Archive for February, 2009

Silo Trees of the U.S.

When a young tree is growing in a forest, it starts off as part of the understory and it has to bide its time. The moment a larger tree falls and ready access to sunlight opens up, the tree has to be ready to burst up and take advantage of the opportunity in the canopy.

When you think about it, if a sapling starts its life by chance inside an old silo, it is already provided a permanent opening in the canopy. The young tree doesn’t have to compete with other contenders for the sunlight, but it still is shielded from the wind as if it were surrounded by old growth. A “Silo Tree” has the best of both worlds.

Perhaps that is why I can present so many examples today. Below are sightings of silo trees from Flickr users. They represent 18 different U.S. states and span the width of the nation- from my new home state of North Carolina to GeekHiker‘s California.


Where There's a Will... Entitled “Where There’s a Will…”, this shot was taken in Northern California. Photograph courtesy of jessielou79.


tree in silo Surrounded by cows, this silo houses a tree in Illinois. Photograph courtesy of cdw9.
This Greenville silo tree is located in Bond County, Illinois. Photograph courtesy of mkloefflerphoto. Stubborn tree


This silo and tree are from Pocahontas County, Iowa. Photograph by McMorr.
This silo tree was spotted during an annual bike race across the state of Iowa. It is between Dumont and Cedar Falls. Photograph courtesy of dazzled. silo with tree in center
Bursting Into The Light This tree was discovered by Homer-Dog at Homer’s Travels. It’s across the road from a B-24 Memorial, south of Walnut, Iowa. Photograph courtesy of Homer-Dog. Hat Tip, Wild Rye.


Silo tree in Eudora, Kansas. Photograph by notratched.
Silo tree near Lawrence, Kansas. Photograph courtesy of Ken Wolf.
Silo tree near Lawrence, Kansas. Photograph courtesy of Ken Wolf.
Silo tree near Lawrence, Kansas. Photograph courtesy of Ken Wolf.
Silo tree near Lawrence, Kansas. Photograph courtesy of Ken Wolf.
This silo tree was spotted two years ago, possibly in Doniphan County, on a trip to Kansas City. Photograph courtesy of monkey at war.
This tree is located on Highway 24 between Lawrence, Kansas and Perry State Park. The photograph won a juror’s merit award in the 2008-2009 Hays Five State Competition and is courtesy of A. Scott Mccauley
Another find by Ken Wolf! This tree is in Douglas County, Kansas. Photograph courtesy of Ken Wolf.
Silo with tree This silo tree is located in Jefferson County, Kansas. Photograph courtesy of Ken Wolf
Buck Creek, Kansas is home to this silo tree. Photograph courtesy of Ken Wolf. Silo with tree different view
Silo wlth tree Another find by Ken Wolf in Sibleyville, Kansas. Photograph courtesy of Ken Wolf.
Another silo tree from Sibleyville, Kansas! Photograph courtesy of Ken Wolf. Silo with tree


Dry Creek Road in Sparta, Kentucky is home to this silo tree. Photograph courtesy of Snassek.


A silo tree in Carroll County, Maryland. Photograph courtesy of melissss.


Tree Silo This abandoned silo and tree are on M-113 just past Cherry Speedway. Photograph by \o/ ** Amanda ** \o/


Tree in Silo This silo tree is between Minneapolis and Thief River Falls. Photograph courtesy of nicolepete23.


silo tree This silo tree can be found south of Kansas City on I-71. Photograph courtesy of bratlander.
A sassafras silo tree close to Historic Route 66 near Marshfield, Missouri. Photograph courtesy of Chase Davis.
The photographer believes this silo tree is along I-70 in Missouri, between Blue Springs and Kansas City. Photograph courtesy of jennamay.
A silo tree taken on US Highway 50, just east of Knob Noster, Missouri. Photograph courtesy of ancientlightstudios


Tree in Silo This picture was taken in Claremont, North Carolina which is in Catawba County between Hickory and Statesville. Photograph courtesy of
Hwy 27 in Western Lincoln County, NC gives you a great view of this silo tree. Photograph courtesy of dwhopkins. Tree in a Silo!
This silo tree can be found on Hwy 87 between Rieglewood, NC and Elizabethtown, NC. Photograph courtesy of XtinecoX.
This tree is off of NC-150 on McAlister Road near Lincolnton, NC . Photograph courtesy of kackiejane. Tree in SILO- Just East of Lincolnton


Once a Silo... by I'm Pastor Rick This tree is off of ND 3 South in Harvey, ND. Photograph courtesy of im pastor rick.


