After we sang to Sally, we set out on our field trip. The first thing we saw at Tudor Place was not a tree, but a humongous hole. Laura, the education coordinator (who was spectacular), explained many of the trees roots have been rotting from all of the rain. So they have two rain barrels, each the size of a school bus, they were putting inside of the giant hole to help catch the water and help with erosion.
The first tree we saw was the millennium tree, an enormous tulip poplar, over 200 years old. Normally, it grows in a forest and needs to go straight up to find the sunshine, but this tree grew in a field so it stretched its branches out wide. So wide that some of the branches reach the ground and were in danger of breaking under their own weight. The children had noticed the stumps and Jack asked "Why is that tree glued to that one?". Laura explained they placed stumps under the heavy branches to give them some support so the limb doesn't snap off. Even very big and very strong trees need a little help sometimes.
Next we went to see the fallen oak tree. The ground was so wet and muddy from all of the rain this summer that the roots couldn’t hold on. The tree fell over and they had to chop it up but are using as much of the wood as they can, because it is special wood from a very special tree. We practiced saying dendrochronology and got to help count the tree rings to figure out how old the tree was.
And at last, Frankentree. The children immediately made the connection to Frankenstein, which sparked conversations about monsters and ghosts. The catalpa tree was minding its own business when a princess tree seeded inside of it and cracked it open. Both trees continue to grow and blossom, but it is difficult to tell which branches belong to which tree.
We spent some time painting trees, and the favorite subject seemed to be the Franken tree. Then we had a picnic snack followed by chasing Gary around in the grass and trying to take advantage of every moment of our dreamy morning with the our amazing trees and amazing friends.
On the walk back we found a wood chipper that seemed to have devoured a witch hazel shrub. The children wanted to bring branches back to school, maybe because the blossoms smell so delightful. Leigh said, "It smells like candy!".
Thank you everyone for your company and help making today breezy and perfect.
by Lisa & Rachael
Pieces of Tucker Room experiences.