We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Took this lousy pic of a majestic White Oak on Saturday, growing on the edge of the marsh, on Constitution Island.
White Oaks are happy to grow near wetlands, and their acorns feed all sorts of wildlife. They are said to live 600 years. I have seen some huge ones surviving in woods where there had been pasture 100 years ago.
And it's the Connecticut State Tree, no less. And you who first taught me that? Chief Harold Tantaquidgeon, the afternoon my Cub Scout pack visited his Mohegan museum, oh, back in the early 1960s. There was a yard out back with a "long house" and other outdoor exhibits, including a young sapling with a tag on it "White Oak". I knew at the time of "oak" trees (we had one in our own front yard) but I was trying to imagine what a "white" oak might look like when it grew up. The Chief came over as my 8- or 9-year old mind was contemplating this and said, "Do you know what is special about the White Oak?" Then, after a pause, "This is the 'state tree' of Connecticut."
You've heard of "unsung heros"? Well, this is my "song" to the memory of Chief Harold Tantaquidgeon. Many in this part of Connecticut who were youngsters in my day -- before casinos and such -- carry a similar song for this kindly gentleman in their memories.
See? Actually, not so shabby a pic after all.
Ralph Thayer, New London
BirdDog - is it safe to assume you were in the above-referenced pasture 100 years ago?
White oak bark powder is truly a wonderful herbal remedy for healing diseased gums - it was my introduction into the herbal world. It is astringent and as such tightens body tissues to relieve bruising, stop bleeding and strengthen capillaries.
There was a grove of ancient white oaks on the NH State Hospital grounds in Concord, many of which remain. The oldest is about 330 years old and is falling apart, but a few others are in the 300 y/o range and still hale.
So Passaconaway may have seen that tree when he supervised the burning away of the undergrowth in order to improve hunting. They were still doing that every few years in the late 17th C, though they had ceased doing it annually decades before.
The hospital grounds have two state champions and six other county champions in their species, BTW.
Assistant VIllage Idiot