Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Northern Red Oak, walks in the park and kids driving trucks


"Why would anybody pay money to buy Northern Red Oak acorns when they are as common as dirt?"

Granted, Northern Red Oak seems to grow almost everywhere in Michigan except where the ground floods. But they are not EVERYWHERE.

The fact that they are so common speaks well of the species' adaptability. It grows rapidly and the wood is useful for any place a hardwood will serve and it is not vulnerable to rot. The wood also makes fine firewood and is exceptionally easy to split.

The reason I bought acorns was because this year was a dud. Furthermore, there is value in buying seeds from a place about 200 miles south of your current location. They have a little bit longer of a growing season and are more likely to put on one last flush of growth when the end-of-summer rains come. That comes at the cost of slightly less cold hardiness, but Northern Red Oak has cold hardiness in spades so I can afford to give some away.

Another advantage of acorns from a more southern seed source is that they tend to run larger. If I plant them directly in the field (or in this case beneath dead elm and ash) the trees establish better because the larger seeds have more gas in the tank, so to speak.

I purchased these on eBay and I would buy from this seller again. 

Walking the dogs at the park

Not much sunlight today

 A beech tree with an interesting trunk.

The S-10

I took the S-10 for a drive today. I had been letting Kubota drive it.

I planned to buy shredded bark and put it around some apple trees. That was not to be. The truck wallowed and wandered and roared.

A quick look beneath truck revealed three-of-the-four shocks were wet, that is, blown out. A little rocking of the body suggested the brackets for the stabilizer bar was no more. Oh, and it needs an exhaust system.

$360 later and I now have four shocks, stab-bar hardware and brake pads in hand.

I do have a gripe with the shock-absorber manufacturers. I really wish they would generate a chart that rated the "stiffness" of their offerings relative to factory OEM damping rates. They describe their products with bushels of pretty sounding marketing words, but after reading those descriptions I still lack ordinal information regarding Monroe OESpectrum vs. Reflex vs. Monotube's ability to dissipate the energy from hitting a pothole too fast.

Clearly, Kubota has been beating the crap out of the S-10. Given the nature of the roads in Michigan and the possibility that my youngest son might drive it again, I will gladly accept a harsher ride if it results in the suspension hammering the stops less often and with less force. The ERJ family is not a bunch of dainty folks.

I ended up buying the OESpectrums but I cannot give you a very good reason. It was one of five listed on the Monroe website for drivers who intend to carry loads in their trucks.

We run the thermostat cool around here

Stop complaining. Three months ago you were complaining about global warming.


  1. Exactly the same temp as here. I sometimes look silly with my orange thinsolate watch cap inside the house. There's way too many clothes on in bed but the heating bill trade off is worth it.

  2. When you bought the Acorns, did the seller give you a germination rate?

    When my brother sold Canadian Hemlock seed, the buyer wanted better than 90% germination rate.

    1. She did not. The acorns were a little light (drier than I like) when they showed up but I chalked that up to delays in shipping. I soaked for 24 hours and will stratify.

      I am curious. Do you mind what state or province you are in?

    2. I live in the upstate of SC. My late brother harvested the seed in the mountains of WNC. We also had/have Carolina Hemlock, but the last few years, the Wooly Aledgid was killing both of them off.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. I told Mrs ERJ to only use 239 beans in the bean soup but she chose to not listen to me.

      She insists on adding ONE MORE, and of course that makes it two-farty.

    2. ***earlier comment deleted due to BAD SPELING***
      @ERJ- You Michiganistanis must be tough. 62 degrees F is OK, but that wind speed of 27 mph in the house is rough !
      @Mike Guenther- Hemlock, eh ? Is there any way you can get your China Boy PM to take any of that ?

    3. The Hemlock grows in the mountains of WNC. See above.

  4. I pocket acorns from where ever I hike and plant them at home but if they sprout, I'm basically just feeding the deer. Frustrating.

  5. Ah yes, the 'mysteries' of shock settings... Good luck with that one, we've been trying to figure it out for years!

  6. We have too many oaks and not enough maples for what I'd like to do here. It's a sign of low pH soil which is bad for the pastures. But the sheep do like to eat the acorns, and I won't look down on free food. The wood stove has been on constantly for about a week now. We set the thermostat at 62 and manage the fire to keep the downstairs between 65 and 70. The goal is never to hear the boiler starting up.

  7. I leave my boiler at 60 and run the wood stove all day. Gets about 70-72 and I run a fan to blow into the back bedroom. Works out pretty well!

  8. I always by shocks that are listed as equal to original equipment. I have found that the 'improved' shocks are never worth the money unless you are looking at adjustable shocks for specific applications. For the run of the mill car or truck standard shocks will do the job just fine and unless you beat the crap out of your vehicle they will last as long as your car will.