In the yard today

tree, ladder, branch

This took up most of my time in the yard today. It’s a weeping willow, and one of the trunks hangs over the veggie garden. I can’t deal with all of it with a pruning saw, so a professional is going to have to handle most of it. But I can deal with some of it! Yesterday and today I took off a couple of side branches; you can see where they were cut. One of the branches is in the foreground. It’s about six inches diameter where I made the cut, and yes, it was done with a pruning saw on a ten foot extendable arm.

It took a while.

I strung ropes to ensure it wouldn’t come down on me (willow has a tendency to suddenly break) and they worked perfectly, although I couldn’t prevent it from coming partly down on the wire fence. So pericat had to help swivel it off. There’s a couple more branches I may cut, but that’s it for today; and beyond that it’s all too high for me to reach. I feel very virtuous.

But there were other things in the yard! I’ll post the pictures of spring flowers tomorrow, probably, but for now have some arbutus bark and a wee friend.

arbutus bark

arbutus bark

And here’s the little friend. There were actually two—one was in the veggie garden, where I spent some time weeding—but I only got pictures of this one.

treefrog

treefrog

At this time of year they’re pretty sluggish because it’s still cold. Let’s hope there will be a gazillion of them in the pond; it won’t be long now till the spring chorus starts.

Strange bumps

mystery bumps on treetrunk

They’re bumps on an arbutus tree, I can tell you that much, but I don’t know how or why they formed. But for the life of me, when I look at the photo, I just see a school of very hopeful fish.

Abstract #6

insect-damaged arbutus leaf detail

I’m not sure what insect damaged this arbutus leaf, but the results, with the sun low behind it, were quite spectacular.

insect-damaged arbutus leaf

An unhealthy leaf

diseased arbutus leaf

I was struck by the contrast in colours on this arbutus leaf—the healthy green, the red veins, the unhealthy red-edged dark speckles, like some kind of nasty spot that you discover one day on your arm or leg, generating worries about your future.

(And then of course there’s the dew on it, just to add complications.)

But is the green health? Green is, after all, often associated with illness or poison.  The dark spots are quite mild by comparison. And why are there those violently coloured reddish-pink lines through it?

The oddness of this micro-focused view is that although it is part of a leaf that seems to be diseased, in some ways it’s quite beautiful. I wonder how much disease is beautiful, at a molecular level, when human suffering is stripped out? And what makes it beautiful, anyway? Are there patterns in illness and distress, as there are in other parts of life? I wonder how that affects the way scientists see it?

I wonder if I should have another beer?

Perhaps not.

 

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