Tag Archives: Trees

Sensitive trees for insensitive man

even, dense and old stand of beech trees (Fagu...

even, dense and old stand of beech trees (Fagus sylvatica) prepared to be regenerated (watch the young trees underneath the old ones) in the Brussels part of the Sonian Forest (Forêt de Soignes – Zoniënwoud) in Belgium (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For years already, I claim we should treat plants and animals as subjects but also as living beings created by the Divine Creator, who has given them for our use but not mis-use or maltreatment. I always claimed they too have feelings and ways of communicating. In the 1970ies I followed many scientists who tried to proof and did proof how plants also have feelings and communicate with each other.

Though at regular times people seem to be reminded of it. Because too often man forgets that he is not alone having feelings and able to communicate with others of their own sort properly.

It is long known to biologists that trees in the forest are social beings. They can count, learn and remember; nurse sick neighbours; warn each other of danger by sending electrical signals across a fungal network known as the “Wood Wide Web”; and, for reasons unknown, keep the ancient stumps of long-felled companions alive for centuries by feeding them a sugar solution through their roots.

The German Peter Wohlleben studied forestry and spent over twenty years as a civil servant in the forestry commission. For him trees are his life and for that reason he also gave up his job by the state forestry because he wanted to put his ideas of ecology into practice. He now runs an environmentally friendly municipal piece of woodland in the village of Huemmel, holds lectures and seminars and has written books on subjects pertaining to woodlands and nature protection so those interested can accompany him through the forests of his homeland and the whole world.

The Hidden Life of Trees describes how trees are like human families. We as human beings only think of ourselves being able to make a nice family, though many make a mess of it, and when watching Danish television series I even wonder if there are normal Danish people walking around in the North, who can have a normal family life. In the series we come to see they all seem to be unfaithful.
In nature we see better build ups. Tree parents living together with their children, communicating with them, and supporting them as they grow, sharing nutrients with those who are sick or struggling, and even warning each other of impending dangers. With their newfound understanding of the delightfully complex life of trees, readers will never be able to look at a walk.
English: The deep dark forest One of the track...

The deep dark forest One of the tracks through Pantmaenog Forest. There are prehistoric tumuli marked on the map here but they are difficult to find among the dense conifers. The trees here were planted after Bellstone quarry closed in 1908 and some of the old quarry workings are also concealed by the forest: human beings making their mark on the landscape in a variety of ways. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since it first topped best-seller lists last year, Mr. Wohlleben has been spending more time on the media trail and less on the forest variety, making the case for a popular reimagination of trees, which, he says, contemporary society tends to look at as “organic robots” designed to produce oxygen and wood.

Though duly impressed with Mr. Wohlleben’s ability to capture the public’s attention, some German biologists question his use of words, like “talk” rather than the more standard “communicate,” to describe what goes on between trees in the forest. But no matter how you want to call that communication we should come to understand that it is really communicating, no matter if you want to call it talking or something else.
It is also different with human beings who think they communicate and are on social media, thinking they have so many friends, but in reality do not have many friends nor comrades and do not really have any real communication going on between all those people. We did not mind to run around in that what God had created us and did not have to hide anything for others, always able to keep faithful to the one we loved and where we choose for. But to day they want to shine and glitter in fashion clothes but are fast to take those cloths of in the hidden to do things we would have found inappropriate when there was not a strong connection with each other. But to day they seem to change of girl like they change of underpants, and often there is not much conversation going on and lots of time it is just a one night stand with no further communication at all. They have become worse than animals. (Are am I looking at it too pessimistic?)
Whilst I do believe those trees have much more communication going on than their human counterparts who are not afraid to kill more and more of those air-cleaners, not seeing that they are polluting more and more their own environment, making it poorer and poorer. Even those Germans who are reputed to have a special relationship with the forest are a kind of a cliché and it can well be that those Germans do not love their forest more than Swedes or Norwegians or Finns.
When I lived and worked in Germany, for relaxation I went into the woods around Köln and went swimming in open air. Then I could encounter many like minded nature lovers who wanted to be one with it and, like me searched for ways to respect it and to make properly use of feeding us in a clean and appropriate way. No chemicals, no additives, all pure whole grain and pure natural food.

Young musicians living in a shared community in Amsterdam.

Though when I look at how enthusiast we where in the 196070ies and had so many dreams, being called ‘flower power‘ people, many not understanding our idea of sharing and love and making a collective community, kibbutz or commune, many of them have gone far away from their idealism and the last few months we see many things we fought for, being undone in a very short time.

