Tree Soap

Our Sugar Maple is blowing bubbles in the rain.
Not to fret: It’s fine, it’s just one of Nature’s Soaps.

After a long dry spell, rain is washing accumulated salts and acids down rough bark—mixing, agitating as it goes—and crude soap is drooling to the ground.
Like shampoo at your feet as you wash your hair in the shower.

“TREE SOAP” is the kind of news I love to share.


Michael was busy when I ran into the kitchen, so I shared to the back of his head, “Our tree is making SOAP!” and then apologized for the distraction. 

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Buckeye lashes

Let me explain.

When I posted a photo of buckeye capsules at Music Row, I mentioned that they would dry and split, and that the outer hull would look like a buck’s upper and lower eyelid. The seed inside would be the eye: the Buck-Eye.
Nancy, who has known me since 6th grade, wrote, “I want to see the eyelids when they open!” 

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September + elm

Today I learned not to start a sidewalk conversation with “Is this your tree?”

Because the nice lady who was walking towards her tree, and who I’ve seen in the neighborhood for over 25 years, but who I’ve never spoken to until now, answered my question with an alarmed, “WHY? WHAT’S WRONG WITH IT?”

From which the conversation could not recover. My lack of social skills and her lack of hearing proved to be unbeatable obstacles.

Nothing is wrong with it,” I said, and then said again, louder.

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Secret Sidewalk pollinator garden

The Secret Sidewalk in our neighborhood is no secret, but its pollinator garden might be.

Tucked along half of a single block is an “Accidental Pollinator Garden:” a glorious border of native wildflowers. It’s a pleasure to walk past. But though beautiful for humans, it is a lifesaver for animals. It is habitat. Nectar and pollen feed countless bees, butterflies, and other invertebrates, while birds and small mammals eat the seeds.
Compare this bounty to one of the manicured, mown, blown, “treated”, mosquito-Joe-d, 100% turfgrass lawns nearby.

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The Wrong Acorns

[or, “How are Acorns Like Pizza?”]

On the sidewalk was a mystery. The evidence? The wrong acorns.

Neighborhood Black oaks are raining acorns onto the sidewalk. Normal, right? But each acorn has been bitten by a squirrel—just a mouthful taken from the top—and then discarded. For years I’ve wondered at this: not just at the extravagance of the waste, but at the species of acorn. It was the wrong one.

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Lunch guest

[kitchen table show ‘n’ tell]

Today during Lovingly Prepared Lunch #168 (in the Age of Coronavirus), a chubby caterpillar was discovered crawling up my kid’s T-shirt.

And my kid, who discovered it (“What is THAT?”) then suggested I clear the table *before* the next Lovingly Prepared Lunch.

At every meal, I scoot acorns and plants and whatnot out of the way, to make room for Blue Willow china, so I figured we were okay supping among seasonal treasures. But we all have our limits. His limit was a larva during Baked tofu.

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