Friday, June 5, 2009

Road report...

Snow in June????

We arrived at Señor Terremoto's sister's home in a Chicago suburb in the midst of a "snowstorm." There are drifts along rooflines and along the curbs. The wind picks it up and it swirls in little eddies and any protected spot is drifted deep.

Any guesses?

Hint: There's a very large tree next door. This type of tree is often found along rivers and was a welcome sight to the early pioneers as they crossed the great prairies. The large triangular leaves are attached to the branches in such a way that they have a characteristic flutter and sound in the wind.

In doing a bit of research today, I discovered that the Dakota Indians ate the sweet inner bark of young sprouts of these trees in the spring. They also fed young branches to their horses, and a dye was made from the leaf buds. The Sacred Pole, used in ceremonies of the Omaha Indians, is made from this tree. (This information is from a website maintained by Northern State University of South Dakota.)

Answer: Eastern Cottonwood, Populus deltoides.


  1. Had no idea there was an Eastern cottonwood - how cool is this?!? Snow in June from the trees.

  2. Looking out today in mid-day, it looked like we were living in a giant snowglobe!! This stuff is so light that it just floats around for ages before finally dropping to the ground.

  3. Chris! Where are you? I just arrived in the Chicago area last week for a family visit... I am in Lincolnshire just north of Chicago. Are you in the area?

  4. Hey Jen!! You just missed me!! I'm at the watercolor show in Wisconsin now and headed north to visit my family. Too bad -- I would have loved to have met you!!

  5. Yep...used to see this in New Mexico on rare occasion, too. CRazy, huh?

  6. Hey, R!! I know this was a regular feature of life when I lived in Wisconsin, but I'd forgotten all about it. California has its other charms, but no cottonwood -- at least not where I live.


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