Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A recent event featuring Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, was held in Atlanta. I found his speech very interesting. I realize that places like The Cabin Path are quickly becoming a thing of the past, and it makes me more grateful for having lived here for over 50 years.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Snow at The Cabin Path......

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

American Beech Tree
Scientific name: Fagus grandifolia
Pronunciation: FAY-gus gran-dih-FOLE-ee-uh
Common name(s): American Beech
Family: Fagaceae
Origin: native to North America

In winter, identifying trees can be more of a challenge than in spring, summer, or fall. There are two main types of trees, Evergreens and Deciduous. The Evergreens include the pines and cedars. Most have needle like leaves that stay green on trees throughout the winter. The wood of evergreen trees is softer, and it is easier to use for building materials. Deciduous trees are the hardwoods. They have broader leaves that usually fall in autumn. The wood of the Beech is almost white and is used most often in toys, cookware, furniture, and for barrels that age beer. The tree is very resistant to decay under water, so it was used to make water wheels in Colonial times. The wood is also used for tool handles, chairs, cuttings boards, and charcoal.

There are some deciduous trees that do not shed their leaves in the fall. One such tree is the Beech. In the fall, the Beech leaves turn bronze but weather to a light tan color (top pic). Some leaves remain until late into the winter if they are not blown off by the wind. The new foliage will push the crisp older leaves off in spring, but until spring, they are easily identified among the bare branches of winter.

I enjoy the Beech trees here at The Cabin Path. They are easy for workshop groups to identify in every season. I've never seen the Quaking Aspens out west, but I imagine the Beech trees here are very similar. In winter, when the wind blows, the Beech leaves shake in the wind and sound like raindrops.

The bark of the Beech is thin and smooth, and it looks like elephant skin. Our older trees have carvings or arborglyphs of hearts and initials. Many old Beech trees are living recordings of events, mapping, and even poetry! We have arborglyphs here at The Cabin Path...including some of my early art work!