Speak we now of famous trees, and Ray Charles

May 12, 2007

You want a memorial to Ray Charles, in your yard?  Ray Charles

American Forests will sell you a live oak tree propagated from the live oak Charles knew as a youth at his school, in St. Augustine, Florida.  It’s part of their “Famous Trees” program.

We looked at a lot of famous trees, including Austin, Texas’s Treaty Oak, and the Wye Oak in Maryland, for our son’s Eagle Scout project at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery, but utlimately found nothing exactly fitting.  A school could have quite a forest of trees from Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Dwight Eisenhower, Theodore Roosevelt, and now, Ray Charles.

Most trees are about $40.00.  Will your PTA finance your planting a grove of historic trees at your school?

Wye Oak, when it was alive, prior to 2002  The Wye Oak, in its glory (prior to June 2002).  Photo from Jeff Krueger’s Historic Trees Project, accessed May 12, 2007.

Quote of the moment: Lincoln on Labor

May 12, 2007

Abraham Lincoln, president-elect, on Feb. 23, 1861 - History Place

Labor is prior to, and independent of,capital.  Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could not have existed if labor had not first existed.  Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.

Lincoln in the Annual Message to Congress, December 3, 1861

The photograph shows Lincoln as president-elect; it is one of a series taken on February 23, 1861; from The History Place.

Willow death

May 12, 2007

Hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of trees have died in spring storms this year, from dramatically powerful wind bursts, tornadoes, or drowning or uprooting in floods. We lost only a small branch from our greatest red oak, but locally we lost hundred-year-old eastern red cedars, sizable live oaks, and dozens of hackberries (good riddance in most cases there!).

P. Z. Myers lost a massive branch from an even more massive weeping willow, up in Morris, Minnesota. In fear of the entire tree crashing down, with some sadness Myers had the tree removed. Willows are pretty trees in full health, but they are generally soft wood and a mess to have in an average yard. That the Myers willow grew so large is probably rare among willows. We should mourn such losses.

Trees are great things, providing us with shade and cooler microclimates in the summer, windbreaks, beauty in autumn and winter, sinks for our pollution, habitat for birds, etc., etc. I couldn’t help but think of Myers’ tree when I stumbled on this children’s book Regarding the Trees: A splintered saga rooted in secrets. The cover shows what must be a willow, under which a hundred people enjoy a grand party (click the image for a larger view from Amazon.com). Cover of Regarding the Trees

This book and others by the same author and illustrator, the Klises, offer fine mysteries for elementary level readers to solve. They look like fun.

Arbor Day Foundation logo with Jefferson Quote

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