I had a tree service person here twenty-odd years ago, and given that so much of the Californian vegetation was so exotic and so new to me, when he was done with the job at hand I pulled him around the yard and had him name everything in sight for me. I knew I would never remember it all, but at least some of it would stick.
He was delighted at being able to be a teacher in the moment to someone interested in everything that his life’s work revolved around.
We had an elm? I thought all those were dead!
No, this was a Chinese elm. They’re not affected by Dutch Elm disease.
Once a year I participate in the UCSF study of lupus long-term outcomes; this year’sÂ didn’t involve traveling to San Francisco, I only had to spend an hour on the phone answering questions. Easy enough.
They always insist on giving me a $25 gift card as thanks. I always try to tell them not to and that I’m certainly not in it for any kind of payment; they always say it’s already a done deal, sorry, take it.
And so an Amazon card arrived in the mail. I’d already forgotten about it and it took me a moment to put context to the envelope. Ahhh. Yes.
David Sibley is quoted on Amazon saying that after all these years studying birds, well, you do see a lot of trees in the process. And trees hold still while you’re trying to sketch them, and they seemed the logical next subject somehow…
Eight-three cents on my credit card to bring up the difference (a few cents cheaper in tonight’s listing), and “The Sibley Guide to Trees” showed up on my doorstep yesterday, two pounds four ounces’ worth of them right there in person.
How many books are that potentially useful for your whole life? Did you know there was such a thing as an ape’s-earring tree?
p.s. Did you see the little three-year-old bridesmaid in the picture, a millisecond before the first royal kiss, holding her hands hard over her ears with a face clearly demanding at the cheering crowd, “It’s too loud! Make it stop!”
Second p.s. The resident female Cooper’s swooped at something clearly on the roof above me as I looked out across the patio from inside, and I suddenly got a notion of what it must be like to be on the receiving end of that speed. Wow. (Speaking of which, I added a link in yesterday’s post to Eric’s photo of Clara strafing Glenn as he climbed back up City Hall; don’t miss it.)
And third p.s. The squirrels eating the calcium-rich fire brick? They’ve not only started again on it for this year, but they’ve carved off two big chunks. One ran up a tree with one, looking for all the world like it had a large pastry in its paws as it happily nibbled away.
And… One squirrel has been gnawing away at the metal barbecue grill. Iron deficiency, maybe? Sharpening its teeth for the hawk? (It wishes!)
Maybe we need a forest animals book next.
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