Hearts of Oak

Oak tree

Hello, Nicola here with greetings on the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, 18th June 1815. I'm deep in deadline territory (the manuscript is due in today!) and I'm sitting here on a beautiful sunny day when I would far rather be outside enjoying the countryside. So I thought I would compromise – if I can't go out I can bring the countryside in. So I am blogging about an article I wrote a few years ago for my Public History course. It's a bit unusual but I hope it interests you. It's about the place of the oak tree in the history of Britain.

The Celts, the Norse and the Germanic races held the oak as sacred from pre-Christian times. In Greek, Roman, Norse and Celtic cultures it was associated with the storm gods Esus, Zeus, Jupiter, Donar and Thor because its size and low electrical resistance makes it more prone to be struck by lightning than other woodland trees. It was also believed to be a tree of prophecy and a channel for communication with the Gods. In Homer’s Iliad, Odysseus travels to Dodona to consult the oak tree oracle as to the plans of Zeus.

 

It was the Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus who used the term robur (from the Latin for strength) to describe the common oak. In doing so he was referring to a dual quality of the oak – its robustness as a living tree and the strength of its timber.  It is hardy enough to withstand attacks by pests and diseases, and extremes of heat and cold.  For thousands of years it has been used for construction purposes where durability was required. Its use for coffins also had a dual purpose. The strength of the wood in the physical sense made it a sound choice for burials but it was also chosen for the sense of safe passage that it conveyed in protecting the dead on their journey to the next world.

 

From the pagan image of the Green Man garlanded by oak leaves found in many parish churches to the Green man writing of Shakespeare and Keats, the oak has rooted itself deep in the British national consciousness and its influence is represented in many ways.

 

The Royal Oak is the second most popular pub name in Britain, after the Red Lion. Pub names are key words and phrases that unlock doors to social and military history, folklore, national heroes and heroines, natural history, dialects, trades, industries and professions, sports and the sometimes odd British sense of humour.

 

Royal oak pub sign The original Royal Oak was the Boscobel Oak near Shifnal in Shropshire where King Charles II and Colonel Carless hid from noon to dusk after the Battle of Worcester in 1651.  After the Restoration, the 29th May, the King's birthday was declared Royal Oak Day. Ironically, it was the popular cult of the Boscobel Oak that killed the tree itself; it was dead by the end of the nineteenth century because patriotic souvenir-hunters tore off its branches, thereby hastening its demise. The name, the cult and the link to the pub all live on in the Royal Oak ale now made by the Eldridge Pope brewery. It is described as: “A beautifully soft, well-balanced, bitter, strong, full-flavoured pint."

 

The association of oak trees with national heroes can be no coincidence. Where else could Robin Hood Robin hood have met his Merry Men than under the Major Oak in Sherwood Forest? The story could not have been the same, either visually or symbolically if the tree had been a silver birch. The joint symbolism of the hero and the talismanic tree is a powerful one. Here the qualities of both man and tree are entwined, representing once again strength, protection, durability, courage and truth.

 

Winchester round table The connection of hero and oak tree can also be traced through King Arthur, whose Round Table was said to be hewn from a massive piece of oak and whose coffin at Glastonbury Abbey – if indeed the coffin was Arthur’s – was made from a hollowed out oak tree. Other oak trees that have been associated with British heroes include the Elderslie Oak, which was said to have sheltered William Wallace and 300 of his men (that must have been a BIG tree!) and Owen Glendower’s Oak from which tree he witnessed the battle between King Henry IV and Henry Percy, Macbeth’s Oak at Birnam and Sir Philip Sydney’s oak tree at Penshurst. In all cases the trees are associated with or commemorate a war hero. They shed some of their strength and gravitas on the character, whose exploits mirror the timeless power of the tree.

 

It is significant that in most cases the oak tree in English folklore has been a symbol of loyalty rather than of revolution, whereas during the French Revolution the tree of liberty was often represented as the oak. Kett’s Oak, in Norfolk, however is a symbol of rebellion. In July 1549 Robert Kett led an uprising against the Crown to demand the end to the practice of enclosure of common land. He made a rousing speech beneath the oak tree on the village green in Wymondham and led a mob in the march on Norwich, where he captured the castle. Defeated by the Earl of Warwick, Kett was condemned for treason and hanged.  His oak tree lived on, however, and became a symbol of freedom from oppression. Under the name of the Reformation Oak it became a place of regular pilgrimage for political radicals.

