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Archive for September, 2018

I Talk To The Trees

Sweet Chestnut

Sweet Chestnut

‘Of course, I’m just a baby, speaking in Sweet Chestnut terms. A few of my family are more than 2000 years old, and still going strong.
‘Well, I suppose our recent history started at the end of the last Ice Age, we were living in what’s now Turkey, then, once the ice melted, we made friends with the local people, in no time.
‘Not many of us, but, you know, we are so useful.
‘We coppice well, for starters. That means you can have a constant supply of poles and posts. And they won’t go and rot in the ground, like some other woods I can name.
‘Oak? Such a stodgy old fellow. We’re just as tough – but lighter and easier to work.
‘Yes, indeed, they did like the nuts. Very useful they found them. Cook them and eat them like that – or make bread and cakes with the flour, yes, very useful.
‘First, it was the Turks, then the Greeks turned up. They were everywhere in those days.
‘Naturally. We’ve always been interested in travel. We went back to Greece and spread ourselves around.
‘Then once the Romans took over we set our sights on Europe and hitched our wagon to the Roman star, so to speak.
‘Yes, turned up here in Britain soon as they did. They loved their Chestnut porridge, the Romans did.
‘Well, must get on. I’ve got nuts to ripen, you know.
‘Exactly. Who knows where they’ll end up?’

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Golden Ratio

Hen Pheasant

Hen Pheasant

We were just about to open the front door and set off for our daily commune with the natural world when a glance out of the window revealed that the natural world had, in fact, come to find out what was keeping us. Parading past the doorstep was a male pheasant and his harem. Naturally, by the time I’d found the camera, switched on and managed to direct its attention to their progress the male, with his striking plumage, had moved on and was presenting his rear to us.
He is brightly coloured and his hens are a dull brown. At one time this probably made evolutionary sense – it made it easy for his wives to keep an eye on him when there were other females around. But, times change and brightly coloured plumage is not such an asset when a major part of your life is spent dodging shooting parties. I’m pretty sure that, by now, it must have occurred to many hen pheasants that, while it is undoubtedly easier to manage one male in the family, the current evolutionary challenge supports a greater ratio of males to females.
Or perhaps they’re just not that fussed – maybe it’s easy enough to get another male if this one doesn’t make it through the shooting season.

Categories: Uncategorized
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