Someday a Tree

Today, April 25th is Arbor Day and I’m here to talk about trees.

I love trees. We have a lot of trees on our 7 Acre Wood. All kinds of trees. Trees full of birds and squirrels and good smells. Trees that sing when the winds come blowing up the river valley. Old trees that have seen lots of history. Young trees that are just coming into their own. They all have stories to tell.

We’ve been in a big drought the last few years and have lost quite a few of our lovely trees. It’s a very sad thing when a tree dies. It’s like losing a good friend.

IMG_5913We have a book that tells just such a story —

IMG_5940Someday a Tree
by Eve Bunting
illustrated by Ronald Himler
published by Clarion Books in 1993

Theme – trees, the environment, pollution, dealing with loss
a fiction book suitable for age 5 and up

It begins –
Every afternoon, when the weather’s nice, Mom and I and our sheepdog, Cinco, walk across Far Meadow and sit under our oak tree. Dad says the tree may have been here when Columbus came to America.

This is the story of a tree. And the family that loves and honors the tree. They spend happy hours under its branches – picnicking, reading, napping, telling stories. Sometimes other people stop and share the shade of this big, friendly tree.

IMG_5942One day the young girl notices that the grass under the tree is turning yellow and smells funny. A tree doctor comes to look at the tree and after doing tests on the soil and the leaves, tells the family that the tree has been poisoned. Someone has dumped chemicals underneath it. Word of this disaster gets around the small town and everyone comes and volunteers with help to try and save the tree. They dig out the poisoned dirt around the trunk and put in new soil. The fire department comes out and sprays water on the leaves. Some folks come wrap sacking around the leaves to protect them from the sun. People leave get well cards and heart balloons.

The family watches as the tree slowly dies. It is heartbreaking. But in the middle of one night, the young girl remembers the acorns that she collected before the tree got sick. The next day, she and Cinco go out and plant those acorns and a wish and hope that new trees will grow – Someday.

the Treaty Oak in Austin

the Treaty Oak in Austin

There is a famous tree in Austin, Texas called the Treaty Oak that is estimated to be over 500 years old. The story in the book is identical to the story of our Treaty Oak. In 1989, the tree was deliberately poisoned with a powerful herbicide. It made national news and all kinds of help came pouring in to save the tree. It did survive and is a monument to the strength that can be found in an oak tree. You can find out more about this remarkable tree HERE.

HERE is an interview with Ms Bunting from Reading Rockets.

To celebrate Arbor Day — go out and plant a tree!!
Or at least find one to sit under and admire – draw it, study it – what kind of critters do you see in its branches and in its trunk? Have a picnic. Climb in its branches. Maybe make some MUSIC!  Enjoy!!

Happy Arbor Day!
Your friend napping UNDER the tree
Copy of img311


Top o’ the mornin’ to you!

Sunday, March 17 we will be celebrating St Patrick’s Day. I don’t know if everybody celebrates this special day, but we do. We get dressed up in green and I have to wear silly glasses and hats. And eat potatoes. That parts ok. I like potatoes.

St Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland because he supposedly brought Christianity to that country. So for the last 1,000 years the Irish have celebrated a feast day for this man. And for some reason that celebration has become a very popular one for all kinds of people who may not even be Irish. It’s an odd thing.

I have done my part this week by reading a ton of books about St Patrick’s Day! Leprechauns and gold and rainbows and potatoes and green and parades and clover. And lots of weird talking! Shillelaghs and Erin go bragh! What does that mean?!  Anyway, Here are all the books that we read this week:

My favorite one was St. Patrick’s Day in the Morning by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Jan Brett. You can’t get much better than Eve Bunting and Jan Brett! The book was published by Clarion Books in 1980.
Jamie is a wee Irish lad who very much wants to march in the St. Patrick’s Day parade with his dad and brothers. But they think he’s too small to make it to the top of Acorn Hill. So early on the morning of, Jamie puts on his mom’s raincoat, his dad’s hat, his brother’s green sash and grabs the flute on the table. He sets off with his best buddy, Nell, the sheepdog. (That’s the best part! His best friend, Nell the dog!). The two of them walk through the sleeping town meeting a few nice, helpful neighbors on the way and make it all the way to the top of Acorn Hill. All by themselves! They leave a flag on the stage and head back down the hill. Thinking about how surprised everyone will be when they see the flag and wonder who has been there!
It’s a great story with some great illustrations – all in black and white and green and yellow.
You need to check this book out and go find a parade!

And to get you in a right Irish mood I give you Van Morrison and the Chieftains – and you can’t get much better than that! Makes me get up and dance!