Friday, November 9, 2007

Fir, Pine, Spruce.. and who loves Pine cones besides me..

What a cute picture..
This little red squirrel has taken over our garden.
With an excellent supply of pine cones, bird food and flower seeds, why not?
Maxi, our cat is fascinated..the best entertainment he ever had.

These delicate looking little animals, weighing not much more than about 230 g, are in fact aggressively fearless, not at all reluctant to chase intruders many times their size.

I get a kick out of seeing these squirrels stamping their feet, flicking their tails, and scolding vociferously in what seems like a paroxysm of rage.
Anyone who has ventured near one of their food caches has been treated to this display.
At times they get so agitated that they nearly fall out of the tree in their anxiety to see the interloper off.
They can often be seen chasing away larger gray squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) who rarely put up a fight when confronted by these red terrors.

As feisty as red squirrels are predatory on others, they themselves are preyed upon. In our parks and gardens dogs, cats, but owls, hawks, weasels and foxes will also take these little Squirrels.

East Point Park: One morning I watched a red breasted Nuthutch looking for food.

Guildwood Park... Gill fungi growing on a pine cone - what a surprise - just shows how fungi can grow on different hosts.

Spruce cones are covering a large tree in Skagway, Alaska

looking up into a giant spruce ...and first snow in the woods

North America boasts 10 native species of fir, found from the Rocky Mountains westward. The wood of most western North American firs is inferior to that of pine or spruce but is used for lumber and pulpwood. Of the two fir species that occur in the eastern U.S. and Canada, the better known is the balsam fir (A. balsamea), a popular ornamental and Christmas tree.

Pines grow well in acid soils, some also on calcareous soils; most require good soil drainage and preferring sandy soils.Many pines are also very attractive ornamental trees planted in parks. A large number of dwarf cultivars have been selected, suitable for planting in smaller gardens. Some pines are also used for Christmas trees, and pine cones are also widely used for Christmas decorations. Pine trees are also noted for their pleasant smell.
Pine nuts...Some species have large seeds, called pine nuts, that are harvested and sold for cooking and baking.

Spruce is one of the most important woods for paper manufacturer, as it has long wood fibres which bind together to make strong paper. Spruces are cultivated over vast areas for this purpose.
Spruces are also popular ornamental trees in gardens and parks, admired for their evergreen, symmetrical narrow-conic growth habit. For the same reason, some (particularly Picea abies and P. omorika) are also extensively used as Christmas Tree.
The leaves and branches, or the essential oils, can be used to brew spruce beer. The tips from the needles can be used to make spruce tip syrup.
Native Americans in eastern North America
once used the thin, pliable roots of some species for weaving baskets and for sewing together pieces of birch bark for canoes.
See also Kiidk'yaas for an unusual golden Sitka Spruce sacred to the Haida people.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

no digging, no hiking, no climbing..

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.
Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.
The winds will blow their freshness into you,
and the storms their energy,
while cares will drop off like falling leaves.-
Perhaps next summer..
But I'll have a lot of time to read books and visit other blogs.
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