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.

6 comments:

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

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  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.

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  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?

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  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!!

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

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  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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