Though might we see somewhere some light shining in the dark, perhaps getting back some younger ones again being interested in nature and how we should behave in it? Can it be that there are again seeds planted for people willing to reconsider our human behaviour in the big universe?
For sure it is high time that people are going to understand the need of forests and green spaces around our busy roads and living estates. Yesterday it was again on the news that in the Kempen 122 ha of woods has to be offered for sand-winning, as if it is nothing. Man also thinks it is alright to artificially space out trees, but forget that shall not give the same intensification as wooded areas. The plantation forests that make up most of West Europe’s woods ensure that trees get more sunlight and grow faster. But, naturalists say, creating too much space between trees can disconnect them from their networks, stymieing some of their inborn resilience mechanisms.

Intrigued, Mr. Wohlleben began investigating alternate approaches to forestry. Visiting a handful of private forests in Switzerland and Germany, he was impressed.

“They had really thick, old trees,”

he said.

“They treated their forest much more lovingly, and the wood they produced was more valuable. In one forest, they said, when they wanted to buy a car, they cut two trees. For us, at the time, two trees would buy you a pizza.”

But where are all those very thick trees gone, I wonder. In Belgium some years ago you could find also many places where you could enjoy the view of masterly or kingly majestic trees. The last two years , in the region where I live now (Leefdaal, Flemish Brabant), we have seen hundreds of trees being cut and not replaced.

English: Deep in the forest something stirred ...

Deep in the forest something stirred Go Ape, a series of aerial walkways, swings and zip slides in the forestry land north of Aberfoyle. Note – human beings included for a sense of scale. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mr Wohlleben had also difficulties with the ministry of forestry but it turned out that Mr. Wohlleben had won over the forest’s municipal owners. 10 years ago, the municipality took a chance. It ended its contract with the state forestry administration, and hired Mr. Wohlleben directly. He brought in horses, eliminated insecticides and began experimenting with letting the woods grow wilder. Within two years, the forest went from loss to profit, in part by eliminating expensive machinery and chemicals.

We should enjoy those trees going to grow in all sorts of shapes, creating all sorts of designs in the air. When we look at ourselves, we should see that we also do not have a life going in straight lines. We also not all grow up straight. Why should trees have to grow up in those particular straight lines indicated by people in the office. The same as the right 25 cm cucumbers, the bananas with the drawn out moon shape, the tomatoes and apples which may not be too big or flat… everything should be according to the book and numbers indicated,  … but life is not according the book of man … but should be according the Book of life …. with not everything exactly the same, and not always according to the books of man….
When is man going to see we should come back to being close to nature and to be part of nature again? And when is he going to understand we do need much more green around us … to have a colourful life full of health and joy?
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Please also find to read:

  1. World Agenda for Sustainability
  2. Welfare state and Poverty in Flanders #1 Up to 21st century
  3. 2nd Half 20th Century Generations pressure to achieve

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Filed under Ecological affairs, History, Lifestyle, Nature, Welfare matters, World affairs

Spring Pools


These pools that, though in forests, still reflect
The total sky almost without defect,
And like the flowers beside them, chill and shiver,
Will like the flowers beside them soon be gone,
And yet not out by any brook or river,
But up by roots to bring dark foliage on.The trees that have it in their pent-up buds
To darken nature and be summer woods –
Let them think twice before they use their powers
To blot out and drink up and sweep away
These flowery waters and these watery flowers
From snow that melted only yesterday.
– Robert Frost

Robert Frost, 1913.

Robert Frost, 1913. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Monday April 11

Magnolia tree

Magnolia tree (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These photographs could have been taken where our Christadelphian ecclesia is based. Though when we walk around through the fields we can see everywhere signs that it will not take long before more green and colour shall come around. As a king the magnolia tree brightens already the air and gives majesty to the sky..

The View From the Back Door

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After the Winter

Some day, when trees have shed their leaves
And against the morning’s white
The shivering birds beneath the eaves
Have sheltered for the night,
We’ll turn our faces southward, love,
Toward the summer isle
Where bamboos spire the shafted grove
And wide-mouthed orchids smile.

And we will seek the quiet hill
Where towers the cotton tree,
And leaps the laughing crystal rill,
And works the droning bee.
And we will build a cottage there
Beside an open glade,
With black-ribbed blue-bells blowing near,
And ferns that never fade.

