This morning we had our first hard frost of the season, with temperatures in the mid to upper 20s when we got up. However, the temperatures warmed very nicely into the upper 50s by mid-afternoon, under an almost cloudless blue sky and sunshine. We had a somewhat longer morning at church than usual this morning, as instead of leaving after we've sung in the third service, the pastor has asked the choir if they would stay until the end of the service for the next several weeks, whilst we are in the midst of a capital campaign to raise money to build a larger sanctuary and re-develop the existing buildings. Then, following the third service there was a short congregational meeting to elect officers. We had a great turn-out for choir this morning, and we sang well - must be the extra hour's sleep that did it! After lunch, we got out to enjoy the sunshine - walking at Glenwood Gardens.
The osage-orange shown in my blip is the fruit of a small deciduous tree or large shrub, typically growing to 26-49 ft tall. The fruit is about the size of an orange and it is filled with a sticky white latex sap. In fall, its color turns the bright yellow-green depicted. Despite its name, it bears no relation to the citrus family, but rather is a member of the mulberry family, It originally grew as a native in Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas, but has been widely naturalized in the United States and Ontario. The fruit is inedible for the most part, though the seeds of the fruit are edible. The fruit is sometimes torn apart by squirrels to get at the seeds, but few other native animals make use of it as a food source. This is unusual, as most large fleshy fruit serves the function of seed dispersal by means of its consumption by large animals. The Osage-orange is commonly used as a tree row windbreak in prairie states, which gives it one of its colloquial names, "hedge apple". The sharp-thorned trees were also planted as cattle-deterring hedges before the introduction of barbed wire and afterward became an important source of fence posts. The trees also acquired the name bois d'arc, or "bow-wood", from early French settlers who observed the wood being used for war clubs and bow-making by Native Americans. Meriwether Lewis was told that the people of the Osage Nation "esteem the wood of this tree for the making of their bows, that they travel many hundred miles in quest of it." Many modern bowyers assert the wood of the Osage-orange is superior even to English Yew for this purpose.
One year ago: Chapel in the country