Darke County, Ohio is home to this silo tree. It is just west of New Madison on Richmond-Palestine Road, about a mile south of the intersection of Rush Road. Photograph courtesy of sismoon.


Tree growing in old silo This silo tree is located in northwestern Oklahoma just east of Carmen, Oklahoma. Photograph courtesy of marvin908.
Entitled “The Farmer’s Bud Vase”, this silo tree was photographed in Oklahoma. Photograph courtesy of Motley, Mundane and Obscura. The Farmer's Bud Vase
This tree is northeast of Alva, Oklahoma. It’s about a mile east of the highway and a mile north of the railroad tracks. Photograph courtesy of marvin908.
A silo tree north of Enid, Oklahoma. Photograph courtesy of marvin908.
This silo tree was spotted on Highway 81 near Chickasha, Oklahoma. Photograph courtesy of LaCresha.
Photographed in three different seasons, this silo tree is located between Adair, Oklahoma and Big Cabin, Oklahoma. Photograph courtesy of susan *tt*.


A tree grows in your silo This silo tree is located in Beaver, Oregon. Photograph by Scrunchleface.


The Silo Located on a small hobby farm in Watertown, South Dakota, this tree was photographed from inside the silo. Photograph courtesy of Jenah_Smith.
Entitled “Reclaimed”, this photograph captures a silo tree in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Photograph courtesy of Dakota Dave. Reclaimed


"Roundtree" of Roundtree Drive, Gallatin, TN Just starting to bud, this silo tree is located off of Roundtree Drive in Gallatin, Tennessee. Photograph courtesy of jasonabradley.


A silo tree in Lake Champlain’s North Hero Island, Vermont. Photograph courtesy of bob.berch.


Blacksburg - Silo Tree (Cropped) This silo tree is located off Tom’s Creek Road in Blacksburg, Virginia. Photograph by me!
A silo tree in Bedford County, Virginia. Photograph courtesy of WV Fan. Tree Farm
Tree in silo A silo tree at the Pearmund Winery in Broad Run, Virginia. Photograph by Sharron McClellan.


tree in silo This tree was spotted after an ATV outing in West Virginia. The photographer doesn’t remember the exact location– it could be in Kentucky or West Virginia on a backroad. Photograph courtesy of


This silo and its accompanying tree are near Reedsburg, Wisconsin on Country Road F. Photograph courtesy of loren1996.

To peruse more shots of this phenomenon, be sure to check out the Trees in Silos Flickr group.

If you have seen a Silo Tree of your own or have additional details on any of the trees above, let me know! I would love to expand this list!

February 20, 2009 at 1:00 am 48 comments

Battle of the Bullet Holes

I spent Tuesday afternoon at a Panera Bread in Roanoke, Virginia. The free Internet came in VERY handy in handling a variety of issues stemming from a recent email migration. Once all the fires were put out, it was time to hit the road and when I headed out into the parking lot, something caught my eye– A Ford Explorer with a bunch of those fake bullet hole stickers on its back.

Here’s a picture of it… next to my XTerra… which sports a REAL bullet hole.

Fake bullet holes, REAL bullet hole

Now based on the license plate, the driver of this vehicle apparently has a Purple Heart. That means even though the vehicle doesn’t have a real bullet hole, it is very possible the driver has remnants of a bullet hole on his/her person.

So in this particular Battle of the Bullet Holes– I think I lose.

(or win, depending on how you look at it)

February 18, 2009 at 9:31 pm 4 comments

Countdown to K’naan’s Troubadour

It’s only one more week until the new album from Somalian hip hop artist K’naan is available to purchase. I’ve been catching the previews and videos over the last few months and I have to say I’m pretty hyped about “Troubadour“. And to share my excitement, here are a couple of videos for songs from the new album. Enjoy!

