More old trees – Day 6

The highpoint today was success in a cemetery – but that’ll be going into the book so it’s a secret.

Much of today was doing domestic stuff.  I bought some water to keep hydrated as I drive, and filled up with gas at the same time. A nice lady at the gas station and I talked about the oil boom in this part of Ohio – everywhere has oilmen, which means that fuel prices are low (lots of competition) but room prices are high (lots of competition for a limited resource). She thought I was Australian and had a nice accent.

I’ve spent quite a lot of time in Coshocton today. It’s a convenient centre for things I want to do – visit cemeteries, see old trees and see a stuffed bird (tomorrow).

But Coshocton is full of nice people – they may all hate Obama, for all I know, but they seemed very nice to me.

The lady in Walgreens, where I bought toothpaste and a new pair of cheap specs (having sat on one of my two pairs – silly me, but that’s why I buy cheap ones (so that I can enjoy sitting on them!)) pointed me in the direction of Bob Evans for breakfast but nearby was a place much more my scene – Jerry’s family restaurant – where I had two eggs easy over and hash browns (very nice too).  Next door is the Motel where I am staying.

A very nice lady (a lot of ladies aren’t there?) in the optometrists on Main Street replaced a screw (no I didn’t have one loose) in my RayBans and wouldn’t take any money for it – even a couple of dollars for charity. She hadn’t heard of passenger pigeons but she might buy my book when I’ve written it.  She also pointed me to Radio Shack where I looked for a battery for my camera.

My plan was to take photos every day but on my last day in the UK I realised the rechargeable battery was flat and wouldn’t charge.  I have been searching for a battery, not very hard so far, ever since.  Radio Shack seemed a possibility.

Radio Shack didn’t have the battery I wanted but they gave me some help. There was a man (see  – I do talk to men, when I must) and also a young lady. I asked about good places to eat and was pointed to The Warehouse which is near the motel and where I have just had a very fine burger, salad and sweet potato fries, with Pepsi, for $8 – good food and excellent value. I also bought a charger for my phone – see, very domestic.  The young lady was very quiet and I said to her ‘You think I’m mad don’t you?’ and she said ”No, I wish you’d stay and talk to us all day’.  I probably blushed but since none of us had a camera we’ll never know.

Neither of them knew of the passenger pigeon but the guy confused it with the carrier pigeon – quite a few people do.

I checked into the Motel and the lady there knew nothing about the passenger pigeon. And then I did some washing – there are shirts and socks dripping dry in the shower right now.

But then I went to see some old trees!! Twice in two days!

The Johnson Memorial State Preserve is about 200acres of old growth deciduous woodland an hour and a bit north of here.  It is a really lovely spot.

It has red oak, white oak, pin oak, beech, shagbark hickory, black cherry, white ash, sugar maple and white ash (because the interpretation boards say so).  It also has a pair of red-eyed vireos feeding their young  – ‘cos I say so.

Many of the trees are over 400 years old.  There is lots of dead wood and, really, I thought there was a lot of birdsong.  Some of the trees are enormous.  It was another glimpse into what the woodland would have looked like when the passenger pigeon was the commonest bird on Earth.

And this wood, this small remnant, was in an area where there are good records for tree cover through the 19th century.  Even in 1800 practically the whole township was woodland like this with the main gaps being in the boggy areas.  And this area, Wayne County, was an area much used by passenger pigeons for winter roosts too.

Tomorrow I am off to Columbus to see Buttons – I hope.

PS Yesterday I checked the BBC news to see what had happened in the Test Match and got the news about tornadoes in Oklahoma – and it’s on the TV all the time here of course.  It’s a long way from here – but Shreveport (night 1) had a tornado warning for today.  And in a couple of weeks I’ll be quite close to Oklahoma.  The destructive power of nature, eh?

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9 Replies to “More old trees – Day 6”

  1. Very good Mark - only a pity about the photos ! But what you're picking up on the woodland is really fascinating - and rather what I'd suspected, that there might not have been much clearance when the PPs were still abundant. Certainly, on the East coast the swings have been extreme - from 90% woodland to 90% farmland & then back again.

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  2. I was wondering about the photos! Naughty man:) Glad you're promoting British "quirkyness" to our American friends, however one of the things I noticed when I went to the states was how many people thought I was an Aussie, I bet you get a few more remarks, stay safe.

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    1. Douglas - good question! There are lots of notices in places where you might have camp fires about using local wood and not bringing your own - because of the danger of transporting tree diseases. And there is an interesting tree disease story that I am getting into right at the moment - more later.

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    2. Douglas, the American Chestnut Castanea dentata was virtually wiped out from its natural range by chestnut blight introduced accidentally from Asia.
      This is one of the themes in Barbara Kingsolver's novel, Prodigal Summer, which I would strongly recommend.

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  3. Douglas - I think the big one on the eastern seaboard was a devastating disease of Chestnut which seems to have wiped them out in much the same way we lost our elms - and apparently it came in on just one arboretum specimen from Japan !

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  4. One thing your blog is telling me is that the States haven't changed much! Which is just a little reassuring. Do watch out for el tornado [s]!
    State of the Nations Wildlife makes grim reading. About as grim as this Spring. Interestingly I didn't need the report to tell me anything - I just need to step outside my garden. Walking along the flood defence bank at Lakenheath this morning [to see the lovely Red foot], heard several Cuckoos...wow. Made me feel good on a dank, cold morning. But how silent the poplar plantations are -
    At least doing PP research you are not in danger of being disappointed!

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  5. One of my greatest tree experiences was seeing Muir Woods just north of San Fransisco the Giant Redwoods were awe inspiring & full of wildlife !
    Enjoying your blog it brings back memories especially the food & diners :o)

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