Claude McKay

English: Photo of the poet, novelist and short...

Photo of the poet, novelist and short story writer Claude McKay (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Preceding:

Get the lenses out to getting closer again

Happy First Day of Spring: Spring Cleaning!

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Picturing Paradise Lost

Fr. Ted's Blog

Blessed meadow,

trees

and flowers

planted by God,

O sweetness of Paradise:

Let your leaves, like eyes, shed tears on my behalf,

For I am naked and a stranger to God’s glory.

(Hymn from Lenten Matins)

“Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.”  (Revelations 21:3-4)

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Nature’s Watercolor Painting

Virginia Views

Photo by Dor Photo by Dor

Sometimes there are surprises hidden in my camera.

This pastel painting magically appeared.

It is this afternoon’s Virginia View from my deck

at the end of a gentle rain.

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Autumn is in the land

Last weekend there was a huge storm in a glass of water. Whilst in Paris several people found an end to their life by terrorist actions in Europe others found an end to their life by the season which reminds many of death.

Storm came over Europe and let us feel again why this season is called Autumn. Still today it is warmer than usual but we have the rain and wind to accompany us and even break our umbrellas. But it does not break our souls, for the warm glue of the changing colours overpowers us.

Autumn fields, Leefdaal, Flemish Brabant, Belgium, European Union

Autumn fields, Leefdaal, Flemish Brabant, Belgium, European Union

Considered the last month of autumn it looks like only now the season got from the ground swept up by the first heavy winds.
Some may never been a fan of this November or Autumn month. For lots of people November is the month of the dead, and used allusively with reference to the short, damp, cold, or foggy days regarded as characteristic of the northern hemisphere. For those fearing the cold winds of Canada and the warm breezes of the South fighting with each other, around the Great Lakes, may find themselves left in such misery. For those who are having migraines regularly they very well know when it is going to storm or when snow is going to come. That is not a very pleasant feeling and if one has to work it is a very (damn) nuisance.

We have entered a season which may be even more unique than Spring Season. We also may see more different shades of colours than in Spring.

It should not make us sad but should get us up onto our feet, going out to show the winds that we are stronger than they. Though I do agree I am not an hero to go out in the bad weather, and was it not for the dog, I perhaps waited sometimes a bit longer before having a stroll.

I am not a good photographer, so for looking at nice photos I would recommend to go and look at Cindy Knoke and Chae H. Bae their site and some other photographic WordPress sites. But this is the time I use my eyes to linger and to bring a fantasy world to life. No wonder so many writers found enough inspiration in this season and for crime or who-dun-it authors this season is a gold mine.

Aurora borealis by permus by Chae H. Bae

After the Summer holiday most people are back at work and the retired folks who took their Summer vacation at a sunny place somewhere further from home, it is time now to sit at home cosy warm and enjoying some music, film or documentary or entertaining program on television. Hopefully they also will take some time to enjoy the biggest life show on earth. The ever changing colours the big kaleidoscope of nature world.

Behind the glorious red, yellow and orange of the seasons’ leaves many may find a message of death, but often they forget it is all a message of an abundant life where water was taken from deep under the ground and the warmth of the sun was enjoyed and had caressing the tree-trunk, making it grow and glow.

Trees are telling us after all that sun and pleasure it is time to meditate on what went on and on where to go. They are calling to come to a stand still in our rushing world which does not seem to have much space for the wonders of nature. This time the red and yellow are the screaming colours which ask for attention whilst the wind shouts it out load. We can’t ignore the call of our surrounding nature.

At certain places where there are still enough trees in Europe, the elk makes sure that we can hear it is time to find a renewal of intimacy. It is time to come closer to each other again. Be it by the fireplace or by some extra light in the darkness of this season.

Winter is coming. More and more older people are running away from it and going to spend their Wintertime in the South of Europe. But the coldest season of the year does not frighten many youngsters who love to go skying or snowboarding. For many the “old man wrapped in cloak” may bring an invitation to go outdoors again after all the storms and heavy rain of the Autumn months. After that season that looks forward to barrenness and bleakness, the white eiderdown will attract many to go out again to brave the cold.

At moments this season may also be a moment to be in tears for seeing how certain North Americans boast so much they killed a huge bull elk.

A new video with a recent elk hunt in Utah shows how hard work this work may be and how it pays off for some.