 

In 1763 Roger Fisher, published Heart of Oak, The British Bulwark, in which he argued empires rose or fell Wooden wallk depending on their abundance or dearth of the oak. Fisher warned that the gentry were squandering the future by leaving woodlands to be destroyed by animals protected for the hunt, frittering away the birthright of future Britons so they might fund their passions for "horses and dogs, wine and women, cards and folly". "We are preying on our vitals," Fisher warned, "yet the bulk of the nation is insensible to it." It was left to the newly formed Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts to change attitudes. The Society offered prizes to those who planted the most trees – supremely the oak – but also the softwood conifers used for masts. As a result, acorn fever took hold. The great Dukes planted acre after acre of oak trees. Naval officers on leave, like Collingwood, went around surreptitiously scattering acorns from holes in his breeches in the parks of his unsuspecting hosts!

 

The title "Heart of Oak" had already been used for a poem by David Garrick, written in 1759:

 

“Hearts of Oak are of ships, hearts of oak are our men,

We always are ready, Steady boys, steady!

We’ll fight and we’ll conquer again and again.”

 

This used the image of the oak tree to represent the strength of Britain’s fighting men. Garrick was writing at a time of military success in the Seven Years War, when victories in the West Indies, Canada, India and off the coast of France had thwarted Louis XV’s plans to invade Britain. Botanically speaking, the heart or hearts of oak is the central part of the tree, which has no sap and was prized in shipbuilding. During Nelson’s time 2000 oaks would have been used to build a 74 gun warship.These ships were the "wooden walls" that protected Britain during the Napoleonic Wars. In Garrick’s poem the “hearts of oak” were both the British ships of the line and the men who sailed them. These were the stalwart defence, the protection against the ever-present threat of foreign invasion that had been a motif of British life for centuries.

 

Seahenge These days the British Houses of Parliament are panelled in oak, hard, plain, solid and austere. The power of the symbolism of the oak not only in history but also in the present day was demonstrated with the discovery of the Bronze Age timber circle at Holme in Norfolk in 1998. For some it was a spiritual site, a symbol of the beliefs and ideas of long dead ancestors. For others it was purely historical, a glimpse into a distant era that we can only read about in history books. For everyone it held its own magic as a direct and tangible link with the past.

 

The language of trees is in use every day. We are rooted in history, we branch out, we grow or re-grow, and we trace our family tree.  Genealogy is frequently represented by the image of the tree with its visible roots going down into the earth.  Even today the focus of many English villages is an ancient oak on a village green. In its shade people sit and talk. Notices pinned to its bark tell of fetes and fairs, marriages and funerals, items lost and found and other announcements of local importance. The oak has been and continues to be part of the fabric of life.  Do you have a favorite tree, or a tree that features in folklore or stories, or one that has played a significant part in local events?

80 thoughts on “Hearts of Oak”

  1. Fascinating, Nicola! I knew that oak was considered a strategic military material in the great age of sail, but I didn’t realize all the other powerful associations the oak has in the English consciousness.
    I’m trying to think of any comparable trees here. In the northeastern US, the maple is known for the wonderful syrup made from its sap, and there is a lot of lore on tapping the sap as it rises in the spring. It tastes lovely, too. *g* But–not the same as the oak.

    Reply
  2. Fascinating, Nicola! I knew that oak was considered a strategic military material in the great age of sail, but I didn’t realize all the other powerful associations the oak has in the English consciousness.
    I’m trying to think of any comparable trees here. In the northeastern US, the maple is known for the wonderful syrup made from its sap, and there is a lot of lore on tapping the sap as it rises in the spring. It tastes lovely, too. *g* But–not the same as the oak.

    Reply
  3. Fascinating, Nicola! I knew that oak was considered a strategic military material in the great age of sail, but I didn’t realize all the other powerful associations the oak has in the English consciousness.
    I’m trying to think of any comparable trees here. In the northeastern US, the maple is known for the wonderful syrup made from its sap, and there is a lot of lore on tapping the sap as it rises in the spring. It tastes lovely, too. *g* But–not the same as the oak.

    Reply
  4. Fascinating, Nicola! I knew that oak was considered a strategic military material in the great age of sail, but I didn’t realize all the other powerful associations the oak has in the English consciousness.
    I’m trying to think of any comparable trees here. In the northeastern US, the maple is known for the wonderful syrup made from its sap, and there is a lot of lore on tapping the sap as it rises in the spring. It tastes lovely, too. *g* But–not the same as the oak.

