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

Classical Sunday: By the Brook

Welcome May! Nature’s music once more on this beautiful Sunday morning in our neck of the woods.

Spring in the woods.  Is there a better place to be on earth?

We are indeed people of the woods, with our families coming out of the hills of the Appalachian and the Harz mountains.  Old hills…

This is what the little water fall looks like this weekend.

Enjoy your first May weekend.

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Classical Sunday: Listen to the Cardinals

One more concert of the natural kind. 

Listen to our northern cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis) singing in the woods.

 

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Trillium. This one is most likely going to be white. We’ll see in a little while.

Remembering Our Ancestors: Two Birthdays and a Burial

So many of our family lines go back to the early days of European settlement in the New World.

When I first looked at our family tree today there seemed to be no-one new to portrait this week, but I was quite wrong.  Within the last 12 months, we actually added three great-grandparents to the tree that all either were born or died within this past week.

In the Denney line:
The oldest of today’s ancestors in terms of distance from us is Humphry Shinton, our 10th and 11th great-grandfather.  He was born on 19 April 1640, in Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, England, to Humphrey and Elizabeth (Love).  He married Anne Perry on 6 June 1663, in his hometown, and they had two children during their marriage as far as we know.  Their daughter Elizabeth married Richard Felton, and the two of them immigrated to the New World in or around the 1680s.  Their great-granddaughter was Sally Wise Felton, wife of Azariah Denney.  Humphry Shinton died in August 1681 in Wolverhampton at the age of 41, and was buried there on 29 Aug 1681 in the churchyard of St. Peter’s.

In the Lindsey line:
Mary Duset, our 5th and 6th great-grandmother, was born on 3 December 1742 in Milton, Norfolk, MA.  Her parents Peter and Ruth (Newcomb) had at least four more children, and it appears as though Mary’s forefathers and -mothers had already been living in the New World for four generations.  Mary married Benjamin Everenden (later Everton) on 2 December 1760 in Stoughton, Massachusetts.  They had seven children, and their son Thomas was (great-) Grandma Irene‘s great-great-grandfather.  Mary’s husband Benjamin died ten years before America’s independence from England in 1766 and did not even live to see the birth of his last son who was named Benjamin (in his honor without a doubt), but Mary lived to be 80 years old and thus saw a good bit of what went on in the early days of independent America.  She passed away in Dorchester, Suffolk, MA on 4 March 1823.

In the Mulford line:
Our 3rd and 4th great-grandfather William Henry Harris was born on 25 April 1825, only two years after Mary had died, in Mason, West Virginia, the first child of Henry and Jane (Summers).  Four more children were to follow.  At some point in his youth or early adulthood, William Henry crossed the nearby Ohio river and on 21 July 1853, he married Joanna Dianne Brown in Gallia County, OH, but apparently the couple did not stay long on the western side of the Ohio.  Instead, they settled back on the West Virginia side and raised their family there.  We know of only one child that the two had, Arilla Jane Harris, who was Mattie Mulford‘s mother and who in turn became the mother of (great-) Grandpa Lorain.  On 8 January 1886, William Henry died in Mason County, WV at the age of 60, and as far as we know, he lies buried there.

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Requiescat in Pace, Humphry, Mary and William.

 

 

Link: Harbinger of Spring Look-Alikes: Dead Nettle & Henbit — The Herb Society of America Blog

Dead Nettle is just beginning to take off in the yard. Have a look at this great post about uses of it!

By Susan Belsinger

The first spring wildflowers, herbs, and weeds are popping out all over. Two that frequently appear together are both members of the mint family, Lamiaceae: dead nettle (Lamium purpureum) and henbit (Lamium amplexicaule).

via Harbinger of Spring Look-Alikes: Dead Nettle & Henbit — The Herb Society of America Blog

Disclaimer: The author of this blog is not an medical professional, nutritionist, or dietitian. Content on this website is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to substitute for legal or medical advice, or medical treatment or diagnosis. Consult your health care provider if you are experiencing any symptoms and before using any herbal product or beginning a new health regimen. When wildcrafting or foraging for plants, do so ethically; be accompanied by an expert; and always have absolute certainty of plant identification before using or consuming any herbs. By using any or all of this information, you do so at your own risk. Any application of the material provided is at the reader’s discretion and is his or her sole responsibility.

