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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Please be advised that this blog has been deemed an essential service by the Fed’ral Gubmint and will remain open during the current shutdown.

Thank you.

Ol’ Robbo was out yesterday afternoon dealing with the latest crop of fallen leaves.  We have a single large oak out front.  Unlike the maples, which throw their entire compliment in a relatively short time, this oak drops its leaves only gradually and can take as long as five or six weeks to get done.  This is annoying not only because it looks sloppy, but also because said leaves are large and perfect for clogging field drains.

Speaking of which, as I was treading gently across the lawn, I simply could not believe how completely saturated with rain it was.  When a freakish little monsoon hit later in the afternoon, the water simply and literally rolled right down the hill.  Made me think of the Mud March.

Not much else to tell except for the fact that as I sit here I can see among other denizens four separate pairs of cardinals hanging around the feeder.  Is that a sufficient quorum to elect a new Pope?

UPDATE: Of tangential relationship, Self and the Elder Gels decorated the Christmas Tree this afternoon while pom-poming along to “The Nutcracker”.  Good times.

UPDATE DEUX: NOVA Curmudgeon’s comment prompted me to look up the meaning of “marcesent”.  Per Wiki:

Marcescence is the retention of dead plant organs that normally are shed.  Trees transfer water and sap from the roots to the leaves through their vascular cells, but in some trees as autumn begins, the veins carrying the sap slowly close until a layer of cells called the abscission layer completely closes off the vein allowing the tree to rid itself of the leaf. Leaf marcescence is most often seen on juvenile plants and may disappear as the tree matures. It also may not affect the entire tree; sometimes leaves persist only on scattered branches.  Marcescence is most obvious in deciduous trees that retain leaves through the winter. Several trees normally have marcescent leaves such as oak (Quercus),  beech (Fagus) and hornbeam (Carpinus), or marcescent stipules as in some but not all species of willows (Salix).  All oak trees may display foliage marcescence, even species that are known to fully drop leaves when the tree is mature. Marcescent leaves of pin oak (Quercus palustris) complete development of their abscission layer in the spring.   The base of the petiole remains alive over the winter. Many other trees may have marcescent leaves in seasons where an early freeze kills the leaves before the abscission layer develops or completes development. Diseases or pests can also kill leaves before they can develop an abscission layer.  Marcescent leaves may be retained indefinitely and do not break off until mechanical forces (wind for instance) cause the dry and brittle petioles to snap.

Makes sense.

All this talk of oaks leads Ol’ Robbo’s addled braims back to the South Texas of his misspent yoot.  There we had live oaks, which had small, rounded leaves and didn’t drop them in the fall or winter, but only when the new leaves came out.  I remember that the wood was heavy and long-burning, and that one didn’t put oak logs on the fire until it was firmly established.  (One started with juniper kindling and mesquite logs.)

 

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