From the video maker:

“After years and years of trying, plenty of opportunities and hundreds of miles hiked, I was finally able to fill my over the counter, general season, archery elk tag. This has proven to be one of the most challenging hunts I have ever been on. He is my biggest bull to date by a country mile and I couldn’t be happier with him. Not a lot of action in this video, it has mostly my reaction to the incredible situation I found myself in. All Kuiu, all the time.” {Video: Bowhunting for Bull Elk in Utah}

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elk-18

Dan Agnew killed a bull in Columbia Co., Wash., after making an impressive 250-yard shot

I agree to be able to have enough winter-meals prepared, for man living in this world, we need hunters and we have to agree some may be hunted. And meat from animals living in the wild always taste better than from farm-animals. As long as those people who want elk antlers to hang on a wall, hunt respectfully for those forest kings it is acceptable and will keep some balance in the forest as well.

We are so closed in, that those animals able to run in the wild, may remind us what man has sacrificed for more comfort and material gadgets they do not always need. So many people have become a slave of their materialism they even do not notice it any more. Now the gusty winds are calling them to remind them that there is life there outside they are missing.

The swaying trees whistle and tell the stories of the past Summer but also of the things to come, calling animals to shelter for the coming Winter.

 

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Preceding articles:

Looking at Autumn

Abscission

Autumn Verses

A Virginia Autumn

The Elk are Bugling~

An Autumn Ramble

You’re Lighter Than Air~

Family happiness and little things we do

Your position about materialistic desires having conquered the world

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Further reading

  1. A Lovely Day Trip
  2. Moose
  3. the elk
  4. RMEF Tops $1 Billion in Total Value of All-Time Conservation Efforts
  5. More on the Bob Marshall Wilderness Trip
  6. A Dozen Elk at Crystal Mountain, WA
  7. Different Types of Camping – What is your Preferred Style?
  8. [Build an Ecosystem] Rain Gardens
  9. Elk Cranberry and Cheddar Meatballs
  10. Video: Bowhunting for Bull Elk in Utah
  11. Video: Bowhunting for Big Colorado Bull Elk
  12. The Top 40 Typical and Non-Typical Elk Records
  13. Great Smoky Mountains
  14. Elk Crossing
  15. Elk Camp – What’s a Beta mom to do?
  16. Bits and Bobbs, of a beautiful Autumn
  17. Singing Round 203 – November
  18. Autumn Farm Scene
  19. Macro Photography : fallen leaves by ShinichiSaeki
  20. New on 500px : Light on the Grove by gjim9beam by gjim9beam
  21. New on 500px : Mating Call by lanremakele by lanremakele
  22. New on 500px : Fall colors by jfzhang by jfzhang
  23. New on 500px : Sun Valley by MAPhoto
  24. New on 500px : Into the unknown by SelahattinNizamPhotography by SelahattinNizamPhotography
  25. New on 500px : Autumn by Parkddoven
  26. New on 500px : Autumn roads by argiriouvasiliki by argiriouvasiliki
  27. New on 500px : Autumn by picspassion by picspassion
  28. Basildon Park
  29. autumn dusk
  30. Autumn leaves have no hiding place from me and my assistant
  31. Autumn Poems and Songs for Young Children
  32. Willow moon
  33. Autumn Reflections – Day 19
  34. One day of November
  35. Winter Squash and Apple Soup
  36. Turkey Vultures?
  37. Flowers of autumn
  38. Oak Grove in Autumn

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Filed under Being and Feeling, Ecological affairs, Nature, Video

Looking at Autumn

In Belgium the chrysanthemums are again taking over the markets as if they want to be a floor carpet covering the whole city. They are eagerly waiting for a buyer to be taken to the place which is mostly empty for the rest of the year, but now so many people are running in each-others way. People can’t go deep enough in the pocket, to make sure they shall not have to feel guilty having forgotten the deceased, and the stallholders make good use of that guilty conscience.

English: Autumn Colours

Autumn Colours (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Eagle and child inkling shows with her photograph on Second City that those coloured flowers also may be used in an other way than only decorating the tombstones. The Creator has not given the flowers for the dead, because they are nothing with it, but for the living. And even when nature seems to die, it does not die. this month may be the beginning of ‘killing sounds’, with hurling storms, falling trees, water coming too high, endangering many (like in the other ‘in-between season’ Spring). In many countries this is the marvellous time for photographers wanting to capture the miracles of nature and its wonderful colours.

Our European mountains can enchant many.

