Bug Zapping Right and Left

Image copyright Fred First Okay, I’m trying to blog outside the box. Or actually inside the box of Blogjet as opposed to freeform in NoteTab Pro’s html editing mode that I’ve been using now for four years plus.

First, let me say how great it is to feel like blogging is a two-way enterprise once again. And then to thank you folks for hanging with me through so many twists and turns to get here, a place I trust will be FFF’s home for some time to come.

From What Sean P tells me, Blog Jet should give me more flexibility with images than I’ve had before (as it takes over some of the formating and sizing operations of posting images) and I hope will become my new normal SOP for getting blogs up every day. However, I’ve grown used to NoteTabPro as an archive of all my past posts and not sure how I feel about giving that up. I have been able to search the NTP file much faster than searching the blog via its search function. There will be trade-offs, for sure.

So, we’re working out the kinks. Got to get up the bloglist and other sidebar items, and don’t think Blog Jet helps with sidebars. Could be wrong. I want better links to image galleries, and better, more thought-out image galleries in the future. I want to do more podcasting—if not the full audiobook thing—and post those links in a permanent part of the sidebar.

I want my little images back up in the banner, and to rotate them weekly or at least monthly. (I’d also like to get the colors I chose for links and such to actually appear when I save my template changes. So far, not working. Trust me: I didn’t chose purple text, I just can’t get rid of it. Bleccch!)

I want to do more writing, though in truth, I will probably do LESS blogging in coming months if my next project gains momentum as I hope it will. But then, you’ll be hearing more about that as soon as I get my head around it.

Well, TGIF. It’s Miller Time. And btw, you should be able to comment now without signing up for a blogger account. We’re squashing bugs every step of the way (no offense to my arthropod friends intended in this figure of speech, understand) and getting back into the blog-groove. Yes!

Fall Leaf Fall

image copyright Fred First

It fascinates me that a leaf knows when its time has come to fall. Perhaps some combination of day length and temperature gives the signal. But maybe it’s just the good taste to abort, an inner sensitivity to the needs of the whole that gives its parent tree a chance to hibernate with its blood gone underground for the winter, safe from freezing. Whatever the signal for the moment of leaf launch, I’m glad they don’t all get the same idea on the same day.

First, the walnut and basswood and spicebush leaves fly in the first winds of tropical storms or sudden thunderstorms in late summer. The poplars and hickories, cherries and sumacs have the good manners to wait a while, until after a leaf has had the proper opportunity to strut its chameleon color changes during October before finally falling, drab and shriveled, in a north wind on a bleak November day.

An oak leaf will refuse to let go until December, clacking and waggling brown and brittle in the cold breeze. The serrated leaves of a smooth-boled American Beech turn almost white and become so thin and light they hang like feathers and seem to move on their own, even on a still January day. This year’s beech leaf may stay on the twig until next spring’s tiny new leaf evicts it, finally, pushing it out and away, off into space, down to the black soil among the first of the spring mustards and violets.

Leaves enter my fantasies this time of year. I have wondered about them, individually, and as a race. If all of the leaves from the countless trees on our acres here fell and did not decompose by the following spring; if this happened year after year, how many years would it take to choke off all growth along the forest floor? Should our woods remain alive after even one year of such a calamity, which is doubtful, how many years of leaf-fall would it take to completely fill the bowl of our valley to the rim?

If all these same leaves from our small valley could by some fairy-industry be stitched together, edge to edge, would it make one huge leaf, big enough to dress all of the New River Valley or Virginia?

And if a curious person was to lie on his back in these woods for a day, could he learn to tell all the leaves to species merely by the pattern of their falling from the tree when the air is still? My hypothesis is yes, and I gladly volunteer to undertake the research.