Saturday, March 31, 2007

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Overgrown Pasture

This land was a pasture 20 years ago. I have been hiking in this area for that long. Now rough leaf and Gray dogwood dominate the land.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

First to Leaf out

Buck brush is the first to leaf out. And one of the last to drop its leaves. 24-Mar-07

I noticed that Red bud was in bloom Monday 25_Mar-07

Monday, March 26, 2007

May Apples

Here are some photos of may apples popping up out of the ground.

They grow in clusters. I would tell my kids and the neighbour kids that these were leprechaun villages.

They are deadly if eaten.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Trees as Landmarks

I am finding what I enjoy, is watching trees and areas and returning to find them again. I hiked down an old trail I had been down countless times but cut off the trail to follow a gully in the loess soils to where the main gully ran north south. I looked across that gully and saw 2 trees that I wanted to find at a future date.

My plan was to come down the west side of the gully and find those trees and establish where I saw them from. I took a compass reading and described two trees in my notes. Many times the forest does not look the same when you come at it from a different direction. But with enough notes and photos I hope to establish where I had been and be able to find it at a later date.

Why am I doing this? I enjoy it and I like to take photos of the forest from the same location at different times of the year.

The photo above is the view I saw across the steep gully. The arrow on the left is the largest tree down the slope which seems to be a white oak in the 30" dia. range. The arrow on the right is Northeast of the white oak and is located along the opposite edge of the gully that I was looking across. There is a broken top with branches growing off the north side of the stem and continuing to grow up.

My plan is for these 2 trees to point the way to where I am standing when I took the photo.

I will see how well I can remember from my notes the next time I go back into the woods.

With a network of landmark trees, I plan to use them as a reference to explore different parts of the woods.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Buds Enlarge with Spring Rains

Here is a photo of buds breaking through their seed coat as the rains of spring start a new years growth.

Just as rain starts the new years growth. So a fresh word from God will cause us to respond with new energy. Look for God's word throughout the day. God will revive.

Hosea 6:3
"So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD His going forth is as certain as the dawn;And He will come to us like the rain,Like the spring rain watering the earth."

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Nothern Red Oak 233 points

I found a large Northern Red oak tree after I climbed up a steep gully.

It measured:
123" in circumference
93' tall
and had an average canopy of 69 feet.

This totalled 233 points

1 Corinthians 1:18
"For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."

Monday, March 19, 2007

Loess Gullies

As my dog and I entered the woods we were greeted by a Cardinal. This type of greeting has happened many times.

Making our way further in we encountered steep gullies. These loess soils are susceptible to erosion because of build up of soil and there are no rocks below. I hiked through this area but at times it presents a problem of how to cross a gully.

I made it up the steep bank by grabbing exposed roots and pulling myself up. I would kick my feet in the soil and make it to the next exposed root. My dog Molly had trouble getting up but the third attempt she made it. At another time I had to reach over the edge and grab her legs and pull her up.

The gullies were not so bad once I attacked them with an attitude getting to the top.

What is it that keeps us from gaining the victory in Jesus. Is it the obstacles that are before us or the attitude that we can't do it? I think we can do what God is asking us to do if we will put our trust in Jesus. Trusting in Jesus is not based on a lack of obstacles. It is realizing the goodness and greatness of God to conquer any problem. God will make a way where there is no way.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Compass Course

Recording my compass course through the wood. I can't envision many steps ahead, because I can't see that far. And this is before spring growth. I know the general direction I am going because I've got to get back to the car. But the specifics I don't know.

It is the same with the Lord directing us. We know we are to make disciples of Jesus. But how.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Forest Density Contrast

Here are a couple of photos in the same Missouri river bottom land area. The first one is just off the Missouri river. It shows the common tangle of woods.

The second one shows the cottonwood trees growing up from an abandoned park area just 200 feet away from the river.

Insect invasions are cyclical and are influence by various elements, such as weather.

A forest that is growing in a healthy manner will usually have less problems with insect pests. A forest that is stagnant because of over stalking or mature trees that have reached their growth potential will be more susceptibility to insect invasion.

