Jan 27, 2010

Outdoor Hour Challenge: "Old Man Winter" Tree

Inspired by Barb at "Handbook of Nature Study's Outdoor Hour Challenge" blog, and needing a real-live breath of fresh air after spending hours purging A's room (the Indoor Hour Challenge?), we grabbed the dog for our daily walk.
But instead of just walking and maybe commenting about the scenery, I "took a page" from the Barb's "Winter Tree Challenge #2" and brought our attention to three trees on the hill. In an old book I own called "Trees Every Child Should Know"   (read online ), the author points out that winter is an excellent time to study trees, allowing us to really see the structure--bones if you will--of a tree. But it also says that the tree is best observed isolated from others, allowing its full shape to be appreciated."
So we compared the neighbor's large specimen red maple tree to the giant oak that stands sentry on a hilltop in the pasture, a magnificent tree that must be one hundred years old.
It was very easy to see what the book talked about. First the proportions were so evidently different. The oak was wider than it was tall, and the maple the opposite. We used our thumbs, held at arms' length artist-style, to measure. Then we observed the general shapes. The maple was rounded, like most of us expect a tree to be shaped. But the oak was rectangular-ish. I didn't have my camera that day, but will try to get pics soon to share.
Later I will ask what direction the branches of each will follow and we will study the bark and twigs. Who needs leaves?
I'm enjoying discovering trees in winter more than I expected!

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