The Tree Report

In this report I will discuss what a tree is, how trees naturally support our environment, what sort of life inhabits them.


Deciduous Trees

Deciduous Trees

In our forest the trees are deciduous; that means they loose their leaves. The majority of trees in our forest are post oaks, but we also have juniper, and cedar elms. These are called outliers. Our forest is a biome.

Trees are a huge part of our environment. Their dead leaves make beautiful soil for the undergrowth. The dead branches create a home for bugs and fungi, and trees give out oxygen, and breathe in the carbon dioxide we breathe out. Giving out oxygen is a big help in our polluted world.

If you look at a tree compared to a human, outside the difference is obvious, inside we have somethingin common with trees.  Think about it, a tree’s sap is like our blood. The tree actually has organs, like we do. The tree’s three basic organs are the roots, the stem and the leaves.

Micro Biomes 

A tree is a micro biome. A tree is like its own environment.  It has all sorts of small mammals, birds, bugs, fungi, and parasitic invaders. The parasitic invaders are things like mistletoe. They eventually suck all the life out of their tree.




Fungi grow on dead branches and wood.  This orange fungus is similar to the Alder Bracket tree fungus.

Tree fungus.

Tree Fungus


More Tree Fungus

More Tree Fungus

Mammals like squirrels make hollows and sometimes eat the fruits from their host tree. Squirrels around here eat acorns from oaks.  Birds nest and raise their young in branches out of the way of humans and predators.Their nests often have leaves and twigs from the host tree.  Woodpeckers make hollows in trees 16-18 inches deep for their nests.

Bird's nest

Bird’s Nest

Insects eat bark and leaves on trees.  They also put their egg sacs on branches, leaves, and twigs. Bees build their hive on and in the sides of trees. Wasps leave galls which are plant deformed plant tissue which act as nurseries, on leaves. Some predators leave their catch in trees which is a perfect feast for an ant colony.

Bee Tree

Bee Tree

Galls on a small oak tree

Galls on a Small Oak Tree

Lichen is supported by trees, especially dead trees. The first is foliose, sea green and will grow on things like tree branches. The other one is shrubby looking and it has orange platforms on it. Please see The Lichen Report for more information.

Foliose Lichen

Foliose Lichen


Reece, Jane B., et al., Campbell Biology (ninth edition), Benjamin Cummings an imprint of Pearson,2011. for information Alder Bracket.

Alsop, Fred. J, III, et al., Birds of Texas, DK Publishing Inc. 2002



Bob and Sox at Easter

Bob has a sister. His sister has a son and daughter. Bob loves his niece Izzy and his nephew Roosevelt (or Rosie for short)  very much.

It was the day before Easter. Bob was talking to Sox about how much Izzy and Rosie loved the challenge of finding Easter eggs, when Sox exclaimed,”Bob! We should make a machine that can hide Easter eggs in hard to find places!”

Our Easter Display

Our Easter Display

“We could call it the Easter Egg Hider! The idea is perfect, Sox!”

Sox made coffee while Bob gathered up supplies. They made blue prints and then they started on the invention.

After seven hours of intense concentration, they were finally able to stand back and admire their hard work.

The Easter Egg Hider had an extendable arm, a waterproof metal covering, and a small pad for programming it to hide Easter eggs.  It had a sensor that looked at the environment and logically found places to hide eggs.  It had the appearance of a large egg on legs. It was a beautiful piece of work. Sox had done one of her famous painting jobs.

Bob stuffed it full of vibrantly colored kitty treat eggs. They were ready for Izzy and Roosevelt.

Bob woke up at seven the following morning. He called Sox, she said she would be over at eight. Next he called his sister Lainey, she was going to get there at nine.

Sox and Bob let the Egg Hider go and gosh was it wonderful. It put eggs in places not even Sox would look, and Sox was very creative in Easter Egg hunts. Some eggs were peeking out of birds nests, others on a lily pad in Bob’s pond.

When Lainey and her kittens got there, everyone joined in the fun. It took the entire day for them to find all sixty eggs. The kittens would race each other to eggs, and when they found two in the same area they would yell, “Over here!” Then at the end of the day Izzy and Rosie, as if it were rehearsed, yelled together, “BEST EASTER EGG HUNT EVER!”

Book Report: Johnny Texas

Johnny Texas

By Carol Hoff

Illustrated by Bob Meyers

Published by Jenkins Publishing Company, 1977

In the book Johnny Texas, the family is German. Johann (a.k.a. Johnny) and his father learn English. The mother Clara still isn’t too thrilled about the move, and refuses to learn English.

They buy a farm, some cows, chickens, and horses, and settle down into a one-roomed cabin. The mother isn’t too thrilled about this either. She is generally worried about wild cats, coyotes, rattle snakes, Indians, and the safety of her son.

Johnny asks his father why his mother is so worried. The father Robert tells him that his mother is homesick and was born and raised in the city. Then for the reason of protecting her, Johnny’s father teaches him how to shoot. Clara doesn’t like the idea of her ten year old boy shooting.

Robert brings home a slave named Tobias. Clara and Johnny disagree with this action. Clara asks Robert if it is really right to deny another human being the freedom and liberty they came to this country for. Robert finally agrees to free Tobias. Tobias then works for wages on their farm.

Then another surprise comes around Christmas. Johnny’s mother gives birth to a baby girl. The baby is named after her mother, Clara.

Soon after, Robert decides to fight with Sam Houston and his men against the Mexicans. To be safe Johnny and his mother move away from the cabin. Whether Johnny Texas and his family survive is for you to find out.

A note from Ella’s Mom: I think that  Johnny Texas was originally published in 1950 by Wilcox & Follett.  One of my elementary school teachers read this book aloud to our class.  That was in the 1960s, and I remember being very excited because the story was about a German family.  Now I know that Johnny’s story is probably very similar to what many German settlers in Texas experienced.


The Pups’ Adventure

Finn was running. Cosmo was trotting and James was loping. They were going at different speeds but all heading to the same stock tank. It was a hot July day and the pups were panting up an ocean. The people were taking a walk so the dogs came too.

When they arrived, Finn went up to the pond and started gulping down great mouthfuls of brown pond water. As soon as he could James joined his little buddy and did the same. Cosmo came trotting beside his people. The festivities were about to begin.

James took the lead in the “Swim to the Middle of the Pond” race. Finn was literally on his tail. James won by a paw. Cosmo was meanwhile warming up for a “‘Round the Pond Relay Race.” Cosmo was in second place. Finn won first.

It was time for their next stop Pond 2. Pond 2 was bigger, better and was for the duck chasing prize. Cosmo was first to the pond, within seconds a flock of ducks came shooting out of the pond. Cosmo did a victory lap. Finn came streaking after him, they played “Get All Wet and Stinky and Splash Pond Water On the People.”

When they got back home, they settled down to a bowl of celebratory Fourth of July dog food.

Zentangle a Day, the Real No. 14

Mom read a great quote from designer and colorist Kristin Nicholas:  “Don’t compare your year 2 to my year 18.”  Or something like that.  Ella had been having a crisis of confidence in Zentangle drawing lately.  She kept comparing her drawing skill to Mom’s.  Mom took a page from Kristin’s book, and said, “Don’t compare your year 11 to my year 54!”  It’s a big difference in experience!

Today, Ella seemed to regain her confidence.  She took her time and, even though she was frustrated with one of the patterns today, she drew a striking Zentangle.

by Ella

by Ella

by Mom

by Mom