Somalia (This video has a snippet of Rachel Maddow)


If you would like to see a little more of this artist, tune in to watch Jimmy Kimmel Wednesday night. K’naan will be making his first National TV appearance in the U.S.

February 17, 2009 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Charles Darwin, the Emetophobe’s Hero

Quesy Darwin

When I was young, my sister got ill while we were at my grandmother’s house. I ran and hid in a back bedroom. After my grandmother finished tending to her legitimately sick grandchild, she came and checked on her wussy, scared one. Meek and in a corner, I explained, “We second graders have a thing with throw up.”

Two decades passed, and I still found myself running away from sick loved ones. This time, I was fleeing my hospitalized grandmother. I left her behind and refused to go back in the room even when a nurse assured me it was “safe”. I was twenty-five years old. It wasn’t “We second graders”. It was me. *I* had a thing with throw up. There was a word for it – emetophobia and abandoning sick loved ones was just the surface. What was once a quirky part of my personality was starting to effect all aspects of my life.

I didn’t want to travel because people could get air sick. I didn’t particularly like infants as they tended to spit up. Eating out was stressful, especially if chicken or mayonnaise were involved as I knew of people who got food poisoning. I worried I would never want to have children because the prospect of morning sickness absolutely terrified me. I didn’t even know if I would have the courage to get married. After all, I heard more than one tale of a bride succumbing to her nerves and getting sick the night before. Stomach flu season paralyzed me. I wouldn’t want to touch anything. I wouldn’t be able to sleep and then I would worry about not sleeping because that would weaken my immune system right when I needed it the most. And worrying was the worst. History taught me that when I worried too much, I would get nauseous…which would give me even more to worry about.

It is my phobic history that gives me a great, unwavering appreciation of Charles Darwin.

In 1831 when Darwin was 22 years of age, he left behind his friends and family and the comfort of home to board a boat… on the ocean. When I was 27 and living in the age of modern wonders like Dramamine and prescription ear patches, I turned down a FREE trip to the Bahamas because I was scared of an hour long ferry ride between islands.

What deterred me from the Bahamas is exactly what happened to Charles Darwin. He got seasick. He got horribly, horribly seasick. He found that “nothing but lying in my hammock did […] any good” and raisins to be “the only food that the stomach will bear.” His letters and diaries used words like “dismay”, “misery” and “wretchedness”. He felt indignation at “finding all ones efforts to do anything paralysed” by seasickness. And he, of course, had second thoughts about the trip.

At noon Lat. 43. South of Cape Finisterre and across the famous Bay of Biscay: wretchedly out of spirits and very sick. I often said before starting, that I had no doubt I should frequently repent of the whole undertaking, little did I think with what fervour I should do so. I can scarcely conceive any more miserable state, than when such dark and gloomy thoughts are haunting the mind as have to day pursued me.

– Beagle Diary, December 30, 1831

I may have run away from my sister and my grandmother, but Charles Darwin did not run away from the boat that made him so ill. He stayed with the HMS Beagle for nearly five years.

When Charles Darwin returned home from his voyage in 1836, his digestive woes were far from over. For the remainder of his life he would suffer from a mystery illness. He was plagued with heart palpitations, vertigo, trembling, stomach pains and… vomiting. Horrible, horrible vomiting bouts. In the eight years Darwin worked on “Cirripedia”, he estimated he lost two years to illness.

Darwin, always the observer, noted his condition was aggravated by anxiety and stress. He wrote how his “health almost always suffered from the excitement” of receiving friends and he would endure “violent shivering and vomiting attacks”. In 1837, he turned down a job offer because “anything which flurries me completely knocks me up afterwards and brings on a b[ad] palpitation of the heart”. If routine every-day stuff like visiting friends and taking jobs agitated his attacks, can you imagine what a controversy like On the Origin of Species would do to his constitution?!? He had so much guilt he described his work as “like confessing murder.” Needless to say, the writing of On the Origin of Species was accompanied by repeated attacks.