    Reply
  5. Fascinating, Nicola! I knew that oak was considered a strategic military material in the great age of sail, but I didn’t realize all the other powerful associations the oak has in the English consciousness.
    I’m trying to think of any comparable trees here. In the northeastern US, the maple is known for the wonderful syrup made from its sap, and there is a lot of lore on tapping the sap as it rises in the spring. It tastes lovely, too. *g* But–not the same as the oak.

    Reply
  6. In Rhode Island USA an early settler from England, William Blackstone, for whom the Blackstone Valley is named, gave sermons under a tree known as the Catholic Oak(not Roman Catholic). It’s location is still marked in Cumberland RI.

    Reply
  7. In Rhode Island USA an early settler from England, William Blackstone, for whom the Blackstone Valley is named, gave sermons under a tree known as the Catholic Oak(not Roman Catholic). It’s location is still marked in Cumberland RI.

    Reply
  8. In Rhode Island USA an early settler from England, William Blackstone, for whom the Blackstone Valley is named, gave sermons under a tree known as the Catholic Oak(not Roman Catholic). It’s location is still marked in Cumberland RI.

    Reply
  9. In Rhode Island USA an early settler from England, William Blackstone, for whom the Blackstone Valley is named, gave sermons under a tree known as the Catholic Oak(not Roman Catholic). It’s location is still marked in Cumberland RI.

    Reply
  10. In Rhode Island USA an early settler from England, William Blackstone, for whom the Blackstone Valley is named, gave sermons under a tree known as the Catholic Oak(not Roman Catholic). It’s location is still marked in Cumberland RI.

    Reply
  11. Wonderful post, Nicola. I knew about the oak and druidical associations, but there’s so much more — thank you for sharing.
    Many Australians feel strongly about the gum tree — the eucalyptus– which is our native tree. It’s strong, it’s resilient — it survives drought and fire and flood and brutal pruning –as the early European settlers found, it’s almost unkillable — and it’s beautiful. The wood of some varieties is just stunning.

    Reply
  12. Wonderful post, Nicola. I knew about the oak and druidical associations, but there’s so much more — thank you for sharing.
    Many Australians feel strongly about the gum tree — the eucalyptus– which is our native tree. It’s strong, it’s resilient — it survives drought and fire and flood and brutal pruning –as the early European settlers found, it’s almost unkillable — and it’s beautiful. The wood of some varieties is just stunning.

    Reply
  13. Wonderful post, Nicola. I knew about the oak and druidical associations, but there’s so much more — thank you for sharing.
    Many Australians feel strongly about the gum tree — the eucalyptus– which is our native tree. It’s strong, it’s resilient — it survives drought and fire and flood and brutal pruning –as the early European settlers found, it’s almost unkillable — and it’s beautiful. The wood of some varieties is just stunning.

    Reply
  14. Wonderful post, Nicola. I knew about the oak and druidical associations, but there’s so much more — thank you for sharing.
    Many Australians feel strongly about the gum tree — the eucalyptus– which is our native tree. It’s strong, it’s resilient — it survives drought and fire and flood and brutal pruning –as the early European settlers found, it’s almost unkillable — and it’s beautiful. The wood of some varieties is just stunning.

    Reply
  15. Wonderful post, Nicola. I knew about the oak and druidical associations, but there’s so much more — thank you for sharing.
    Many Australians feel strongly about the gum tree — the eucalyptus– which is our native tree. It’s strong, it’s resilient — it survives drought and fire and flood and brutal pruning –as the early European settlers found, it’s almost unkillable — and it’s beautiful. The wood of some varieties is just stunning.

