Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Special late note: Be on the lookout for auroras tonight! Spaceweather.com is putting the odds of seeing auroras in the mid-latitudes at 40% tonight, which is about as high as it ever gets for those of us who live in the south.
I have several beautiful beech trees at the cabin in my front forest. I don't have a yard, so the forest grows right up to the front door. The trees are striking, at least in part because of their smooth, light gray bark in the forest of mostly dark-barked oak and hickory trees. These are the trees that people can't resist cutting their initials into, and in fact, the first owner of my cabin did that on one of them. The trees are also striking because their branches often curve and appear at unusual angles. This is also a difference from the straight-limbed oaks. People who have yards don't like them, as they perceive them as "dirty" trees that easily drop their branches and twigs. In a forest, that's not an issue, so I get to enjoy their beauty without worrying about the work of them (not that I would let that bother me anyway).
The photo today shows the nut casings from a beech tree. Unfortunately, I've never tasted the beech nut itself. Squirrels and other critters always get to them first, at least in part because they don't wait until the nuts are ready to drop before they eat them. Now that the leaves are down, I'm able to see the remains of nut casings all around me.
It is starting to feel more wintry here now, though the cold weather is still so new, after the warmth of this past November, that it somehow doesn't feel settled in yet. This morning's temperature showed 18 degrees, and the forecast is for light snow tomorrow. The raccoons have taken to hibernating. I know this as I was visited every night by 2-3 of them raiding the outside cats' food dish. The raccoons were dextrous enough to reach up inside the dish to clean out every single bit of cat food, and now those few bits that the cats can't reach remain until the next morning.