Forests susceptibility to insect invasion reminds me of my need for strength from Jesus. I look to Jesus to fill me with His Spirit on a daily basis. I know that I am nothing without Him. My growth and vitality are only sustained as I remain close to Jesus. Thank you Jesus for your strength.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


When I think of Common Persimmon Diospyros virginiana (Another name for it is possomwood) I think of blocky bark. No other bark resembles this in northern Missouri. I usually find the tree alone not with no other persimmons nearby. When I am walking in the woods it is a surprise to come upon one.

The fruit is edible if you catch it just at the right time in the Autumn. Otherwise its sour. 1 to 1 1/2” in dia. And is turns orange and wrinkled when ripe. (photo of the fruit)

mentioned it in 1539 and Jan de Laet in 1558. Captain John Smith near Jamestown said that it was awful if you don't catch the fruit at the right time.

Buds are black with 2 scales. Leaves egg shaped with a stem of about 1 inch. But the bark is the IDer on this one.

It grows up to 60' tall in the open or 30' with a shorter trunk and broad crown is a more normal size.

Osage Indians of Missouri made a bread that tasted similar to ginger bread. Taking the pulp of the fruit and mixing it with cornmeal.

The wood of the tree is similar to ebony. It is from the ebony family. The wood is hard and heavy.

Sapwood is creamy white. Commercial use of this wood comes from the sap wood. When the wood has been warn it polishes to a smooth surface. Crafters don't have much access to the wood because the lumber is scarce.

Where I have been finding it is in the Missouri river bottom lands where it grows tall and straight. It will invade pastures and abandoned fields.

Treenotes had a good article on this tree.

I knew where another Persimmon tree was and was hiking there at lunch. I saw I wasn't going to have enough time to get back to it so I was following a gully and came across this one.

Though life may be bitter at times,
The Lord brings sweetness to my soul.

The wind may be cold,
and the driving rain bitter,
But Oh how sweet it is to rest in the Lord.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Revisit Tree with Vines

I started my Saturday walk at 7:30 AM with the temperature at 21 degrees. A little bit of sun was showing through the clouds to the east. The were some flurries. Before I went I brushed a little bit of snow off the car windshield for my wife.

Followed the normal trail across the creek I saw a hop hornbeam growing out of the root base of Northern Red oak I took a photo of that.

The bud scales are not finely grooved. they are rounded. This threw me off because that is what a hop hornbeam should have. Hop hornbeam has false end buds. And they were off to the side a little.

The next photo of a tree is taken with red inner bark and it looks like a Black cherry. From the northern Red oak where I saw the Hop hornbeam it is 24 degrees and about 50’ to the red bark tree.

Took a photo of a brush that showed evidence of a vine that squeezed it to grow in a

I cut back to the tree that has all the vines growing on it. I wrote about this tree in a previous post. It has a compound leaf tree because I see the leaflet stem still on the twigs at the top of the tree.

The leaf stem is hard to see but click on the photo to enlarge and look at the top of the tree.

Then I came upon a bent over Redbud (took 3 photos) . The cracked stem is characteristic of this happening. Branches are again growing upward from the bent over stem.

Walking up a narrow ridge I took a photo (looking back) of the way the erosion has eaten the ground away.

I came upon some brush which was all mangled when something rubbed up against it but
it was too high for a deer. I don’t see any branch that fell against the brush and caused it. Another enigma.

Coming over the top of the hill and going on down the east side there is a predominance of dominate trees and there is not the brush that is prevalent on the west side.

Vertical bark pattern is interesting of this tree and it is a bur oak. The tree behind that is a white oak and the photo of the leaves on the ground show it is a white oak.

I hiked to the bottom over a couple of gullies and back up. On this side of the ridge I hear a bird chirping in the snow falling. I don’t remember hearing birds earlier today.

The closer of those 2 trees (center of the photo in the background) is a bur oak and the one further away is a Chinquapin.

On the way back we have blue sky. It was snowing a little the whole time I was in the
woods but on the way back the sky has broken up and the snow has stopped. Nothing

Again, hiking in the woods allows my heart to feast on the goodness of God. "How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!" Romans 11:33