Friday, February 1, 2008

Missing Douglas...

...missing our Douglas-fir, that is. On mornings that Seth and I are home, we always look out the front window and wave to Matt as he is driving away to work, and the other day I was thinking how much I miss our huge, friendly Douglas-fir tree that blew down in the Great Wind Storm of 2006. The night of December 14th, the wind howled with such force that I thought the roof would lift right off the house. The next morning we looked outside to see the aftermath in the neighborhood and saw all 40 feet of our tree lying down right across our lawn and across the driveway. Our gentle giant had uprooted after putting up a fight against the winds.

With so many other homes in the area with trees crashing down on their houses, we were extremely blessed and fortunate that the closest it came to our house was tearing the Christmas lights down from the rain gutters. We (and by "we" I mean Matt and some guys driving around the neighborhood with chainsaws offering to chop wood for $50) spent most of the day whittling away at the branches so we could at least get out of the house. We had lots of lovely fresh swags for Christmas that year!
Ironically, little 2 1/2 month-old Seth slept the best that night than he ever had since being born!

I ran across a book at the library called Tree: A Life Story that details the life of a Douglas-fir, beginning with what happens during a forest fire through its life as a seedling until it matures, dies and becomes a "nurse log" for other vegetation. I learned a few lesser-known facts about our majestic friend.
  • A Douglas-fir is, in fact, not a fir, nor a spruce or a pine. Thus, the hyphenated name. Its scientific name means "false hemlock." The tree's discoverer called it "by far the most majestic spruce I ever beheld in any forest, and one of the largest and longest lived of the giants that flourish throughout the main pine belt."

  • The sun delivers energy to the earth at 215,000,000,000,000,000 calories per second. Most of that falls on desert sands, mountain slopes, the polar ice caps, or our skin. Only 1 percent is used by plants and trees to keep them alive.

Anyway, read the book if you would like to know more, but truthfully by the middle of the book I was skimming through it. Someone with a botanist's vocabulary and passion for all things vegetation would probably get more out of it.

So, we need to plant something in "Ol' Doug's" place. What do you suggest? We already have 3 maples and a cherry tree in the front yard, so preferably a tree that doesn't add to our Autumn leaf-raking marathon. It will be Seth's tree, so we can watch them grow together! From this recent photo, it seems that Seth would like an orange tree, but unfortunately in our climate that's not a viable option.

1 comment:

J said...

How long is that book? It sounds good, but I'm afraid of commitment. Those are some pretty amazing pictures!