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Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Blindness of Familiarity

Maggie and I walked to town today. Wowser! This is Michigan in March. Yesterday I was in shorts, today I underestimated the wind. I should have worn wind pants over my jeans and warmer gloves. We came home feeling like blocks of ice.

I was wondering what to post today. I have several fun things that can be posted most any time, but then I found something really cool. I am embarrassed to say that I "found" it. If you had asked me what kind of tree was growing outside the post office that I have visited at least 500 times in the past 40 years, I wouldn't have been able to tell you. But today I found that a very large and handsome white birch tree has appeared there. (haha... covering my shame with improbabilities)

urban white birch tree

urban white birch tree

urban white birch tree

On the way back I picked up all the aluminum cans that the melting snow has revealed. They weigh just over half a pound! The scrap aluminum market has tanked lately, but they are worth a few cents. All but 2 (not pictured) are too flat to return for the state deposit. Still, if people are going to throw money out of cars, I'll pick it up! (And I picked up a pretty rock too... I'm hopeless... like I need another rock.)

crushed aluminum cans on a scale

See Only a Few Miles for another white birch bark picture


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if that's what I would call a silver birch, but certainly very similar. Beautiful tree. I pick things up too. Heart-shaped stones! Found two yesterday.

Joe Todd said...

500 Years of Wine | Ann Arbor, Mich. The University of Michigan Clements Library is presenting an exhibit on American winemaking.
Might be interesting. If I lived closer would check it out. Cold thid am in Ohio.Walked the chestnut trail at clearcreek metro park yesterday Have good day

Ratty said...

I'm just beginning to learn how to identify types of trees. They have a few helpful signs in my newest nature park, so I've been looking around trying to match the trees on the signs with the real ones.

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

Hi A- sometimes called a paper birch or canoe birch here also. It is Betula papyrifera

Joe- It seems like there are always interesting things going on in A2. Hoping to see Clear Creek instead of the population crash of bacteria soon! (good post though)

Ratty- I'm just nuts about knowing what I see. Not everyone is, but trying to match the interpretive signs with something nearby is a great start (except when they don't get the signs near the example!)

Anonymous said...

The tree is beuatiful. We had one very similar to it in our back garden when i was a kid.

WiseAcre said...

I almost took a pic of a Paper Birch today - it was gleaming in the low sun. I passed because it was too 'wintery' for me to bear :) I came home with some Lichen pics instead

Ya never have enough rock as far as I'm concerned. The best thing about them in a garden is that they're maintenance free. (although I do provide a low cost a maintenance plan to my clients:)

Julia said...

I just love how the naked trees look during winter. Thanks for the pics. And I cant believe how many cans you found. Do people not have any conscience? I guess not.

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

Hi Solomon- So often the white birch become scarred or get a fungus long before they get to be this size. This is really a remarkable tree, even though I'm sure it's had good care. They tend to be short-lived.

Hi WiseAcre- I'll look forward to your lichen pix. I'm loving the variety, although I don't know too many names.

Julia- glad you stopped by! I'll try to show the tree again in summer. Well, I live on a major road, and this is the post winter mess. We really don't have many cans and bottles throw out on any given day because of the high 10 cent deposit. Try Ohio for great quantities of cans on the roadside.

rainfield61 said...

You are a re-cycle lady who has shown us a very beautiful birch tree. I enjoy re-cycling.

rosecreekcottage-carol.blogspot.com said...

I love birch trees. And re-cycling!!

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

Carol and Rainfield- Thank you both! I will be paying a lot more attention to this birch tree from now on, and yes, I recycle as much as possible!

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