Saturday, September 8

Irrigating newly planted willows along creekbed

At a creekside cabin out in the mountains, we want more privacy from the road. A creek flows between the cabin and the road (see photo and description below) We have planted willow whips on the road-side of the creek by cutting wands (or whips) from the existing willows, dipping the ends in rooting hormone (which, ironically, comes from willow) and sticking these in the embankment. To encourage the willows to fill in as fast as possible, we will need to irrigate them during the dry season. Short of installing an automatic irrigation system, we are hoping to install a pipe flume or sluice to bring the water to the willows passively.

Looking upstream in early spring. The road is above the creek, just off the upper left of the photo. It's pretty easy to see the creek and cabin (off the photo on the right) from the road.

Flumes have been used historically to carry water from a natural watercourse to some distance away, without the use of a pump. Flumes were often used in combination with a race or pipe to convey water to mills, mines and agricultural fields.

A flume carries the water at an elevated level above ground. Historically flumes were built of wood, sometimes lined with metal, and mounted on a scaffold to carry the water crosswise along a slope, or mounted on a trestle to convey the water across a depression such as a stream bed or river bed. Pipes could also be used in the same manner, to carry water above ground to where it was needed.

A race is an open channel for conveying water. It can be a simple earth ditch, or it can be lined with timber, metal, concrete or stone. A race or flume system would always start on a watercourse at a location upstream from where the water was needed, either for a gristmill, sawmill, farm fields, waterwheel/water turbine, or a mining operation.

Both a race and a flume would run almost level with just a slight downhill pitch, to carry water to somewhere the stream didn't naturally go. The more gradual the pitch of the race or flume, the farther the water could be carried without using a pump. Historically, a race and/or flume system would range from a short ditch to a water supply channel many miles long, linked to supply water courses and storage dams. If there was a gulch, canyon or other declivity along the course of the race, a flume would be built on a trestle, to maintain a constant fall.

We will need to work out some kinks in the plans, but I like the idea of using old-fashioned methods to create a low-tech solution to challenges like this one. Depending on when we put this idea to use, I'll post updates here at Raven's Nest.

Saturday, September 1

Festival of Trees #15: a Collector's Delight

Welcome to the Festival of the Trees #15.
Thank you everyone for sending those links and articles. I received scads of excellent contributions - enough to make a large collection that should have something for everyone. So, let's jump right in:

Anyone who has been around the Festival of Trees for awhile will recognize Daniel Mosquin, head poobah at the University of British Columbia's Botany Photo of the Day. That's one of Daniel's beautiful photos, above, a Mimosa monancistra. Daniel constantly delights me with his beautiful photos taken in the botanical gardens as well as on his travels. I can't imagine hosting a FOTT without giving Daniel a plug. So thanks, Daniel for all the time and effort you put into BPOTD. His site also features work by other photogs, especially by members of the BPOTD flickr group. Daniel also includes with every day's photo, either a link to a photographic website or to a botany web link. Always educational ... often hugely entertaining.

Woodworker Tim Carney, shares some fascinating stuff about Baobab trees at his blog, Shop Talk. The photo, above, is by Daniel Montesinos.

Jade Blackwater submitted several written pieces from the "Halo" short fiction writing contest. The short fiction pieces, posted at The Clarity of Night are:
The Clarity of Night: Entry #56 (a short story with trees and forests in its heart. Written by Helen Flatley, posted and hosted by Jason Evans of The Clarity of Night blog.) The Clarity of Night: Entry #49 (Another tree-story from the Halo contest) and The Clarity of Night: Entry #12 (Another contest entry - this one more poetry than prose, and also speaking to the trees.)

Nature is an Art Gallery (the photo, left, is just one of many) comes to us via Gerry Gomez Pearlberg at Global Swarming Honeybees (she has lots of info on bees, too) "Dawn: a glorious caterpillar descends from a tree, with twinkling trees in the background ..."

Stuart Forsyth, of The Thought Menagerie, was in a frustrated mood one day so he decided to head outside and shoot some tree photos.

Stuart writes, "there is nothing like doing something you love to change your mood and feelings." A second contribution from Stuart, along with more awesome pics like this cork tree, is A Walk in the Park.

Wren, of the illustrious and beautiful blog, Wrenaissance Reflections always seems to have something there to entertain and educate us. Check out her recent Wrendition on trees, Treelimma, in which this bird-lover and tree-lover explores her ambiguity about keeping (or not) the mature Bradford Pears in her garden.

I know Wren thinks alot about creating habitat for birds on her property. How many of you take birds and other wildlife into consideration when planning your garden or landscape? There are so many conservation and ecology programs that encourage us to plant more trees or preserve existing trees and to make our home landscapes more inviting to a diversity of plants and animals. It's hard to know where to start pointing out the good ones! Mary Jo Manzanares of The Seattle Traveler, presents Backyard Sanctuary Program Helps Keep Washington one of the Best Places to Live.

Bat Cave, Swamp Style
comes to the Festival courtesy of Swamp Things blog. Check out the gorgeous bald cypress (above) posted with that article! I have always loved the "knees" of the bald cypress for their resemblance to elderly folks, gnomes and little people.

"Wollemia nobilis" © Ontario Wanderer
Dean Gugler is one of the contributors at Whorled Leaves, an online reading group on nature books. Dean shared his interest in their current book, "The Tree" by Colin tudge, by elaborating on the natural history of the rare Wollemia ""Pine: Wollemia nobilis. Dean relates,
"Although we have found the book fairly heavy for summer reading it has sparked interest in trees in general."

photo ©Fleur-Ange Lamothe
Dean's partner, Fleur-Ange Lamothe is a painter/photographer artist in her own right (that's her photo, just above.) I introduced my friend Fleur-Ange in this blog post with some of my favorite tree photos of hers.

