Today's newspaper featured a gardening column. Our area grows incredible grasses and flowers, but the palette is pretty darn narrow-cast, if also quite wide. That's because we get hot in the Summer, and yet get a few days of freeze in the winter. Well, it could also have something to do with the fact that all our soil is a red clay gumbo, and the wind dries everything, and trees grow only in riparian areas and over-watered lawns, or some such. Suffice it to say that while southern California, the southern Mediterranean Sea part of Europe, and Sydney have roughly the same plant environment, north Texas is more akin to various far away places where they have things called steppes and such and ride horses on the plain-o.
Today the question was about the "prickly ash" tree. The prickly ash looks like an ash, only it's prickly.
That is to say that it's one of those attractive scrub trees you might stop to admire, but for the fact that you usually stop to admire it because you got yourself stuck to it, somehow. Have you ever noticed how the most fascinating people and trees are sometimes a bit prickly?
I liked the newspaper column because it advised me of a new fact. I think that every newspaper column and radio program should be devoted to introducing me to one new fact each. The new fact here was that giant swallowtail butterfly caterpillars munch on the prickly ash tree. That explains why Trinity Trail, my local hiking ground, is so Summer-enriched with butterflies. Those curious trees with the ash look and the spikes must be prickly ash. See? Point taken, fact learned, rapture achieved.
It's the wrong season for giant swallowtails, although I've been amazed on my weekend walks lately at wintery moths that thrive when the thermometer rises to 60 despite freezing nights. But it enriches me, just a bit to know that they grow on prickly ash. I used to love the scrub oak in southern California, because it was a 6 foot oak that nobody loved but me. Maybe I can develop an affection for the prickly ash.
Everything needs a fan and a defender, I think. So, go prickly ash.
I watched Donald Trump's the Apprentice, in its season finale last night. I have become rather a fan of that show, against my better judgment. Last night the attractive Palo Alto blonde girl was edged by the attractive ex-West Point Angeleno brunette guy. I never realized that business was so attractive until they started playing it on television. I sighed, a bit, today, when I realized that I did not attend West Point, Princeton, Harvard, UCLA or any polo match in my storied life, and hence, I will never work for Donald Trump. I think I can live with that realization, as working for Donald Trump would not in my wildest dreams occur to me as a life's goal. I will have to thrive on being a graduate of fine Arkansas institutions, and a fan of the prickly ash, and a man who works in his own company, for the benefit of his own family. I was intrigued to see that the woman who lost last night works for a law firm at which I know a person or two. I thought her supervisor gave her nice praise. I never remember any review at a law firm going other than "here's a massive raise--we're not sure why we keep you". That's even the review I give myself.
I think, sometimes, how nice it will be when I know all the trees by names, and the birds by call. That's better than being the CEO of a subsidiary.