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Tuesday 8 December 2015

The Birches

Birch, those tall stately trees, swaying in the breeze are a wonder to me. The Confederation Trail here in Prince Edward Island, Canada is, in places, lined with birch. From the new green of the bursting buds in the spring, 

to the full glory of the leaves in mid summer, it is the white trunks which enchant me 

with their grasp reaching through the earth and for the sky.

Then there is the autumn colour the trees provide. The trail this year had incredible colour as the deciduous trees, including the birch, gave up their foliage. 

This time of year, after the leaves have fallen, the sound of the wind making the trees creak as they swoosh and sway in the often gale-force wind, can be eerie if one is alone on the trail. 

However the beauty of the branches against the sky or the trunks through the forest are wonderful and near magical to me.

My love affair with birch began many years ago when we lived in Buchans, Newfoundland, but for a different reason. There we lived in a mobile home, which had electric heaters. The wind sailed through that trailer, so when our daughter was born, we decided to install a wood stove to supplement the electric heat. We built a porch and added a wood stove where we burned birch. Science can explain why birch burns so hot compared to some other types of wood. All I know is that it was comfortable and warm in the trailer when the stove was lit. I have not felt the same warmth in any house since we moved from Buchans.

Looking at birch these days, I am more enthralled with its esthetic value, not the heat it generates. There are times though that the thought of a camp fire with a few birch logs, where an old kettle boils water for a cup of tea, is very enticing. 


Shammickite said...

Great photos, I like those white tree trunks and branches. I agree, there's nothing like a wood fire, birch or otherwise, to keep a house warm. In my previous house we had a fireplace where we burnt coal, when we could get it. Now that's a wonderful heat! Can't get coal in this area any more.

Marie Smith said...

I don't remember coal heat but my grandparents had a wood, coal and oil stove. The birchy heat is cozy.

sousca said...

The silver birch trees make a lovely picture, I like the long trail disappearing in the distance - pictures like that give me the wanderlust.
Birch does indeed burn hot, though it burns away fast. Mixed with a couple of oak or yew logs it makes a good fire and last ages.
I notice Georgie has managed to get into the picture!

Marie Smith said...

Georgie is everywhere. Oak and yew were not common where we lived. You can imagine how much birch we used. PEI is very flat, compared to our previous home province. The trail is flat all across the island. A bend in the trail is welcome just for variety.

Anvilcloud said...

I didn't know about the heat thing, but birches are so striking. Life is a birch.

Marie Smith said...

Lol. Wish it was a birch, so much nicer than the other b word!