Jack’s Walk

 

©voyager, all rights reserved

Our day started with sunshine peeking through the drapes, but by the time we were up and about the sky was thick with heavy and listless gray clouds. The whole world looks gray and listless in this light and it was tough to get ourselves out the door today. As motivation, we decided to make the short journey to our favourite wee forest hoping we might find a bit of an adventure. Alas, we did not, but we might have heard a few pixies giggling and I’m almost certain I saw a fairy dart into this hollow stump and just disappear. Poof, and he was gone. Not even a whiff of breath left behind. Jack tried to follow, but wisely decided he couldn’t fit and gave up the chase. We made our way around the rest of the trail slowly, and heard nothing more than the creak of the grandmother trees in the wind and the lonely caw of a single crow.

Tree Tuesday

Today, we have something even better than a Christmas tree. Avalus has sent us an absolutely enchanting forest photo for this Christmas Day Tree Tuesday. Thanks so much, Avalus.

Zauberwald means magic forest.

Hiking an a misty morning last fall on a path in the Odenwald suddenly the sun appeared between the trees. I think the slight misfocus adds to the “magic forest” feel I had that moment.

Zauberwald, ©Avalus, all rights reserved

Jack’s Walk

Thin Ice, ©voyager, all rights reserved

The sun is trying to shine today, but it’s weak and can’t quite overcome the gloomy clouds that fill the sky. Nonetheless, we had a pleasant walk down by the river this morning. We saw a few ducks, heard a lot of crows, found some mud and even saw a few shards of blueish sky. Jack really wanted to go swimming, but I didn’t think it was a good idea so soon after surgery so I kept him on dry(ish) land with the help of a few liver treats. He’s a good boy and does what he’s told, but he really wanted to get wet. Oh well, I did let him hunt for mice (he won’t ever catch one) and get some mud between his toes (fun!) so he was happy enough.

Jack’s Walk

Hurry up, mum. ©voyager, all rights reserved

Ha! I found the battery charger for my camera and as I predicted it was in the last place I looked. Actually, it was found by an out-of-town friend who reminded me that I had the charger with me when I visited her a few weeks ago. She was certain that I hadn’t left it behind so I took the short walk to the cupboard and finally found the damned thing in the pocket of my suitcase. I am relieved. And embarrassed. But mostly relieved. The photo today is my sweet Bubba enjoying life without a grapefruit sized lump in his armpit. If you look closely you can just see the shave growing in on his right arm. He was prancing around the woods today like a puppy with his tail set at sail and obviously happy. I think that some of the slow down that I’ve been attributing to age might have just been Larry The Lump™ giving Jack the pip.  He’s a bit frustrated in this photo because I am taking too many pictures!

 

Tree Tuesday

Our tree this week is a bit of a show-off, being laden with both flowers and fruit in December. The photos are from Nightjar and they were taken on December 2 of this year. I double checked that date because I could hardly believe it.

This is a strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo, no relationship to strawberries except for whatever was on the mind of the person who came up with the english common name), bearing flowers and fruits at the same time as is to be expected from a tree that blooms once a year and whose fruits take around 12 months to mature. Native to the Mediterranean region, the flowers feed the bees (the resulting honey has a unique taste) and the fruits feed the birds. I like to eat the fruits fresh, although only a handful at a time because they can become cloying fast. They also bruise very easily, so there is no point in picking more than what one can eat in that moment… unless the goal is to make the traditional fruit brandy or jam, but I like neither of those things. Anyway, I think the tree is very pretty and it seems to be relatively unknown outside of its native range, so I thought I would share it!

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

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Jack’s Walk

Morning at the park, ©voyager, all rights reserved

I know the perspective is wonky is this photo, but it was taken with my phone camera which I really don’t know how to use. Unfortunately, it’s the only camera I have right now because I’ve lost the charger for my real camera, making it more of a paperweight than a camera. The charger is a biggish thing that should be easy to find, but it’s hiding somewhere in the chaos that is my house right now. I’ve been scatter-brained lately so it could be anywhere and my short-term memory sucks at the best of times so it may be a few days before I find it, but find it I will. Predictably, it will be in the last place I look.

Tree Tuesday

Sent in by Nightjar, our trees this week tell a cautionary tale about the effects of climate change.

Mushroom Hunting Part 1...We went mushroom hunting last weekend and I decided to share some photos. I split them in two parts. The first doesn’t show mushrooms but rather our journey to find them. I knew that the wildfires last year had affected this area, but wasn’t sure if our favourite spot had burned or not. It did. I say green isn’t always hope because that green in the third photo is mostly acacias (Acacia longifolia) taking over the place. The future of these historical pine forests doesn’t look bright. We turned around and drove a bit south until we found a patch of forest that escaped the fires and didn’t look as dry and sterile. That’s when the mosquitoes attacked me, but there was also a lovely damselfly to make up for it.

Mushroom Hunting Part 2 will be posted tomorrow and it’s chock full of interesting photos of fungi found in the forest. Be sure to check it out. Thanks, Nightjar.

1. The road that no longer leads to mushrooms, ©Nightjar, all rights reserved

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Flowering Money Tree

This is one of my most precious bonsai trees – Crassula ovata. My mother has got the plant before I was born and she tells me it was already relatively big at that time. It is therefore safe to assume the tree is at least circa 50 years old. I started converting it to bonsai about twenty years ago. It continues to grow succesfully each year after pruning, and in case you wish to start growing bonsai yourself, this species is ideal for a beginner. It responds well to pruning, it grows quickly but not too much so, insects do not infect it much, and if you forget to water it from time to time, nothing happens.

I want to share a picture this time around, because this year something special happened – the tree flowers. It has done it once already a few years ago, but not as much as this year.

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

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

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

Tree Tuesday

 

This week we have an incredible tree from Down Under that’s full of big, bright, colourful flowers, courtesy of DavidinOz.

The first 3 are of a huge Bottle Brush tree, an Australian native that has been exported to other climes.Look closely in 2 & 3 and you will see bees had at work.

4 & 5 are of a different tree, but all the better to see why they are named …. Bottle Brush.

Cheers, David

©David Brindley, all rights reserved

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