Showing posts from December, 2019

Woods Whys: "Why Are Fir and Spruce Trees so Conical?"

Christmas tree farm with fir, pine, and spruce.  As people head to the woods to pick out their perfect Christmas tree, check out this excerpt from  Woods Whys: An Exploration of Forests and Forestry  by Michael Snyder.        Ask any young child to draw a Christmas tree and chances are he'll draw something close to a triangle. If the kid is particularly tal­ented, she'll draw a cone. Indeed, the cone-shaped tree is as traditional as the holiday itself. Sure, there are the Charlie Browns among us who will settle for a less-than-perfect Christmas tree. But most of us look for a fir or spruce with just the right taper, symmetry, and conical form.      That conical shape is certainly the norm at most Christmas tree farms, and the short explanation for it is that the tree farmer shears them that way. Of course, there's more to it than that. Even if you are wandering afield in search of a wild Christmas tree far from any shears or knives, there are plenty of classic cone-sh

Join Vermont State Parks for First Day Hikes

An intrepid group of First Day Hikers ready to start the new year with adventure. Start the new year on the right foot with a hike in a Vermont state park. On January 1, 2020, everyone is invited to join a free, guided, family-friendly hike taking place at many state parks and forests across Vermont. Hikes will be led by professional guides and outdoor educators eager to share their knowledge and love of Vermont’s outdoors.  Don’t need a guide? No matter where you live in Vermont, a state park or state forest is always close by, and you can still get outside to enjoy it. State park entry is free on New Year’s Day (and all winter long). You’ll discover a whole new world in winter. Please dress for the weather and bring snowshoes if the snow is deep. Please also bring beverages and snacks. Dogs are welcome (on leash) unless otherwise noted. You don’t need to pre-register, just show up! To check the status of the hikes, call our First Day Hikes “Hotline” at 802-249-1230. Updated

Craft Corner: Nature Holiday Ornaments

Learn to make bark ornaments, pine cone elves, and twig snowflakes.  Want to enjoy the magic of the winter wonderland and the warmth of a wood stove? Bring the magic of the outdoors into your cozy winter abode! Stoke the fire, grab a cup of cocoa, and check out our round-up of nature-inspired crafts to celebrate the season. Remember: For crafts involving natural materials, only use materials that are no longer living. Bark Ornaments Supplies: bark, glue, sugar sprinkles or other natural materials to glue down, twine, scissors, power drill 1. Collect bark from a woodpile or the forest floor and dry it first. Break it up into smaller pieces. The flatter the pieces of bark are, the easier they will be to work with.  2. Create a shape in glue (like a circle to make a wreath or a triangle for a Christmas tree). Make sure not to go too heavy on the glue as it runs. 3. Add your sprinkles or other natural materials to the glue. Set aside to dry. For younger crafters, larger piece