Along the Natchez Trace

Monday, November 18, 2013

What Is It About A Beech?

Bill & I will be starting our drive to Texas on Wednesday.  We still haven't anything settled about the rental that's kept us here in Ohio so long, so it looks like those decisions will be made "long distance"...  and apparently in their own time.

When we lived here we walked all over the 13 or so acres.  We tapped maple trees for sap and had well-trod paths through the woods.  Since we had a wood burning furnace and kitchen stove, Bill was always harvesting windfalls and cutting firewood.

I hadn't walked through the woods for several years and today decided to walk to the lower edge of the field and take some photos of the house/barn from that angle.

The path we walked, though it isn't used by humans, is still a path and I saw deer tracks everywhere.  Yesterday it rained the entire day, so I had to be really careful - the path may be there but it was muddy and there are fallen branches, brier bushes and all manner of vegetation that makes walking precarious at times.

As I started down to find the perfect spot to take a photo, I remembered an old beech tree close to the property line on that side.   It didn't take me too long to find it again....
American Beech - Fagus grandifolia
It doesn't look so grand these days, does it?

Even the crown has suffered over the years.
Granted, it's November and the leaves are almost all gone, but it looks like this old guy doesn't have a lot of time left. 

Beech trees are in the "Fagaceae" family, which is comprised of nearly 600 species...  which even include the quercus (oaks) and chestnuts, among others.  I don't know about these days, but in the past most country kids knew the beech because of its smooth whitish bark.

Yep!  A perfect place to declare ones love to the world...
 This tree is no exception....
Okay...  no hearts with arrows ...... no couple's initials....
But if you look closely you will see initials and other "graffiti" ....
 As it happens, I knew the family that lived here in the 1950's, and while I haven't figured out who "E" and "A" are....
I'm pretty sure who C. K. C. is.

I guess there's just something about nice, smooth bark that just begs to be written on....
I don't know if kids these days carry pocket knives...  or even if they play in the woods like kids used to...  so maybe the beeches out there today don't suffer from these permanent scars.

Not that there aren't other critters who make their mark...
At first I thought a Sapsucker had riddled this trunk....  but after a closer look think it was just another woodpecker as the holes aren't as geometrically aligned as the sapsucker makes.
Doesn't make any difference...  whoever left their mark was drilling for insects or larvae in a tree that was already dead or doomed.

Looking closer, you can see that the inside has rotted out....  
There may be some life left, but probably in the not so distant future, this grand old beech will be gone.  The folks who carved their initials may outlive this tree, but probably not by many years.

Oh yeah...  why did I walk down over the hill anyway?
To take a photo of the house we used to live in and are now renovating....
That greenhouse underneath the steps was the "nursery" to most of our vegetables and flowers.  
It's kind of odd to see it from this angle....  I was always on the deck looking out...  watched a grouse perched on a log drumming one spring....  saw newborn fawns nestled in the brush where their Mama's had left them for safekeeping....  watched a fox stalk a guinea one afternoon....  lots of great memories.  

I'm glad I walked down through the field and along the old path today.  I was happy to see that grand old oak again....  we'll be on the road again soon, and as much as I enjoy that life,  I will always love our life on the farm.

That's All For Today!


  1. Thanks for the walk in the woods. So many memories in the homes we love so well. That old beech tree reminds me of us humans - we may be old and scarred, marked by life and sometimes by those who love us, but still we stand and carry on for as long as we can. I just hope I'm not rotting from the inside out haha!!

  2. Gives new meaning to 'a day at the beech'. ;)

  3. That was a great guided tour. Thank you. I guess I need to walk around my place one of these days, too.

  4. Thanks for sharing some of your memories!
    Safe travels!

  5. I loved the 'tour' of your property and especially all the different views of the Beech tree. It makes me think that if we're really looking we can see a lot of beauty, even where we might not expect it. If that old Beech could talk ......

  6. Wonderful memories, and thanks for sharing them. Have a Happy Thanksgiving in Texas.

  7. Beautiful memories of your place where you live and all around. Good luck in Texas!!

  8. From the chosen perspective that house looks kinda like "Eagle's Nest".

  9. We feel there is nothing like home--in fall we are ready to start south in the motorhome, in spring, we are always ready to head home. Don't think we could be fulltimers.

  10. What a nice post! I like how your house sits way up above everything for a nice view.

  11. Oh, forgot to mention, your Header photo is fabulous!!

  12. I have gone to visit an old tree myself. Back in the 70's, my kids and I took a drive through an old cemetery in the town where we lived. On the edge near a swampy area, we found a giant cottonwood tree. We got out and found it took three of us to reach around it. Last summer, I was visiting my daughter who still lives there and suggested we go check out that tree. It was long dead and almost all the branches were gone but the huge rotted trunk was still in place. I guess I have an affinity for old trees and animals too.

  13. Such a day you had for a walk. What blue sky!
    Sad about the old trees. Our elm is down to two limbs. Our American Beegum looks less dense.
    Very safe travels!

  14. if modern day kids had found that tree you would know as they would have spray painted their initials on it...

  15. Very nice, Sharon... gonna say it again... ! that would be my dream house... jeeeeeeez I like that. great tour

  16. Great photos of the tree. They are majestic in their day. So sad as they reach the end, you can almost feel their spirit wishing for the days when they were strong and straight and whole again.

  17. Let us know your Texas plans. We would like to see you guys. Lots to share and talk about.

  18. Glorious! The house is wonderful and sitting on that deck must have been a joy. We had an beech tree at our house when I was a kid. I loved it.

  19. Looks like a beautiful place.