Herbal Household Remedies: Reconsidering Over-Socializing

‘Social distancing’ appears to be a scary thing for many.

No herb talk today – again! – because I have something else on my mind.  In these days of virus fear and quarantine, people are told to practice ‘social distancing’, even that social distancing is something they might have to continue practicing after the immediate threat of this virus has passed.  It seems that the term ‘social distancing’ has become something dreaded, as though life were over when one cannot freely socialize (or travel, for that matter) anymore.

Maybe instead of dreading what is to come – a very unhealthy attitude indeed – we can ponder what was because we do know what was, whereas what is to be is altogether speculative.  In other words, instead of fretting about ‘social distancing’, ponder the amount of socializing that people have become accustomed to.

Is it truly necessary to spend every waking moment in the company of ‘friends’, physical or virtual?  Or indeed, in the company of people other than your immediate family?  How about enjoying some quiet time all by yourself?  Do you even know, let alone have any control over what is going on inside your head?  It is the only thing you truly COULD have control over, you know, if you just put the effort into it.  How much time do you normally spend pondering things, or reading for meditative purposes rather than entertainment or education?  Any at all?  This time of ‘social distancing’ could be a wonderful time for turning inwards, if only you dared.

At least, let this time of ‘social distancing’ be a time to reconsider the over-socializing that has become the new normal.  Social distancing is what used to be normal.  Only then, it was called discretion, indicating a cautious reserve in word and deed.

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Remembering Our Ancestors: Richard Felton Jr.

This week 351 years ago, our 9th (and 10th) great-grandfather Richard Felton Jr. was born in England’s West Midlands. By the time he died in 1734, he had made the journey west across the Atlantic.

Latest since the 16th century, the Felton’s of our family tree appear to have lived in the West Midlands of England.  The village of Worfield in Shropshire was their home, a place that was first settled in the Iron Age when it was inhabited by the Celtic Cornovii.

Our 9th and 10th great-grandfather Richard Jr., son of Richard Felton Sr. and Alice White, was born there on 4 February 1669 and baptized nine days later.  By the time he was old enough to marry, we find Richard a couple of miles further east in the thriving market town of Wolverhampton.  There, he married Elizabeth Shinton of Wolverhampton on 7 April 1686, and they had at least one son whom they named – you guessed it – Richard.

Some sources say that Richard Sr., his wife Alice and Richard Jr. already sailed to Virginia in 1662, and given that the same sources declare how Richard Sr.’s brothers John and William may have lived in the New World for a while and then returned to England, it is well possible that Richard Jr. returned with them to the old homeland to marry, and then took his new wife back to the New World with him.  In any case, Richard Jr.’s son Young Richard was born in 1690 in Surrey County in South Carolina, which is where our Felton’s had settled and where, two generations later, Sally Wise Felton married Azariah Denny in 1776 (sic!).

Richard Felton Jr. died in 1734 at the age of 65 in the New World, and his great-granddaughter carried his family name into the Denn(e)y family:  Both her last names, Wise and Felton, appear for a while as middle names in the family tree.

Requiescat in Pace, Great-Grandpa Felton.  You did not live to see the birth of the new nation, but your grandchildren and great-grandchildren did.

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Natural Shelter

A nice, cozy, safe shelter!

I made a shelter using only leaves, wood, stones and vines.  It is warmer on the inside than it is on the outside.  I can lie in it just fine.

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The leaves on the top of the shelter are the insulation, wood is used as poles, the stones are the entrance area, and the vines are used as the doorway.

It’s cozy!

 

 

Herbal Household Remedies: Onions and Flu Season

It’s that time of the year again…

It’s upon us again: flu season.  Here is something we commonly do during this time:

When one in the family begins to feel sick, we distribute roughly cut onion in every room in the house, particularly in the bedrooms.  There is no need to remove the peel.  When the onions get dry, put new onions out.  The smell of the onions helps to breathe, and keeps other family members from getting sick as well by cleansing the air, so to speak.  Therefore, it pays to have plenty of onion at hand in the winter time, not just for cooking.

Stay healthy!

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