Common Oak Tree – Oak Tree
Oak trees are one of the most common types of trees found in gardens. They grow from a single trunk and branches. They have large, round leaves with dark green or brown stripes along their margins. These leaves are edible when cooked like spinach but they do not taste very good if eaten raw because they contain no vitamin C!
The wood of an oak tree is used for furniture, flooring, musical instruments and other things. The wood is strong enough to make weapons such as swords and axes. Oak trees produce fruit called apples which are delicious when eaten fresh but they are poisonous if consumed too early in the season.
Oaks are native to North America. They were introduced into Europe during the Middle Ages and eventually spread throughout much of the world. Today, oaks are found in many countries around the globe including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and India.
In general, oak trees prefer moist soil with lots of organic matter. However they tolerate dry conditions just fine. They grow best in temperate to cold climates with wet or dry soil.
Most oak trees shed their leaves each year. Mature oak trees tend to have few or no lower branches, forming a clear, open space beneath them when they lose their leaves for the year. In spring and summer, the leaves grow back again and they are fully functional.
In the old days there was superstition that said oak trees could talk but it was a long time ago that anyone believed that. Today, some people think that living things can’t be “alive” if they do not have a brain or central nervous system but this is nonsense.
A few people claim to have seen trees and plants moving slightly even though there is no apparent wind. This could be caused by air currents in the soil or water moving up through the roots. However it is more likely due to earthworms and small insects in the soil which move around quite a lot.
In the natural scheme of things, old oak trees are revered as sacred by certain primitive cultures around the world.
The biggest oak tree in the world is named “The Great Oak” and it is located in a small village called “Little Chesters” in England. The tree measures 21.6 metres around the base of its trunk and stands 69.1 metres tall. Its girth (width) at its base is 13.7 metres.
The trunk is hollow except for a few strong branches near the top.
The most popular tree species in the world by far is the oak and there are over 600 different types of oak tree.
In the northern hemisphere, oak trees typically lose their leaves in the winter and grow them again in the summer. This is why they are called “deciduous” which comes from a Latin word that means to “take away”.
The oak tree is also known as the “king of the forest”. The oak tree symbolizes strength, endurance, long life and resistance to fire. It has been a sacred tree for thousands of years because it can provide food, lumber and tannin for curing hides.
In England, acorns were often used as a unit of currency during the Middle Ages.
There is no wooden equivalent to metal or stone because wood is not strong enough for building or tools. Wood is used for far more things then it is capable of doing but it’s not the fault of the material, it is the limitation of our technology.
There are many different types of plants and trees on Earth. The term “tree” is a generic classification that includes several different groups such as shrubs, palms, ferns and so on. In fact, botanists do not even agree on how many “types” of plants and trees there are in the world.
Most plants contain cellulose and they require sunlight to live. Most of them also require water and some sort of nutrients.
The most common type of tree is the angiosperm. These are the ones that have seeds and fruit and a vascular system. The vascular system is what carries nutrients from the roots all the way to the leaves. This allows the plant to grow very tall.
The next most common type of plant is the gymnosperm. These are similar to angiosperms but they do not produce fruit or seeds and they have a different kind of vascular system that doesn’t extend to the leaves.
It has been suggested that there was a “missing link” between the two types of plants but this does not appear to be true. Instead, it is believed that the two groups of plants evolved separately.
The old growth forests of the past were far more dangerous places than they are today. Throughout most of history, humans were still relative newcomers to the playing field and had not yet had a chance to severely affect the natural order of things.
However, this was not true in North America where the Native American Indians had been living here for over 10,000 years. To them, the forests were a valuable resource to be utilized rather than a preserve to be kept in its natural state for the enjoyment of future generations.
As a result, most of the large animals had long since been exterminated and the forests were regularly set on fire by the Indians in order to promote new growth for the various food, timber and medicinal plants that they required.
In addition to this, much of the land was cultivated by them in some way or another. As a result of all this activity, there was not enough natural predators in the environment to keep the populations of the various herbivores in balance with their food supply and as a result many of them became overpopulated.
