You are going to eat THAT?

One of the reason why I wanted to do this blog was to help document some of the things that happenIMG_0485 here, good things, interesting things, and just plain old weird things. Which is what I will classify this.

I have a love/hate relationship with these trees… more hate than love actually. They are the “Tree of Heaven” or Ailanthus. At our house they are known as “The Stinky Tree”. Every single piece of this tree smells – really bad. If you rip off a leaf, it smells. If you cut some off, it smells. When you burn it (horrible burning wood), it smells. The only love part that I have for this tree, and other invasive species, is their resilience. This thing grows ridiculously fast, produces an enormous amount of seeds and will grow ANYWHERE. Junky soil? It doesn’t care. Wait and see what happens when you attempt to cut one down – the tree sends signals letting it know that it is in danger, so it proceeds to send up new trees out of the roots (pictured to the right). The survival mechanisms these plants have are certainly impressive but make it a royal pain to manage on our property.

On a walk down the driveway after the thick snow has finally melted, I spotted these small Stinky Trees in among some black raspberries and noticed that something was eating their bark! The bark has been stripped off of these trees, that are only about an inch in diameter, of all of their bark from the base up to about 15 inches. Teeth marks are present…

Why would something eat THAT? WHO would eat THAT? They STINK, I can’t imagine what it would taste like. No IMG_1580footprints or fur nearby – but I did find this at the base of each tree. Bigger than peas, but almost perfectly round… impressively round. That’s right, there’s a song for it – “It starts with an S and ends with a T. It comes outta you and it comes outta me. I know what your thinking, but lets not call it that. lets be scientific and call it scat.”

So apparently after a crazy winter like the one we had I guess it gets to the point where you are starving. Hungry enough to do what you need to do to survive, you eat what you can get to, stinky, tasty or whatever.

So Mr. Cottontail Rabbit, I am sorry that you had to eat the Stinky Tree Bark, but glad that we have plenty of it for you to choose from. Eat all you want! But, since spring is here – work on finding some sassafras, your breath stinks…

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