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Vanishing Acts: Kentucky Trees of Concern – Black Walnut

black walnut. leavesjpg

I owe my love for collecting wild edibles in part to my family's tradition for riding down country roads in autumn  looking for the tale-tell pockmarked stains of black walnut on the payment. We’d park on the side of the road, hop out of the car, carrying buckets and wearing gloves, since the outer hulls will badly stain hands.  We’d gather the … [Read more]

Winds of Change: Isaac’s Café Specials, April 11-15, 2016

Chef Salad Special 4-11-16

As I was listening to the wind howl outside my window last night, it made me think about the phrase, “Winds of Change”. Change can sometimes be scary. The fear of the unknown, the uncertainty of what might be blowing our way can often have us hiding from the very thing that will take us to new understanding of not only ourselves but of our … [Read more]

Tales from the Bent Twig Trail: The Flora Rewards of Restoration

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Restorations of natural areas provides many rewards. Invasive species, such as winter creeper, Euonymus fortunei, and various species of exotic honeysuckle Lonicera sp. take their toll on the health and natural diversity of a landscape by crowding out native species: species that have complex ecological relationships that evolved over eons. But … [Read more]

Vanishing Acts: Bristlecone Pine

Bristlecone pine growing in the White Mountains of AZ  (photo by USDA)

If “honor your elders” is a phrase that resonates with you, then the bristlecone pine tree, pinus longaeva, deserves great honor indeed. There are a number of bristlecone pine trees that have been aged at well over 4000 years, and several that are thought to be more than 5000 years old. That makes this tree the longest-lived life form on our planet … [Read more]

Vanishing Acts: Kentucky Trees of Concern – Ash Tree

Photo Credit: David L. Roberts, Ph.D. Senior Academic Specialist
Michigan State University Extension

The ash tree, Fraxinus,  is native to eastern North America. Young trees are pyramidal in shape, gradually maturing to a more rounded but usually irregular crown. Gray bark develops distinctive diamond-shaped ridging on mature trees. Ash is a valuable timber tree. Its wood is commercially used for a variety of products including tool handles, oars, … [Read more]

Tales from the Bent Twig Trail: Bloodroot Unearthed

Bloodroot Blooming

When we take the time to learn  the stories hidden in plants, we find tales of ecology, mythology, history, and mystery. We find stories that root us to the land; stories that help us feel connected to the earth. Last week I shared an ecological story hidden in the relationship between bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis and ants. In this post … [Read more]