Into the Woods: Beech Leaf Disease

Globalization kills.

We are nosy people who love nothing better than spying on our neighbors, observing any change, taking pictures, researching and exploring what is going on with them.  Our neighbor’s don’t mind, as far as we know.  Since we live in a clearing in the forest, the only neighbors we have are trees.  To name just a few, there are maples, various oaks, tulip poplars, horn beams, alders, ash trees, various nut and fruit trees, black cherry trees, willows, tupelos and, of course, beeches.  Only there is a problem with the beeches, it seems.

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Zebra-striped leaves on beeches: a sign of BLD

Last year we noticed that many beech leaves looked funny, striped, in fact.  Since it wasn’t just one tree or just in one particular spot in the woods, we looked it up and lo and behold!, other people were aware of the problem as well:  Beech Leaf Disease (BLD), they call it quite fittingly, and apparently, it is somewhat of a mystery disease still.  On an Ohio State University website, the following was stated about BLD as early as August of 2017:

“We know that we don’t know what causes it or that if it is caused by a virus or other pathogen what its vectors might be, if any. We do not know how serious it will become or how much more it will spread from one area to others.

We do know that it is not easy to identify its cause; common suspects are not responsible.”

Almost three years later, at least the range of culprits causing Beach Leaf Disease has been narrowed down a bit, and also where it comes from.  Arborjet.com states the following:

Beech Leaf Disease (BLD) is a new disease of beech trees (Fagus spp.) that has been identified and observed in forest areas in Eastern USA and Canada. The cause of this disease remains to be confirmed, but a nematode species, Litylenchus crenatae n. sp., newly described from Japan on Japanese beech, is suspected to be involved in BLD.

They also give you an idea of the symptoms and timeline of the disease, both of which agree very much with what we have been observing around here:

Early symptoms of BLD include dark-green striped bands between lateral veins of leaves and reduced leaf size. Banded areas usually become leathery-like, and leaf curling is also observed. As symptoms progress, aborted buds, reduced leaf production, and premature leaf drop lead to an overall reduction in canopy cover, ultimately resulting in death of sapling-sized trees within 2-5 years and of large trees within 6 years.

The leaf canopy has indeed been reduced substantially nearby, with areas that usually do not get sunlight anymore as soon as the leaves are out being now quite light as the header photo shows.  Here is a little video, taken in the same general area.  Note that the small beeches in the front are just about bare and are only in the light because the old trees behind and above them show much reduced foliage.

Looking at the leaves from above, they are now beginning to look quite dried up and feel leathery as well, which means their ability to photosynthesize is significantly hampered.

beech disease fromabove

In some parts of our woods, there are substantial amounts of beeches and if they were to die off within the next years, it surely would change the forest we live in in ways hard to imagine.

If you wish to read more, here is a longer article with more scientific background on arborjet.com:

Beech Leaf Disease is Continuing to Emerge and all Cultivars in America and Europe are at Risk

Connie’s Baked Onion

Enjoy this episode of “Connie’s Camp Cooking” and glean various yummy recipes.

Lonnie and Connie from ‘Far North Bushcraft And Survival’ – they are located in Alaska – uploaded a campfire cooking video that we found both entertaining and informative.  Yesterday we tried the onion recipe and it turned out very delicious indeed.  Her sweet potato bread is next!

For her baked onion, Connie cuts the onion into wedges (as shown in the featured image), puts butter between the wedges and a bouillon cube in the middle, wraps and seals it all with aluminum foil and then just bakes it in the coals.  We did the same, but put the onion into the oven together with a bunch of oven potatoes and baked it all for an hour or so at 350ºF.

For the bread, Connie uses equal amounts of flour and cooked sweet potato (or pumpkin) mash and some salt, mixes it together until it can be rolled out or formed into patties, and then fries it in butter in a skillet.

But watch her do it, it’s much better than just reading about it.  And note her cobbler recipe that is printed in the video description.

Herbal Household Remedies: Mint

Most plants of the mint family have a wonderful fragrance and can be used in various ways. Check out this link to find out more.

Here is an interesting article on the OFA‘s website about mint and its uses.  If you have some in your yard, you know just how prolific all the mint family plants are.  Make use of them instead of fighting them as ‘weeds’!

12 USES FOR MINT LEAVES FROM HEALTH TO HOME

How do you use extra mint leaves? Here are 12 marvelous uses for mint around the home and garden—from culinary to medicinal to mouthwash to bug repellent!

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All images on this post are straight from the article we are linking to, only slightly edited

Link: Planet Line-Up; and Last Pictures

Want to welcome 2019 in grand style?

Will you be up until late tonight, or up early tomorrow morning?  The latter might be more rewarding…

FIRST DAWN OF 2019: THREE PLANETS AND MOON ALIGN

Want to welcome 2019 in grand style? So happens, the year begins with an eye-catching celestial alignment that will light up the eastern sky at the first dawn of 2019. Watch the Moon, Venus, Jupiter, and Mercury line up—and connect the dots! Here are Bob’s viewing tips.

Three planets and the crescent Moon will create a string of pearls early New Year’s morning. Maybe it’ll be easy to see, if your New Year’s Eve celebration runs very late.

Back home, this is what things look like on the last days of the old year.  Thanks one and all for joining us off and on on our journey through 2018; hope to see y’all in 2019!

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Looking up the hill facing north-west
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We found a something-something stuck to the underside of an oak leaf. It’s got holes in it, as you can see… Have no idea which critter might have produced this, but it looks like it’s going to be new life in the spring.
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Looking down the brook
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Back-lit.
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In the water

And one last picture:

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Peek-a-Boo! I see you!

Happy New Year!

 

Link: Look up!

Do you look up every once in a while?

For as long as we can think back and longer, our kind has looked to the stars and known them, from generation to generation.  Do you look up every once in a while?  Please do, it’s going to be worth it.

MOON MEETS FOUR PLANETS SEPTEMBER 11 TO 19: SUMMER’S LAST CONJUNCTIONS

And this, too:  SKY MAP (STAR CHART): SEPTEMBER 2018

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