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Decidufir - A new species of tree

Decidufir Tree

We thought we had discovered a new species of tree when we came upon our first decidufir tree.

Do you see that the tree is roughly …

half conifer (a tree with needles rather than leaves)

and deciduous (a trees that loses its leaves each year)?

Can you imagine the possibilities presented by a tree that can do well in all seasons?

Considering how difficult it can be to survive in an area where the average snowfall is well over 200 inches. It could be very important.

This one is located near Copper Harbor at the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula on the north side of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Initially, we couldn’t find people who could tell us about the tree.  Either the people we asked about the decidufir knew nothing about it or they were unwilling to share what they knew.

Later, though, we picked up hints that locals have known about the tree for a long time.  It may have even been important to Native Americans for both medicinal and mystical reasons.  Some people feel it is a harbinger of climate change … telling us that winters may become more cold & snowy, while summers turn more hot and dry.

Who knows?  Do you?

We hope to explore this further, when we return to the area this summer.

Do you know about the Decidufir Tree?

Please share with us.

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Metal sculpture of bug mounted on rooftop.

Village Accountant Responsible for Monster Bug Attack

What does your accountant do to relax?

Mine creates large-scale metal structures.

More details coming soon in another blog.

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This photographic image of a monster bug metal sculpture was captured using a Samsung Galaxy S smartphone. The fireworks effect was added using Instagram (recently acquired by Facebook), while the text was added using the Evernote application Skitch.

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Double Eagle on the Fox

Two Bald Eagles

For the past year or more residents of the Dundee, Illinois, area along the Fox River have been watching the antics of a mated pair of Bald Eagles and their 2011 offspring. In early 2011 it was easy to distinguish the adults from the juvenile. The younger bird had not developed the white head and tail feathers and its efforts to catch food were clumsy.

I’m not certain of this, but I think the eagle on the right in the pictures above and below is the juvenile. That judgement is based on the rather submissive way it acted after landing on the perch next to the eagle on the left.

After watching and photographing this pair of Bald Eagles, I commented to my wife that we were having a Double Eagle” morning. She asked me what the double eagle phrase referenced. I told her it was a gold coin. She snickered and said, “Oh sure, a coin put out by one of those phoney commercial mints.”

Nope … a Double Eagle is a $20 gold coin that was first issued by the United States in the mid-1800s.

The “eagle” names given to gold U.S. coins are not nicknames; the “eagle,” “half-eagle” and “quarter-eagle” were specifically given these names in the Act of Congress that originally authorized them. Likewise, the Double Eagle was specifically created with that name. Since the $20 gold piece had twice the value of the eagle, these coins were designated “double eagles”.

Bald Eagles with Ruffled Feathers

The first double eagle was minted in 1849, at the height of the California Gold Rush. In that year, the mint produced the initial proofs.  Regular production began in 1850 and continued until 1933. Prior to 1850, eagles with a denomination of $10 were the largest denomination of US coin. $10 eagles were produced beginning in 1795, just two years after the first U.S. mint opened.  In 1850, the double eagle had the purchasing power of about $530 in 2011 dollars.

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