    Reply
  16. Very interesting, Nicola.
    It’s so instinctive that I haven’t noticed it, but if I need a mystical tree, it’ll be an oak. Many other trees are wonderful, but for mystery and magic, it’s the oak.
    On the west coast of North America there’s a reverence for the large forms of redwood, spruce, fir, and cedar. They can be so huge and so old, and there’s huge natural energy in a big, old tree. They radiate it.
    IMO,
    Jo

    Reply
  17. Very interesting, Nicola.
    It’s so instinctive that I haven’t noticed it, but if I need a mystical tree, it’ll be an oak. Many other trees are wonderful, but for mystery and magic, it’s the oak.
    On the west coast of North America there’s a reverence for the large forms of redwood, spruce, fir, and cedar. They can be so huge and so old, and there’s huge natural energy in a big, old tree. They radiate it.
    IMO,
    Jo

    Reply
  18. Very interesting, Nicola.
    It’s so instinctive that I haven’t noticed it, but if I need a mystical tree, it’ll be an oak. Many other trees are wonderful, but for mystery and magic, it’s the oak.
    On the west coast of North America there’s a reverence for the large forms of redwood, spruce, fir, and cedar. They can be so huge and so old, and there’s huge natural energy in a big, old tree. They radiate it.
    IMO,
    Jo

    Reply
  19. Very interesting, Nicola.
    It’s so instinctive that I haven’t noticed it, but if I need a mystical tree, it’ll be an oak. Many other trees are wonderful, but for mystery and magic, it’s the oak.
    On the west coast of North America there’s a reverence for the large forms of redwood, spruce, fir, and cedar. They can be so huge and so old, and there’s huge natural energy in a big, old tree. They radiate it.
    IMO,
    Jo

    Reply
  20. Very interesting, Nicola.
    It’s so instinctive that I haven’t noticed it, but if I need a mystical tree, it’ll be an oak. Many other trees are wonderful, but for mystery and magic, it’s the oak.
    On the west coast of North America there’s a reverence for the large forms of redwood, spruce, fir, and cedar. They can be so huge and so old, and there’s huge natural energy in a big, old tree. They radiate it.
    IMO,
    Jo

    Reply
  21. Mary Jo, I love maple syrup though it costs a fortune over here in the UK. Worth it, though. It tastes delicious. And the leaves of the maple tree are so pretty as well.
    Lois, thank you for mentioning the Catholic Oak. I’ve looked this up and see that the tree became a symbol for Christians worldwide. I’ve added that reference to my article. Thank you!

    Reply
  22. Mary Jo, I love maple syrup though it costs a fortune over here in the UK. Worth it, though. It tastes delicious. And the leaves of the maple tree are so pretty as well.
    Lois, thank you for mentioning the Catholic Oak. I’ve looked this up and see that the tree became a symbol for Christians worldwide. I’ve added that reference to my article. Thank you!

    Reply
  23. Mary Jo, I love maple syrup though it costs a fortune over here in the UK. Worth it, though. It tastes delicious. And the leaves of the maple tree are so pretty as well.
    Lois, thank you for mentioning the Catholic Oak. I’ve looked this up and see that the tree became a symbol for Christians worldwide. I’ve added that reference to my article. Thank you!

    Reply
  24. Mary Jo, I love maple syrup though it costs a fortune over here in the UK. Worth it, though. It tastes delicious. And the leaves of the maple tree are so pretty as well.
    Lois, thank you for mentioning the Catholic Oak. I’ve looked this up and see that the tree became a symbol for Christians worldwide. I’ve added that reference to my article. Thank you!

    Reply
  25. Mary Jo, I love maple syrup though it costs a fortune over here in the UK. Worth it, though. It tastes delicious. And the leaves of the maple tree are so pretty as well.
    Lois, thank you for mentioning the Catholic Oak. I’ve looked this up and see that the tree became a symbol for Christians worldwide. I’ve added that reference to my article. Thank you!

    Reply
  26. Anne, I love that the eucalyptus tree is so significant for Australians. It’s such a beautiful tree and it’s fascinating that it has so many qualities associated with the Australian spirit as well.

    Reply
  27. Anne, I love that the eucalyptus tree is so significant for Australians. It’s such a beautiful tree and it’s fascinating that it has so many qualities associated with the Australian spirit as well.

    Reply
  28. Anne, I love that the eucalyptus tree is so significant for Australians. It’s such a beautiful tree and it’s fascinating that it has so many qualities associated with the Australian spirit as well.

    Reply
  29. Anne, I love that the eucalyptus tree is so significant for Australians. It’s such a beautiful tree and it’s fascinating that it has so many qualities associated with the Australian spirit as well.

    Reply
  30. Anne, I love that the eucalyptus tree is so significant for Australians. It’s such a beautiful tree and it’s fascinating that it has so many qualities associated with the Australian spirit as well.