There is something in the mountains which holds people there

knows also Sharon Wray who grew up in rural England and developed a love of the outdoors early on. She now lives in the Alps full time, and teaches in a primary school in Geneva. She is not in a bad place to ponder and contemplate the world around her, observing what makes people think and how people choose to live their lives. In those mountains you might say people can feel closer to the Creator and you have to do a big effort not to be taken or to be ‘handcuffed’ by the magic of the Creation.

In Friday thought #10 Beautiful Autumn she not only knows to get us with her words but also with her photographic eye.

P1050231

An amateur snap which proofs with, no photoshop, no colour enhancement, just the pure beauty of nature at its best, that each human eye which wants to open their eyes can capture the beauty of this world. – Photo by Sharon Wray from her article: Friday thought #10 Beautiful Autumn

After the Summer peak season her world perhaps gets a new fresh breath and the pages perhaps look turned over to a new chapter where the quietness has returned. Most people are now back at work and can not go into the mountains any more until their Winter holiday. The tourist places can throw away the commercialism with the skimmer. It can leave the locals again with their little secrets in their own personal paradise, deserted and beautiful.

But those who are not able to travel can also find stunning colours in the trees, the leaves and the heather, when they open their eyes and go outdoors in their own surroundings, taking fresh air.

Those who are clustered to their wheelchair, having such a physical condition that they can not go outdoors, could still find ways to enjoy the changing light and the changing colours out of the window.

Plonking yourself in front of Netflix or the x-factor becomes a typical thing to do when it’s raining outside, but it really doesn’t bring much positivity into our lives.

When our body does not want to do what we would love it to do, it does not mean we have to grunt in this season. Nobody has something to an old grumpy bear. With more people staying indoors, because they find it to wet outdoors, it is a good occasion to be more social active.

loves the interaction you can have by following television shows, such as following comments on Twitter whilst watching and discussing with friends. She writes:

Reading doesn’t have to be an antisocial activity either. With so many websites and apps available now to discuss books and reading, it is a more social way to spend those long cold nights that you may have realised. Joining a book club does not mean leaving the house; you can join a global book club by using an app such as Goodreads that allows you to discuss and review books from the comfort of your own home.{14 Creative Things To Do Indoors This Autumn}

We can not postpone it. In the northern hemisphere we see Summer heading off over the horizon, occasionally sneaking back to give us that last afternoon or two of warm sunshine.

In the meantime the cold sneaks in abruptly, whilst we were busy waving to summer, and we are left feeling rather miserable. Last night we lit the fire for the first time since last winter. That’s it now. No going back. {The First Days Of Autumn}

Why should we consider this the time

to say goodbye to the colours of summer and fall in love with wintery tones all over again. {The First Days Of Autumn}

Is this world not already too grey? Grey is everywhere right now. We would advice you to break the greyness by daring to go for more colour. Why not bright red? but some may consider that perhaps too stereotypical, red hues/berries/conkers/acorn associations.

Let us look forward to luscious blooms that come in a range of striking hues (that will never wilt or die). Perhaps you can look at Cosying up for Autumn to get some ideas. For some a Little Trip to the Dark Side may give some inspiration, though for us it is a little bit to dark. Why not brighten it up more?

For those who live in the city their thoughts could go with try to see the fun of the rain falling on the coble stones. when our heads go backwards in the morning, why not say loud “Good morning” and see the clouds between the houses or between the few trees fighting for their life in the city, while the fumes of the cars stay low by the ground.

As summer gives way to fall, and fall gives way to winter, we like so many others and Harvest & Home are moving the outside plants into the greenhouse before the first freeze.

The air is crisp and there’s no way to escape the cool wind blowing on my face. The plants have lost their vibrancy with spiders starting to take up residence between the leaves. The statues tell of a time long forgotten, as they too give way to the natural elements. {Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Camera Lens}

Let us not forget:

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. {Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Camera Lens}

and take the plants which would not be able to survive the winter-cold in a warmer place. And let us see the creativity and lust for work of the spider, having magical cobwebs by the little drops of mist clinging on it. Let us see the beauty and a story to be told in those cobwebs and statues that have clearly seen better days.

