly, all rights reserved, click for full size.

Last fall mushrooms sprouted on the trunk and that is a really bad sign. There are two kinds of wood in a tree – sapwood, which delivers nutrients from roots to the crown, and heartwood, which is usually more dry and dark and is essentially blocked off and completely dead. Accordingly, there are two types of fungi that can attack wood on a living tree – ones that attack the sapwood, and ones that attack the heartwood. Have a guess at which of these two is more dangerous.

If you like me during my studies guessed those that attack sapwood, you guessed wrong. Fungi that attack sapwood will cause the tree to wither and eventually die, but the tree remains standing relatively intact afterwards for long enough to be felled safely. However fungi that attack heartwood are more insidious – the tree can grow for many more years at absolutely normal rate without anything really visible on the outside. And then, when enough heartwood has rotten away, a branch will suddenly snap, or a the trunk will spit or break. And this of course is dangerous, because to an untrained eye the apparently healthy tree is essentially a ticking bomb that can kill someone at any time – which is something that has happened in CZ a few years ago and it has made the headlines. Heartwood is dead and dry, but it still has a function – it is the scaffolding that holds the tree upright and together.

This tree has developed a split in the trunk at about 10 years  age. We were doing our best to keep fungal infections away, but the split never closed off and we were evidently unsuccessful in the end. I was not able to take a good picture of the mushroom, because it lasted only a few days, none of which was on a weekend. I was unable to determine the exact species too. But I was confident enough in assessing that it is a heartwood eating fungus. So I decided to fell the tree before it becomes dangerous to do so. The tree was huge, so all winter I have cut branches when I could. They were all still healthy and I started to have doubts. But this friday I have finally cut the trunk right above the ground and my assessment of the situation was confirmed. The fungus has already invaded the inner 10 years growth and was spreading. The tree would probably live a few more years, maybe even a decade, but I do not think it was worth the risk, since I do not know how fast the fungus spreads.

Cherry trunk - cut

©Charly, all rights reserved, click for full size.

I have felt real connection with that tree. I was hoping for it to live longer and age with me. If I ever feel something that could be described as a spiritual experience, it is in the presence of a tree in the spring.

I will plant a new cherry tree on the spot as soon as possible.

F Is For Frozen.

Frozen.

It was Mid-January 2018 and the sea was starting to freeze for real, first in the more enclosed bays like Töölönlahti, which is in the middle of the Helsinki Peninsula. I was on my way to sauna, and wanted to take a few photos. The sea had been a bit higher when it froze, so some rocks had broken through the ice when the sea level sunk.

The bonus picture is edited from the same original, getting both the rocks and the other shore in the same picture just didn’t work. The cliffs are Linnunlaulu cliffs and the white building with the tower is Villa Kivi, a home for writers (more specifically members of the Union of Finnish Writers). In the distance one can see the dome of the (Lutheran) Helsinki Cathedral.

Click for full size!

© Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved.

E Is For Exile.

Exile.

Eddie Boyd (born 1914) was an African-American blues artist (singer, songwriter and pianist) who moved to Europe to get away from the racial discrimination in the U.S. in the late 1960s, ending up in Helsinki, Finland in 1970. He married his Finnish girlfriend in 1977 and died in Helsinki 1994 at the age of 79.

Boyd had some hits in the U.S. in the early 1950s, the biggest one being Five Long Years. In Europe he recorded and toured with Fleetwood Mac ja John Mayall Bluesbreakers and various Dutch and Finnish musicians. He performed blues until 1984, concentrating on gospel music in the last decade of his life. Click for full size!

© Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved.