Tuesday, October 30, 2007
The Golden Tamarack
Are you taking time to notice the subtle and not so subtle changes in nature around you? As seasons change, delight can be found in observing nature's changes. The color change of the deciduous trees is magnificent this time of year. Colorful oak, sycamore, maple, and birch leaves are changing from vibrant greens to yellow, red, and gold. Even in the evergreen forest, surprises await. During the spring and summer, the tamarack appears to be an evergreen. Actually, it is a deciduous conifer, thus it's needles change to a beautiful golden color and it sheds it's needles every autumn. The tamarack stands in striking contrast among the other trees of the forest each fall. This beautiful tree also goes by other names, including the common name "Larch". The tamarack tree has food and medicinal qualities. According to Alma Hutchins, a tea can be made from 1 teaspoon of the inner bark of the tamarack that is boiled and steeped for 30 minutes in a cup full of water. Many health benefits are obtained from this simple beverage. Other benefits also are obtained from this majestic tree. For the past thirty years, Brent and his father have shared many enjoyable times together as they have gathered tamarack wood for the family's wood stoves. Taking only dead or downed tamarack, they have helped clear the forest floor of debris and have appreciated the benefit of it for home heating. Although there's much sadness when a large tamarack falls during winter storms, I've noticed that once spring arrives, their chainsaws and their muscles do swift work in gathering the wood for the next winter's use. In their estimation, there is no other wood quite worthy of their wood stoves. It's become somewhat of a tradition for them --- the tamarack expedition to the woods every fall.