When the settlers arrived from Europe, they brought with them cattle, sheep, pigs, horses, goats and other domesticated animals that thrived in the environment. The large grazing animals soon overgrazed the land and ate all the grass down to the roots.
With no competition, they began destroying the natural habitat of the native wildlife. The numbers of deer, elk and other herbivores soon dwindled as a result.
As the population of the large grazing animals declined, so did their predators. Wolf packs suffered starvation due to the lack of available prey and many were killed by humans. With nothing to keep them in check, their numbers also declined. This allowed the populations of various herbivores to rebound.
Many of the predators that were once found in North America are now either extinct or endangered. Other species such as bears, mountain lions and coyotes are considerably more wary of humans than their eastern cousins, whose populations have rebounded due to the protection of the government.
These animals can still be found in various places throughout the continent but few places exist where you can actually see them. You can only imagine what this land looked like before the arrival of the first European settlers.
You have no idea how long you’ve been sitting here reminiscing about the old days, but the sun is starting to set and it will soon be night. Time to find a place to sleep.
You don’t want to risk sleeping in the open so you head off the road and into the forest in search of a tree that looks sturdy enough to support your weight and leafy enough that you’ll be able to sleep on its branches.
With night rapidly approaching, you need to find a suitable place to sleep. Sleeping in the open at night is dangerous because of the many nocturnal predators that roam about. You could head back down to the road and sleep underneath one of the trees.
You continue walking until you come across a thick clump of bushes. You crawl inside and curl up in preparation for what you hope will be a restful night’s sleep.
You’ve been walking for several hours and night is starting to fall. While you don’t exactly relish the thought of sleeping on the hard, cold ground, you’d prefer it over sleeping in one of these abandoned cabins. Most of them have the doors torn off the hinges and from the looks of it, they’ve been picked clean.
By now it’s getting harder to see and you still haven’t found a suitable place to sleep. Off in the distance you can see a faint light gleaming. It’s too bright to be a star and it’s not moving like a car would. Perhaps someone has built themselves a new home out here. It’s a long shot but maybe they have some spare bedsprings you can sleep on.
You head towards the light, clutching your walking stick tightly. The light doesn’t seem to get any closer no matter how far you walk but then it suddenly disappears. This gives you the impression that it must be a lamp of some sort because someone would have turned it off by now.
You press on and eventually come across a cabin — or what remains of one. The roof has caved in and much of it has fallen apart but it could still provide shelter for the night.
You go around to the front door which is missing its frame. As you’re about to step inside a voice calls out to you from the darkness.
“Hey mister, come on in. I got food and some coffee on the stove if ya want.”
You look behind you but can’t see anyone. “
This place is occupied?”
you ask, somewhat baffled by this revelation.
“Just two guys tryin’ to eke out a livin’ off the land,” the voice replies. “We don’t get too many visitors this far out.”
You’re not concerned that I’m a drug dealer or some other criminal?”
you ask, still unable to see the person who is speaking to you.
“Nah. There ain’t nothin’ worth stealin’ ’round here. You’re a hobo so you’re trustworthy an’ anyone tryin’ to steal from us would get their asses whooped real good,” the voice chuckles. “Come on in. The coffee’s still hot.”
You step inside the cabin and can now see its occupants. They’re both dressed in old blue jean overalls and are wearing thick woolen sweaters. They could pass for brothers. “I’m Louis an’ that there is my brother, Claude,” the man who invited you in says in a friendly tone.
“I’m…,” you start to say before you’re rudely interrupted.
“Hold it right there, mister,” the other man suddenly growls. He’s holding a double-barreled shotgun and it’s pointing right at you. “
Just who the hell are you?”
“Take it easy, Claude. He’s just a hobo. The least we can do is give him a night’s shelter,” Louis says in an effort to calm his brother down.
Are you the one that’s been stealin’ our chickens?”
Claude asks, still aiming his shotgun at you.
I haven’t stolen any chickens. Hell, I’ve never even been here before,” you protest.
“That’s not what I heard. I was told there was a drifter around these parts who has been stealing chickens.”
“I’m a hobo, not a drifter. There’s a difference. Hobos travel for work. Drifters travel without any purpose other than to drift from place to place.”
