He stood in the field, just over a hump, where only half of his body was visible. He seemed as if he was aware of his surroundings and, in a moment’s notice, could disappear into the shadows of wooded oblivion.
In early July, a waterfront poplar on Deer Point toppled into the lake, its 12-inch trunk gnawed to a point in a mere two nights. A few weeks later a neighboring poplar crashed beside it. Both trees were soon denuded of limbs, leaves and bark, leaving two pale, telephone-pole-like stumps stretching toward the lake. So where, you might ask, did the rest of the trees go?
About six weeks ago, I finally made it to Town Hall with all the documentation needed to register my hound dog, Homer. He was the 374th dog registered this year. I mentioned to Mary Mead that I was going to write an article about dog poop, and she gave her two cents that more dogs were living in Charlotte than the town has registered. I’m sure that’s true, given I’ve been delinquent now and then! One tidbit of info I found in several places suggested that a typical ecosystem could handle two dogs per square mile. Charlotte is a little more than 40 square miles, and the town has many more dogs than that, even with just the registered ones!
Did you know that monarch butterflies are the only butterfly known to make a two-way migration? They are like birds in this respect. Their life cycle starts in Mexico and parts of California where overwintered adults lay eggs in spring, fly north and somehow get back to the south by autumn. Unlike birds, however, it takes four generations for monarchs to get from Mexico to our backyard in Vermont.
Is it important to be able to recognize and pin a name on at least a few of our tree companions in the space we share? I believe it is. Some persons do have the opinion that labels, such as tree species names, are not only not important, but that naming them removes some of the mystery, that it fragments “nature” into individual parts and interferes with holistic thinking when you put a tree species into a box, labeled “sugar maple” or “hemlock.”
Late June and early July have proven to be humdingers in decline or total loss of some prominent members of our (tree) community. The unusual springtime drought has proven difficult for newly planted trees, and in response we shut down our roadside tree planting program early to await autumn’s soil moisture recharge. Fortunately, the nine trees planted for shade at the Town Beach playground have received tender loving watering thanks to Greg Smith (Recreation Commission) and the beach attendant Emma Slater with assist from the tree warden team.
I’ll be the first to admit that I am not an accomplished bass fisherman. I know that the intense explosion of a largemouth on a popper in the weeds is as dramatic as anything you might experience in the outdoor world, but with so many different pursuits it is truly difficult to master them all.