The nonconformist tree

We were remarking on the extraordinary new growth on the pine trees a few days ago, when I spotted this, a pine whose new growth looks like an upside-down office chair.

odd new pine tree growth

I’ve been watching a couple days now for another example, but haven’t seen one.

What do you suppose “inspired” it?


On the walk

I’ve walked by this many times, but this day it caught my attention: burned-out (from the fire that deforested our dog-walk area) trunk of a pine tree. Charred outer bark, and inside the wood is disintegrating in rectilinear chunks. Huh?

Then, a snake. OK, just a snake – but no, the air was quite cool; the sun was quite hot, and the sky was blue dotted with puffy clouds, and it was lying still, almost into the sandy trail. We tried to keep the dogs from noticing it – and they didn’t – but because Syd and I stopped to look at it, three dogs came back, curious about the unusual human behavior. One almost danced on top of it, but amazingly none stepped on it. And still it didn’t move.

My best guess is it got to the side of the trail in lovely radiant heat from the sun, but when a cloud blocked the sun the cool air took over, its energy went away. I am not a biologist, much less a herpetologist. If you know more, I’d be interested to hear if I’ve got a handle on this.

It appears to be Lystrophis dorbignyi, or South American hognose snake.

Taking down a tree

This is time of year, the sound of chain saws is quite common. But a couple days ago, I hadn’t figured out that something more interesting might be going on until my wife spotted a guy with a chainsaw high in a tree. Only once have I topped a tree as part of felling it, but it was a pine, nowhere near this size, and swayed like crazy after the top fell. And I did it with a bow saw – no way was I climbing up a tree with a chain saw!

cutting down a eucalyptus tree, Uruguay

So here’s this guy up a 15-meter (I presume) ladder. All rather impressive. Listen for the guy on the ground yelling ahora! (now!).

I hired tree people a couple times when we lived in North Carolina. We had a lovely old spreading oak that needed thinning. The tree people – who worked at the Augusta National Golf Club – said they never use ladders, but only free climb, and also don’t wear spiked shoes, in order not to damage the trees. Quite spectacular to watch!

No worry about damaging the tree in this case. Also, being eucalyptus, it will regrow. And regrow.

Unlike the last time, this does not affect the sunshine we receive in our yard.



And a _________ in the pear tree

No, not a partridge. A pear. One and only one single lonely pear, which will be our entire harvest from this tree this year – if we’re lucky and the birds don’t get to it first.

pear tree











The little things

Baby avocados: the beginning of our third harvest.

baby avocados, Uruguay

Baby orange — first time from tree #1:

Baby oranges — first time from tree#2.

This is what our avocado trees looked like in August 2015:

Avocado trees, Uruguay

Note the large pine tree in the background to the right. It’s still there now:

Avocado trees, Uruguay

The two little orange trees are front right. I had to transplant them from the country because wind and hard soil there were just too much. It’s taken them a long time to get comfortable here. Very cool to see fruit starting to form!