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Amazing to watch tree workers in action. Yesterday (yes, Sunday) involved removing all the lower branches from pine trees at the house of friends.

Quite a show.

pruning a pine tree, Uruguay

His brother removing an acacia that was leaning over the roof. Not a bit fell onto the roof in the process.

taking down a leaning acacia tree, Uruguay

An old stump five meters high had a non-functioning light fixture on it. That was removed, stump cut down, and birds flew in to feast on the ants inside, mostly oblivious to me standing two meters away.

And another surprise: look at how the rings grew on that angled limb in the first two pictures!

I find it quite amazing that none of these trees has come down in severe windstorms during the six years the owners have been gone, but it seems much less likely now. And, a lot fewer pine needles to clear off the roof.

pruned pine trees, Uruguay





Pine from pine

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pine tree sprouting in dead pine, Uruguay

Pine trees don’t regrow from stumps, unlike eucalyptus trees. But you wouldn’t know that from looking at this. Apparently a pine cone sprouted inside the rotting stump. How it fares as the stump continues to rot will be interesting to watch!



Did I mention the wind?

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The squall-like wind did not last long the other day, but it came from every direction, which is why I so thoroughly sealed the stairway windows.

tree down from storm, Atlántida, Uruguay

In Atlántida, a rather majestic tree was uprooted, taking part of the sidewalk with it. I don’t think winching it back into place is an option. Too bad.

Tree downed by storm, Atlántida, Uruguay

A few meters away, the roots of another tree that fell the same direction, but was cut up to clear the street.

Tree down from storm, Atlántida, Uruguay

On a less-traveled street, a red rag warns passersby of a downed cable.

Sick trees?

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On our dog walk today, Syd pointed out how unhealthy many trees looked — should they appear like this in spring? I agreed. The more you look, the more you see. And those strange hazy skies? Syd thinks it’s the result of aerial shpraying, as a certain German we know insists.

After I got home, I took my camera as I walked to the feria (street market). Wow! Lots of unhappy-looking trees, indeed.

Damaged/unhealthy trees, Atlántida, Uruguay

Right across the street from us.

Damaged/unhealthy trees, Atlántida, Uruguay

Damaged/unhealthy trees, Atlántida, Uruguay

Damaged/unhealthy trees, Atlántida, Uruguay

Damaged/unhealthy trees, Atlántida, Uruguay

Damaged/unhealthy trees, Atlántida, Uruguay

Damaged/unhealthy trees, Atlántida, Uruguay

Then, in the feria, I ran across Pilar, host of blueberry picking and the feria orgánica (see Atlántida Events in the menu bar above), and asked her.

Yes, she said, the wind has been horrible, regaling me with stories about her torn-up shade arbor, piles of plums on the ground and lost blueberries as well (I’ll see on Saturday morning) because of the recent winds. She says the wind damages branches, allows contaminación and hongos (fungus) and insects to invade the weakened parts of the tree.

Pilar knows her stuff. She advises the Uruguayan government on hemp and marijuana production (former promising, latter disappointing because the chosen distributors — pharmacies — apparently want nothing to with marijuana. Hmm, less profitable than pharmaceuticals? Or something else?).

Anyway, weather’s getting weird, and it may be the result of some “geoengineering.” But for now I’m going with weather, and not aerosols, for the damaged trees. We simply have nothing here like the shpraying I so clearly saw in North Carolina, Spokane, and later developing in Mexico.

The happy sound of chain saws

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Atlántida can be a (relatively) noisy place — sometimes I refer to it as “Alarmtida.” In addition to regular and specious security “threats“ duly announced by neighbors’ alarm systems, we have weed-eaters, gas leaf blowers, lawn mowers, and chainsaws. The chainsaws have been mosquito-annoying persistent for a couple days. My wife had a revelation today, when all of a sudden her upstairs office lit up for the first time in the winter afternoon sun.

Turns out the neighbors spooked (perhaps) with the latest windstorm, and decided to remove a eucalyptus tree or two towering 40 meters or so to our northwest, where it/they blocked a significant amount of our afternoon sun (when you live in the south, the sun’s in the north).

A little hard to convey in pictures, especially when your point is, “Hey, the sun’s not blocked there anymore!”

From the balcony upstairs, outside my wife’s office window.

Most of the way up the tree in the middle, a guy with a chainsaw negotiated next moves and lowering of cut branches with the crew on the ground.


Seriously, there’s a guy in there somewhere with a freaking chain saw — about where the rope comes up from the lower left. At this point, half the tree horizontally has gone, and probably the top quarter of what remains. The neighbors will have a few years of firewood out of this. Good on ‘em (and thanks)!


The arbor vitae in the foreground doesn’t show from this sunset photo in June 2014.


And because it’s close, looks equivalent in this photo I took tonight. It’s not (notice the twin stumps of the removed tree, just left of it). This represents a huge, and wonderful, increase of light into our back yard. Sun glaring in the kitchen window — a new winter afternoon treat!

The microclimate of our back yard has just changed, for the better in terms of gardening, perhaps more challenging in terms of mitigating summer heat.

Always interesting to observe changes, no?

First frost and new growth

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I took this on Thursday morning. It went away quickly. Not as heavy frost as four years ago. I was thinking it too early in the year to have frost, so interesting to revisit that.


This afternoon, walking a slightly different route than normal, I spotted a pine tree starting over — lots of trees were lost to fire several years ago. You have to wonder how much of the existing root system feeds this. Or did it sprout from seed in the rotting trunk? I’ll have to look more closely.

Mushroom season

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Well, OK, I honestly don’t really know if it’s mushroom “season.“ But as autumn progresses, they seem to be popping up everywhere.  I spotted this cluster on a eucalyptus tree recently.

fungus/mushrooms on eucalyptus tree, Uruguay


Are they edible? I have no idea. They don’t look like the ones people sell on the side of the road. The last time we bought some of those — six years ago — we ended up throwing them out because they were so nasty. Not poisonous. Just not good. Perhaps they were the pine tree mushrooms instead of the eucalyptus tree mushrooms.

Another nice development since we moved here (recall coconut oil going from nonexistent to ubiquitous) is almost-constant availability of fresh mushrooms in the supermarkets. They’re not always at a price we want to pay, but they’re available.

Maybe, finally, maybe … !

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My wife woke up this morning after a dream that one of our avocado trees was starting to produce! She walked outside and voila! Seems like we just checked the other day and saw nothing.

First buds on our 7-year-old avocado tree! Atlántida, Uruguay

I’m guessing these two trees are around seven years old.

Landmark day 😉