Two Snags

Brock-Harvey Forest Preserve on an early May morning

I found these snags surrounded and, at a distance, hidden by the burgeoning Brock-Harvey forest preserve here in the Finger Lakes.

As with burgeon (see yesterday’s blog post), the word “snag” has a long history from a forested northern region of the planet, though it hales from Scandinavian languages rather than Old English and Old German. As a noun “snag” is something with a point and a body long enough to cause inconvenience, the point catching on anything handy. As a verb “snag” is to become inconvenienced by a projecting body.

In forestry, a snag is any trunk of a dead tree. Commonly, a tree top breaks off leaving a jagged point which possibly can become an inconvenience. For birds, an upright dead tree is a blessing, perfect for homemaking.

Fallen, the snag is still a snag and also a home first for fungus. When the work of the fungus is done, the resulting mound is perfect for growing new trees.

Click me for the next post from this forest preserve, “Grand Views.”

References
snag definitions are from the Compact Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford University Press, 1971

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

The Haw in Hawthorn

I originally published these blossoms as “wild  rose”.  It was my Facebook friends who pointed  out these are hawthorn flowers.  The key to identification was the shape of the leaves.

Hawthorne Blossoms on the former McArdle Home
Blossoms of Hawthorne taken on the site of the former McCardle Home, Proleek Townland, County Louth, Ireland.

In correcting my mistake, I learned the young leaves of Hawthorn are excellent for salads.  Wonder how the fairy folk, associated with single hawthorns (as in the following photograph from the Hill of Tara), react to picking leaves from their trees?  I didn’t hear of the practice during our time in Ireland.

Speaking Stone Hill of Tara
View northwest from Hill of Tara looking across County Meath with views of Counties Westmeath and Cavan. On the horizon, right, is Hag’s Mountain, (Irish: Sliabh na Caillí) , site of the Loughcrew Cairns. The standing stone is the “Stone of Destiny: (Irish: Lia Fáil), which served in coronation the coronation of the High Kings of Ireland. It stands on the Inauguration Mound (Irish: an Forrad) of Tara. This photograph was taken the morning of May 27, 2014 hours before the stone was vandalized, doused with green and red paint.

My mistake was understandable, in botany the hawthorn is in the same family as the rose.  The flowers are similar, having five petals.  The “haw” in hawthorn is from the Old English word for hedge, as is this linear standoff the tree lining the way up to the Loughcrew Cairns.

Path on Hag's Mountain, Loughcrew
Reaching highest point of County Meath, Ireland means a steep path, not too long, to glorious views on all points plus Lough Craobh (Lake of the Branches).

I read these votive offerings are made at Beltane, in which case these are fresh from placement May 1.

Hawthorn Tree with Offerings
A hawthorn tree in bloom on May 27, 2016. Growing on the slope of Hag’s Mountain

The following year Pam underwent double total knee replacements, never the less, she was great company for all our adventures on the island.  Even this steep climb.

Pam and the Offering Hawthorn
The steep path to Loughcrew passes a hawthorn covered with flowers and May offerings.

These views were our reward for reaching the top.

Loughcrew View, North by Northwest
View from Loughcrew Cairns, “Hags Mountain”

The Emerald Isle, we fully understood this name.

Standing Stone, Loughcrew
Loughcrew Megalithic Site, County Meath, Ireland. A solitary standing stone below the trail to the Loughcrew site surrounded by whin bush (gorse) and hawthorn hedge rows. A fieldstone fence, farmhouses, a patchwork quilt of fields completes the view.

The Greek name for the Hawthorn species is formed from two words meaning “strength” and “sharp”, referring to the thorny branches.

Charlemagne of County Cork
For County Cork we stayed with Marantha House B&B.   Our day of arrival, that evening, I visited Charlemagne and fed him an apple, saved from dinner. We learned from our hosts, Olwen and Douglas Venn, he is a retired show horse they rescued. The following morning I visited Charlemagne again with an apple and my camera. As I walked up, starting from the far end of his field, Charlemagne rewarded me with a series of astounding poses, trotting toward me in fine form. The morning mists, hawthorn in bloom, distant hills came together for this memory.

We marveled at the hawthorn hedges in field after field.  I first notice them from the World Heritage Site, Newgrange (Brú na Bóinne, “Palace of the Boyne”).  Here is one on the Dingle Peninsula, on the other side of the island.

Field of Yellow Iris Flowers, Dingle Peninsula
A roadside field of yellow Iris flowers with flowering Hawthorn and Whin Bush in the windbreaks. Looking northwest toward Killeenagh and Caherpierce on the R561 between Lack West and Inch. Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry, Ireland.

Another Ireland post of interest, “Proleek, Grandfather McCardle’s home.”

Hoary Elm

This day, as our hill turns to snow globe, I remember this early morning, March 2007, on the edge of spring.  

Hoary as in covered in frost to appear bleached with age. 

As winter changed to spring I noticed the first greening of the limbs and, each November, the eerie form of the limbs revealed.  I call the tree an “elm” though I am not certain.  There are other lone survivor elms nearby, the leaves are right for an elm.  Some elm species/specimens have the same shape.

Across the Plain

Sere grasses

The Finger Lakes are formed by a series of inclined planes spread across central New York State.

Here we look northwest across the land between Cayuga and Seneca lakes, all forests and farm land. Seneca Lake is not visible,15 miles distant, and the Finger Lakes National Forest in between.

The only town is Hector, New York, population 4,854 in the 2,000 census. The foreground are sere grasses, a field of beef cattle and pond.

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Click to view this series on Getty.

Autumn Apple Orchard, landscape orientation

compare portrait vs. landscape orientation.

Unharvested apples on the ground and branches of this apple orchard off Black Oak Road on the slopes of Connecticut Hill, Newfield in the Finger Lakes of New York.

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Click to view this series on Getty.

Autumn Apple Orchard, portrait orientation

apples cling into winter

Unharvested apples on the ground and branches of this apple orchard off Black Oak Road on the slopes of Connecticut Hill, Newfield in the Finger Lakes of New York.

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Black Oak View

Autumn Ridge

Black Oak Road approaches Connecticut Hill from the north. At this point a long view to west opens up that include Cayuta Lake and the distant highlands of Seneca Lake.

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Autumn Road

A Long View

Here we have a vista of Bostwick Road descent off West hill into the Enfield valley and, then, in the distance, up Harvey Hill. Late autumn foliage graces the scene.

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Lone Elm

Among Hemlocks

A Rock Elm, late to turn in autumn, stands among a hemlock grove on the South Rim Trail of Taughannock Falls Park, Finger Lakes Region of New York State.

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Finger Lakes National Forest 9

compare portrait vs. landscape orientation.

On our roundabout return from Finger Lakes National Forest we turned off Rt 79 at Mecklenburg onto county route 6 that becomes McIntyre Road in this stretch between two right angle curves. We turned off at the western curve with this fine autumn overlook toward Buck Hill.

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Click me for the first post of this series.