“Sounds like a drifter to me.”
If I was a drifter, do you really think I’d admit to stealing chickens?”
“I dunno. Maybe you’re just a selfish sonofabitch who doesn’t give a crap who he hurts or what he takes as long as it’s for his own self-interest.”
You don’t have a response to that. The man has summed you up perfectly.
“OK. I’ve heard enough. Put your hands in the air and get over to the wall,” Louis commands.
You raise your hands and do as you’re told.
What are you goin’ to do? Shoot me?”
you ask in a blase tone.
“Oh no. My brother here is going to do that,” Louis says in an almost friendly tone. “I however have a more important job to do. I’m going to skin you alive and then hang you out to dry.”
You swallow with some difficulty as you now realize these two men aren’t just crazy, they’re psycho. “Waitaminute. I didn’t kill no one,” you protest lamely.
“The hell you say!
Didn’t you just admit you’re a selfish sonofabitch who steals whatever he wants?”
“Yeah but…!” you begin to say before Louis butts in.
But you were going to say that there’s a difference between an innocent man and a chicken, right?
Well, you’re half right. There is a difference between a chicken and an innocent man.”
What the hell does that mean?
Louis, you said you were gonna skin this guy alive and I want in on that!” his brother exclaims.
“I’m getting to it! Now shut up an’ let me finish!” Louis snaps at him. He turns back to you and continues, “That difference is, a chicken can still provide for his family after he’s dead. An innocent man, can’t.
Now hand over your wallet. It’s time to make a sacrifice to the greater good.”
Unable to come up with any reason to not comply, you take out your wallet and toss it over to Louis. He snatches it from the air and quickly opens it and begins flipping through the contents. “You might have more luck collecting some chickens if you had a horse, mister,” he says as he returns your ID and removes all the money from your wallet, handing the rest back to you.
“Yeah. Maybe I should try borrowing one from you two,” you say, trying to keep a lid on your anger. You know it won’t do any good to show your anger toward these two, but dammit if you’re going to let these two pushovers walk all over you. “Or perhaps I could barter with you for it.”
Barter? You got anything we might want?
I don’t see you carrying around a guitar or a harmonica. And I don’t see you as the singing type,” Louis says.
“I’ve got talents you’ve never even heard of,” you protest.
“Let me stop you right there, friend. I doubt if you could impress us with your talents, much less intimidate us,” Louis says. “We’ve seen it all before. If anything, you’re more likely to anger us.”
You purse your lips and say, “Fine. I’ll just ride off into the sunset then and forget this whole thing.”
“Oh well now you can’t do that,” Louis says in a tone that sounds almost caring. “You see, you admitted you were a thief, so that means we’re morally obligated to turn you over to the nearest lawman.”
You snort. “Don’t make me laugh. You would’ve done that anyway once you got my money.”
“Oh no,” Louis says seriously. “Stealing is wrong, but lying… That’s a whole ‘nother matter. If we’re lucky we can get people to pay us not to lie to them…
Most of the time though they’re pretty pissed when we tell them the truth after wasting our time.”
“You’re unbelievable,” you mutter.
So, are you going to be taking that horse and heading on your way, or are you going to stay here and waste our time some more?”
Grinding your teeth, you climb up onto the horse and decide what you’re going to do.
You could keep arguing. You have a sneaking suspicion that the longer you argue, the more Louis will think you’re lying and attempt to turn you in.
You could try to bribe them again. This time promise them more money once you reach your destination.
You could try to ride off before they realize. You doubt you’ll get too far, but it’s worth a shot.
The nagging feeling that this wouldn’t end no matter what option you choose makes another choice available to you…
You could start the lie from before again, but this time you could tell them that you’re a famous assassin. You could continue on about how your appearance is really common among your people and how the law is afraid to enforce the law around your kind. If they believe that you’re threatening their lives, they’d probably let you go just so you wouldn’t kill them.
You can only hope that your acting ability is good enough to pull that one off.
Also, if you’re going for the assassin story, you can skip the bribe since those people would be afraid for their lives already.
Now which one will it be?