Our very own Dave Bonta, coordinator of the Festival of Trees and blogger at Via Negativa, shares a wonderful post titled, New Life from and Old Chestnut (that's his beautiful photo, left.) Dave also writes, along with another submission on Giant Trees, that "Most Americans would probably be shocked to hear that their redwoods and sequoias aren't quite the largest trees in the world."

I love the way Jarrett writes at his blog, Creature of the Shade. This time Jarrett sent us Southern Flora, Northern Word where he muses on the names of Australian trees. "However acclimated I become, I'll probably never shake the first impression that Australian plants and animals seem designed to mislead the northerner. Anything remotely conifer-like is called a pine. (And the) eucalypts were called ash, boxwood, and even apple."

We have a new Tree-Festivalee, Larry, from Wandering Around Kansas. Welcome, Larry! His contribution is an excellent photo, The Shade Tree. It's still summer in the northern hemisphere (just barely) and, well -- if it's hot where you live, I expect you're still appreciating the shade under trees like the oak in Larry's photo.

American Forests
, a conservation group that has been protecting forests and their denizens for over 20 years, has a page of e-cards you can send to friends. Check out their postcards of "champion trees" like the ancient white pine, above. Then head over to their Historic Tree Nursery and dream of planting a piece of history near your own home.

Silver Valley Girl
presents Still Life of My Tree posted at Silver Valley Stories. Her post illustrates a great idea: to document one tree you really care about, through the seasons. Still Life of My Tree shows views of the same tri-color beech through seven months so far. The photo, left, shows her beech in July.

Karen Bastille sent in one of my favorite submissions this month, Nurturing The Bond Between Child And Tree. Karen wrote on her blog, At Home With Grandmother Wren, that "we can encourage our children’s relationship with trees and the natural world around them while at the same time renewing our own awareness of its blessings."

Karen includes links for more ideas for teaching children about nature, and ideas she used with her granddaughter who has grown to love the nectarine tree her Grampy planted when she was born.

Finally, I'd like to point you to two more collections on Raven's Nest. This Festival#15 post was getting way too long, but I couldn't bear to leave out a few of my favorite sites about trees in art and literature. If you have the time, I think these two Festival-specific blog posts will be entertaining and elucidating. I apologize for any overlap between these posts and the links above.

  • Trees in Art
  • Trees in Poetry and Prose

  • Well, folks, that concludes September's edition of Festival of the Trees. The next edition of the Festival will appear at trees, if you please. Send your tree-related submissions to festival (dot) trees (at) gmail (dot) com no later than September 28th. Or if you wish, you can submit your blog article to the next edition of Festival of the Trees using our handy-dandy carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

    Thank you to everyone who participated in Festival#15
    your host, Maureen Shaughnessy

    Introducing Painter Photographer, Fleur-Ange Lamothe

    "Dansons" by Fleur-Ange Lamothe © 2007
    "Every time I meet a tree, if I am truly awake, I stand in awe before it. I listen to its voice, a silent sermon moving me to the depths, touching my heart, and stirring up within my soul a yearning to give my all." - Mary Webb, 1917
    The above quote comes to me through Fleur-Ange Lamothe, a Canadian artist who blends photography and painting to create visionary art. Lamothe used Mary Webb's words as the sole description for one of her elegant photos of trees. Yet the quote could as well describe Fleur-Ange's entire approach to life and to communicating her vision of Nature into powerful, transformative art.

    Fleur-Ange's art is part performance, part canvas or film and part installation; she is all about communication and connection; counterpoint and balance; birth, death and rebirth. She translates her fertile psyche's impulses and emotions into works of tangible beauty that challenge her viewers to look (and feel) under the surface of things.

    All photos © Fleur-Ange Lamothe 2007

    I have been a "follower" of Fleur-Ange Lamothe on Flickr for the last couple of years. Recently she pulled all of the photos of hers that I had "faved" into one collection called MR's Favorites. It is an understatement to say I was captivated by the slideshow of that set ... watching a fluid river of incredible beauty float and dissolve on my computer monitor. The slideshow is so worth watching -- with 66 photos playing 4 seconds each it takes only four and a half minutes to watch (unless, like me, you keep pausing the show to drink in the beauty every frame or so.)

    Whenever I spend enough time to really look deeply at a piece by Fleur-Ange, I get the sense that I am on a journey with an old soul, with someone who has an inborn sense of connection to all of life, who sees even the stones as living beings. I get the sense that I am walking with a kindred soul, someone who has seen into the very heart of the Earth and who is striving with sincerity and courage to help others touch that place of healing as well.

    Someday I really have to see her paintings in person. Actually, it would be wonderful to meet Fleur-Ange in person! In the meantime, since I can't just hop on a plane and fly to Ontario, I satisfy myself by cruising through her flickr sets -- on slideshow mode -- at least once a week. And I have many of her images on my computer as a screen saver. I'm fortunate she is so generous with her photography.

    I am honored to be able to introduce my friend, Fleur-Ange Lamothe, who is also an accomplished artist, to the folks who read my blogs. I hope you enjoy her photography and paintings as much as I do.

    All photos © Fleur-Ange Lamothe 2007
    to see the individual photos enlarged, click the titles below:
    Find more of Fleur-Ange's photos at Wildflower Watch, or on her (Eglantine) Flickr stream