As sick as he was, Charles Darwin didn’t scrap the manuscript.  He finished it!

With emetophobia I was lucky. I visited one cognitive behavioralist for about 18 months, suddenly I could go days without worrying about vomiting. Then weeks, then months, then years. I was no longer scared to eat. I was no longer scared to travel. I could live a normal life.

Charles Darwin was not as lucky. He visited over twenty doctors over the course of 500 months. He tried treatments. He tried spas. Of all the puzzles he was able to piece together, the cause of his illness alluded him. Speculation continues today– did he have Chagas disease? Did he have an anxiety disorder like me? Maybe he was lactose intolerant.

Charles Darwin died in 1882. After so many miserable moments, his final hours were filled with nausea and intense vomiting.

From the moment the Beagle set sail to his death, he faced nausea, regurgitation and worst of all– helplessness. Charles Darwin’s life was an emetophobe’s worst nightmare. And yet, he persevered. He accomplished great things.

Vomit, be damned!

February 15, 2009 at 11:57 pm 10 comments

Weekly Winners – February 8th – February 14th

This past week I was on a business trip to Wisconsin. On my way there, I got to fly over some of the Great Lakes which were completely frozen. I was lucky with the weather and it was actually relatively warm for Wisconsin. I spent some time one evening exploring the marshland behind the hotel. During the workdays, I worked at a bakery. Many pictures were taken (and many, many more calories were ingested). Once I was back home in North Carolina I took the dogs out to a park called “Fun Junktion” (It’s right next to a landfill) and discovered the red maples are flowering!

Michigan - Frozen Water
Ice near Detroit Michigan…from above

La Crosse - Marsh and Shopping Center (Portrait)
Dusk at a marsh behind Stony Creek Inn in Onalaska, WI

Bakery - Mixing Glaze In Front of Donut Line
A bakery worker prepares icing for donuts

Bakery - Workers Boxing and Falling Donut
Bakery workers package donuts. Meanwhile a reject falls off the assembly line.

Fun Junktion - Sky Reflection
Reflection of the sky at Fun Junktion

Fun Junktion - Starburst of Red Maple Flowers
Starburst of red maple flowers at Fun Junktion

More pictures of my business trip to Wisconsin and my outing to Fun Junktion can be found on my Flickr site. Also, be sure to check out more of this week’s Weekly Winners out at Sarcastic Mom!

February 15, 2009 at 2:28 am 15 comments

The Romantic Parasite

Earlier this week I learned that groundhogs could climb trees. I also learned that mistletoe (which is prevalent in Elizabeth City) is stealing from its host tree. The mistletoe penetrates the bark of the tree and snags nutrients and water. That means during the holidays when two lovers are kissing under mistletoe, they are actually kissing underneath a parasite*. Sort of like kissing under a tick… or a tapeworm.

Kissing Under A Tapeworm
Kissing Under a Tapeworm. How Romantic!

And for those of you who forgot your honey today– I remind you that I license everything Creative Commons. That means you are more than welcome to use my tapeworm image in all your professions of love.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

*Okay. It is actually a hemi-parasite because it does carry some of its own weight via photosynthesis

February 14, 2009 at 11:56 pm 4 comments

American Chestnut Cameos

This fall, Ryan Somma and I have been making cameos on the homepage of the Virginia Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation. We are just followers. The tree itself has been making cameos long before either of us were born.

Today is Abraham Lincoln’s 200th Birthday. Like many young men, Lincoln spent his youth chopping trees for split rail fences. When Illinois politician Richard J. Oglesby looked for a way to brand Lincoln’s campaigns, he wanted to find “one thing in Mr. Lincoln’s unsuccessful career as a worker that could be made an emblem.” That one thing was rail-splitting and it was effective! During the 1860 Republican Convention in Illinois, rails split by Lincoln and his cousin were brought in and held a banner that read, “Abraham Lincoln the Rail Candidate for President in 1860.”