English: Autumn colours at Levens Park

Autumn colours at Levens Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Additional literature:

  1. Autumn traditions for 2014 – 1: Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet
  2. Autumn traditions for 2014 – 2 Summersend and mansend
  3. Autumn traditions for 2014 – 3 Black Mass, Horror spectacles and pure puritans
  4. Autumn traditions for 2014 – 4 Blasphemy and ridiculing faith in God
  5. All Saints’ Day
  6. All Soul’s Day
  7. Being fit to take care of a garden
  8. When the wind blows hard on a tree
  9. What happens when we die?
  10. Dead and after

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Further reading

  1. Autumn: third season of the year, when crops and fruits are gathered and leaves fall, in the northern hemisphere from September to November and in the southern hemisphere from March to May
  2. Autumn Harvest for Wildlife and Humans
  3. Autumn Splendour
  4. Autumn Glory; Far from Being Drab and Dull, Autumn Should Be a Season of…
  5. Get Some Autumn Colour; as Summer Flowers Fade, Hannah Stephenson Suggests…
  6. Let Those Autumn Colours Set Your Garden Ablaze with Reds and Gold
  7. Let Autumn Colours Set Your Garden Ablaze
  8. Brighten Up the Autumn
  9. Flowers, the typically showy reproductive organs of angiosperms (flowering plants)
  10. Flowers of the quarter-million species of angiosperms
  11. Flowers for All Occasions
  12. Flowers, like seeds, leaves, and stems, have contributed to human cookery
  13. Conscience and Moral Development
  14. When Conscience Meddles with Ethics
  15. Flowers for Our Dead
  16. Dried Flowers an Easy Way to Capture Nature’s Beauty
  17. Photos from the Pumpkin Patch

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  • The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (givemeliberty01.com)
    In the bosom of one of those spacious coves which indent the eastern shore of the Hudson, at that broad expansion of the river denominated by the ancient Dutch navigators the Tappan Zee, and where they always prudently shortened sail and implored the protection of Saint Nicholas, there lies a small market town which is generally known by the name of Saint Nicholas
  • The Many Priceless Gifts With Gardening, and a First Frost (growingwithplants.com)
    Last night we ‘almost’ had our first killing frost. We gardeners know the routine – rushing home barely enough time to haul in everything that is frost tender, throwing sheets over dahlias (for some vain reason – as if we need any more!), or packing in begonias, citrus and succulents on the porches so dense that one can’t even get to the dog food or to the recycling bins.
  • The dark, ripe smell of a summer’s end (newstatesman.com)
    Autumn came early this year, the pavements of our corner on Schwarzbacher Straße and Storkwinkel littered with dry leaves and falls of horse chestnut, Virginia creeper and barberry lighting the fence lines with cool flames of crimson and mottled gold. This is the season when the Berlin suburbs come into their own, the usual tidiness softened by drift and straggle, the manicured lawns vanishing under the damp browns and russets of sumac and Turkey oak. I have never understood why so many gardeners favour straight lines and narrow, regulated borders; perhaps they think wildness could work only in a larger space. Whatever the reason, this predilection for a strict and entirely human order makes their gardens almost impossible to enjoy in summer. That is the season for moving around the city by S-Bahn, gazing out into the accidental green spaces where the plant life is free to run riot between stations.
  • The 10 Creepiest Urban Graveyards in the Country (hotpads.com)
    Some of a city’s most interesting sites are often its graveyards. This Halloween, let the ghosts guide you through forgotten or quirky corners of local urban history. Many offer special tours around this time of year, but they’re worth exploring anytime. Here are a few standouts nationwide.
  • More going to Europe’s festive markets (southwalesargus.co.uk)
    The history of Christmas markets dates back to the late middle ages and originates from the German speaking part of Europe.The Bautzen market, in Saxony, is thought to be one of the oldest recorded, dating back to 1384.The Dresden Christmas market, first held in 1434, remains popular to this day, still attracting in the region of two million visitors a year and featuring more than 60 stalls.

    In many German towns the Christian festival of Advent often coincides with the opening of the Christmas market or ‘Weihnachtsmarkt’.

  • Nature, Pixelated – Issue 17: Big Bangs (m.nautil.us)
    It is winter in upstate New York, on a morning so cold the ground squeaks loudly underfoot as sharp-finned ice crystals rub together. The trees look like gloved hands, fingers frozen open. Something lurches from side to side up the trunk of an old sycamore—a nut-hatch climbing in zigzags, on the prowl for hibernating insects. A crow veers overhead, then lands. As snow flurries begin, it leaps into the air, wings aslant, catching the flakes to drink. Or maybe just for fun, since crows can be mighty playful.

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