Tree tales

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The latest Festival of the Trees — the monthly blog carnival I help coordinate with a couple of online friends — is one of the most entertaining and literary editions to date. I loved the Kenneth Pobo poem that Yvonne included, and her story about her grandfather’s elderberry wine is not to be missed. Check it out.

Fungi are arguably as essential to the composition and functioning of a forest as trees are. My mom’s nature column for July describes some of the most charismatic and tasty mushrooms found in our woods, as part of a portrait of Bill Russell, “The Mushroom Man.”

You know, one thing that really annoys me about suburban people who move to the country (one of many things, I admit) is their tendency to cut down all the trees around their house for fear they might someday fall on the roof. Now, if you live in a fire-dependent ecosystem such as a Ponderosa pine forest, keeping trees and brush away from your house is exactly the right thing to do, but otherwise — um, why exactly did you want to live in the woods in the first place?

High winds are by nature unpredictable, and no life is without risk. But it turns out that being surrounded by trees can actually save you from far worse damage if you take a direct hit from a large tornado, as Debby Kaspari and her husband discovered.

Although we lost a lot of near-irreplaceables and irreplaceables […] we got a lot back, too. We took every recovery as a miraculous gift.

This miracle was brought to us by our beloved trees, which were destroyed utterly. As a parting gift, they fell inward onto the roof, holding down what was underneath. This included a floor-to-ceiling bookcase at the center of the house. When the house fell, the bookcase dropped face forward; books stayed in place as they fell, the solid wood back of the bookcase adding its layer of protection. Although the wall behind the bookcase crumbled, roof and shingles fell straight down on top like a lid, and heavy oak limbs latched it down tight.

Be sure to click through and read the whole thing (along with Debby’s other posts about the tornado). The photo of her hugging her banjo the day after the tornado is worth several thousand words at least.

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