Change is hard. And, every change is for better or worse, depending upon your perspective. Change is particularly hard when it happens quickly. I’m sorry, but telling me “it’s easier if you just rip the bandage off real quick” doesn’t lessen the pain.
I have no doubt the 400 acres of trees and shrubs bulldozed and left burning in giant brush piles looked “worse” to the hundreds of neighbors on the north side of Woodstock a couple of weeks ago.
I heard a story the other day about a situation where one neighbor did not like another neighbor’s pine tree because the branches grew over part of his yard and he thought the roots were going to crack his foundation. So, the fellow cut all the branches on his side of the tree back to the property line, and then dug a trench along the property line to sever the tree’s roots.
What is the law if a tree is on your property, but the branches hang over the neighbor's property?
Does your neighbor have the right to cut the branches that are hanging over his property?
I've been thinking a lot about Fleming Road (runs from Route 120 to Country Club, about 2 miles). If you haven't driven it, it is worth the drive. Truly one of the most scenic roads in the county. Hilly, wooded, gentle curves, the whole bit.
A friend calls it "tummy tickle" road because of the hills - a name that started when his kids were little and they liked the roller-coaster effect of driving along Fleming!
BUT, it is technically a county highway that is considered by them to be the route from Route 120 to Route 14 by way of Country Club Road and Ridgefield Road.
It's a windy day today! The leaves in the trees are in constant motion, creating that wonderful rustling sound.
What is wind? We can't see it. It doesn't have a smell of its own or a color or substance. But, man is it powerful when it wants to be!
Well, it is gypsy moth season! The caterpillars have emerged and are now quite large. Soon they will pupate, and in August emerge as moths.
I can sum up the primary management objective in one word: kill.
If you've driven on Fleming Road, you have probably thought "This is pretty" or words to that effect. But why do people react that way to some drives and not others?
The hills. The trees. The curves in the road. Trees close to the road. Trees overhanging the road way -- a canopy effect. It all contributes to a scenic driving experience.
A "peaceful and comforting ride" is how one friend describes her trip down Fleming. Another told me that when she is all stressed out, as soon as she turns onto Fleming, the stress melts away - it has that effect on her.
But there is a plan afoot to "improve" the road -- to make it safer -- by enlarging the shoulders to at least 4 feet, and by cutting some of the hills down. The work would also include a change in how water runoff is handled.
Currently, runoff goes wherever it can since there are not consistent swales along both sides of the road. That may sound bad, but actually, it seems to work okay. The runoff flows into the existing low spots along the roadsides and slowly infiltrates into the ground, or is absorbed by plant roots. Modern engineering "standards" say that proper road design means that one must build either large swales or curbs and absorption wells to handle the runoff.
And all that engineering comes at a price - it means widening the road way by nearly 30 feet, from the existing 22 feet of pavement, to at least 30 feet of pavement and up to another 28 feet of ditches. I'm sorry, but how is that an improvement? An improvement in what way?
As I look around this time of year - leaves off the trees, flowers now brown, insects and other small creatures hidden away - I can't help but think of the wisdom of Nature.
Months ago, as the amount of daylight was shrinking and temperatures started to decline, plants and animals were heeding these signals and starting to store energy for the coming winter.
Deciduous trees and bushes like oaks and maples literally shut down for the season. Sap no long flows, and without leaves, photosynthesis - that energy producing machine - ceases. Perennial plants like coneflowers and hostas die back to the ground after storing as much energy in their roots as they can. Frogs find a mucky spot where they nestle in for the winter, their vital signs dropping to near zero as they enter a state of suspended animation.
When the snow and ice and freezing temperatures arrive, they are ready. And rather than fight back against the weather with shovels and salt and four-wheel drive, they wait. They wait patiently while the amount of daylight grows longer and the temperatures climb ever so slowly.
The plants and animals are ready for winter. Are you?
In 1979, author John Fowles released his non-fiction book "The Tree." Coming from the author of The French Lieutenant's Woman, this sweet little book must have surprised many.
The writing style is pure Fowles - densely packed with sensuous descriptions of his life in England - but the subject matter is unexpected.
Using his experiences with trees growing up and living in both urban and rural England, he expertly tells a story of the interdependence of humankind, art and nature.
Thirty years ago, he was asking questions that we have yet to answer. How do we heal the disconnect between people and nature? Are doing nature a disservice when we try to explain it using science, rather than appreciating it as we do great art?