With that aspect of his background getting so much attention, it is not surprising illustrations and paintings often depict a young Lincoln splitting rails.
Lincoln Splitting Rails
Three depictions of Lincoln Splitting Rails

And what is he splitting? Nowadays, split rail fences are made out of cedar. But back in Lincoln’s time, the American Chestnut, with its tall and straight trunks and its strong and rot resistant wood, was the tree of choice.

So, whenever we look at illustrations in history books or oil paintings on museum walls and we spy Lincoln splitting rails….

The American Chestnut is making a cameo.

February 12, 2009 at 8:00 am 4 comments

iNaturalists of 1805

A few weeks ago in my post on, I mentioned how past observations, even seemingly benign ones, could one day prove to be valuable data. I had two examples. Thoreau’s meticulous notes on when flowers bloomed and old family photos revealing when trees leafed. Today an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “Key to reviving Georgia’s chestnuts trees may lie in its past“, gives us another example– two hundred year old surveying data.

Nathan Klaus of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources noticed that when surveyors in 1805 documented landmarks of interest in the Georgia mountains, they included American Chestnut trees. Klaus is integrating the data from the old surveyor’s maps into GIS, painting a detailed picture of where American Chestnuts once thrived in Georgia.

Chestnut Distribution in Georgia in 1805

So…What does it matter where American Chestnuts grew over 200 years ago? They’re all dead and blight-ridden now, right?

Well, remember that meticulous backcross breeding program of the American Chestnut Foundation? Their blight-resistant chestnuts are starting forest trials. Once those trees are proven, they’ll be ready to be reintroduced into Appalachian forests. Nathan Klaus will already know where in Georgia the chestnuts favored the most. He’ll know the best places to plant.

Thanks to old surveyors, the iNaturalists of 1805.

February 11, 2009 at 6:45 pm 4 comments

Need “Season Compares”?

Just go to the Library of Congress Photostream on Flickr… and read the comment feed!

On this blog, I tend to share shots of the same overlook or hike for comparison. Sometimes the shots differ by a season, sometimes they differ by a few years.

The Library of Congress has been doing a great job of uploading old photographs into their Photostream for public use. I perused a number of the shots yesterday and discovered that the Flickr community have been documenting their own comparisons! The Library of Congress would post an old photograph and someone would comment with a link to a contemporary shot of the same place.

The LOC comparisons aren’t separated by mere seasons. They are separated by a century:

Bøyabreen Glacier – circa 1890 (Photo from Library of Congress)

Bøyabreen Glacier – 2006 (Photo by I’m Flickring)

Florence Griswold House 1910 (Cropped)
Florence Griswold House – 1910 (Photo from Library of Congress)

Florence Griswold House – 2008 (Photo by rbglasson)

Stortingsbygningen –
1890 (Photo from Library of Congress)

Stortingsbygningen – 2009 (Photo by hevold)

These three comparisons show us ice replaced by dirt, a large evergreen replaced by a baby one and a park replaced by pavement.

For more comparisons, maybe comparisons of your own, visit the Library of Congress Flickr site.

February 11, 2009 at 8:00 am 2 comments

Groundhogs in Trees

This past week has been very educational to me on the groundhog front. First off, Punxsutawney Phil taught me the error of anthropogenic climate change. Next, I learned that groundhogs are actually squirrels (Ah, so that’s why Squirrel Appreciation Day and Groundhog Day are so close together). Finally, and most surprisingly, I learned that groundhogs can climb trees. It wasn’t just a claim that groundhogs climb trees. There was also a supporting picture and, sure enough, it was a groundhog…in a tree.

But I wanted to see more. So I ran over to Flickr and typed in a search. Just like Cats in Suitcases, there are numerous shots of groundhogs in trees. Here are some courtesy of Creative Commons:

(Photo by ~Sage~)

(Photo by eggman)

(Photo by human39)

(Photo by jereandreagan)

(Photo by rblood)

(Photo by atalou)

Do you thirst for more shots of groundhogs in trees or perhaps have a sighting of your own? Welp, I just so happened to have created a new Flickr group.

Groundhogs in Trees. 🙂

February 10, 2009 at 8:00 am 11 comments

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