    Reply
  31. Leah Marie, thank you! I’m so pleased you enjoyed the post.
    Jo, the oak does have something mystical about it, doesn’t it. The only time I have seen the huge forms of redwood and spruce was at an arboretum in the New Forest. They were magnificent, totally awe-inspiring.

    Reply
  32. Leah Marie, thank you! I’m so pleased you enjoyed the post.
    Jo, the oak does have something mystical about it, doesn’t it. The only time I have seen the huge forms of redwood and spruce was at an arboretum in the New Forest. They were magnificent, totally awe-inspiring.

    Reply
  33. Leah Marie, thank you! I’m so pleased you enjoyed the post.
    Jo, the oak does have something mystical about it, doesn’t it. The only time I have seen the huge forms of redwood and spruce was at an arboretum in the New Forest. They were magnificent, totally awe-inspiring.

    Reply
  34. Leah Marie, thank you! I’m so pleased you enjoyed the post.
    Jo, the oak does have something mystical about it, doesn’t it. The only time I have seen the huge forms of redwood and spruce was at an arboretum in the New Forest. They were magnificent, totally awe-inspiring.

    Reply
  35. Leah Marie, thank you! I’m so pleased you enjoyed the post.
    Jo, the oak does have something mystical about it, doesn’t it. The only time I have seen the huge forms of redwood and spruce was at an arboretum in the New Forest. They were magnificent, totally awe-inspiring.

    Reply
  36. Sherrie, here. Trees! How I love trees! And primeval forests. Here in rainy Washington State, we have an abundance of forests, mostly of the magnificent Douglas fir variety, though cedar, spruce, and hemlock trees also abound, as well as oak and maple. And despite our northernly clime, we have one of the nation’s largest rain forests: the Hoh Rain Forest (named after its companion, the Hoh River, Hoh being a local Native American tribe). The Hoh Rain Forest gets 12-14 feet (yes, FEET) of rain per year, and is composed mostly of spruce and hemlock trees, many of which soar to 300 feet.
    In my own pasture, I have Douglas firs that are over 100 feet tall. However, in rocky or poor soil, Doug firs can have a shallow root system and during a wind storm this makes them prone to toppling when the ground is saturated from rain. You wouldn’t believe the sound it makes as it crashes to the ground, and the huge WHUMP when it hits the earth.
    Funny story: during a massive rain and wind storm, I saw one of my Doug firs fall in the pasture. I watched in awe as it began to fall, then ran to the next window to catch the end of the fall. I was totally shocked at how tall the tree was as the tip of the tree hit the ground. After the storm I discovered why the tree had looked so tall–it was actually two trees that fell. The first tree had struck the second tree, and when I ran to the other window, it was the top of the second tree that I saw landing in the dirt.

    Reply
  37. Sherrie, here. Trees! How I love trees! And primeval forests. Here in rainy Washington State, we have an abundance of forests, mostly of the magnificent Douglas fir variety, though cedar, spruce, and hemlock trees also abound, as well as oak and maple. And despite our northernly clime, we have one of the nation’s largest rain forests: the Hoh Rain Forest (named after its companion, the Hoh River, Hoh being a local Native American tribe). The Hoh Rain Forest gets 12-14 feet (yes, FEET) of rain per year, and is composed mostly of spruce and hemlock trees, many of which soar to 300 feet.
    In my own pasture, I have Douglas firs that are over 100 feet tall. However, in rocky or poor soil, Doug firs can have a shallow root system and during a wind storm this makes them prone to toppling when the ground is saturated from rain. You wouldn’t believe the sound it makes as it crashes to the ground, and the huge WHUMP when it hits the earth.
    Funny story: during a massive rain and wind storm, I saw one of my Doug firs fall in the pasture. I watched in awe as it began to fall, then ran to the next window to catch the end of the fall. I was totally shocked at how tall the tree was as the tip of the tree hit the ground. After the storm I discovered why the tree had looked so tall–it was actually two trees that fell. The first tree had struck the second tree, and when I ran to the other window, it was the top of the second tree that I saw landing in the dirt.

    Reply
  38. Sherrie, here. Trees! How I love trees! And primeval forests. Here in rainy Washington State, we have an abundance of forests, mostly of the magnificent Douglas fir variety, though cedar, spruce, and hemlock trees also abound, as well as oak and maple. And despite our northernly clime, we have one of the nation’s largest rain forests: the Hoh Rain Forest (named after its companion, the Hoh River, Hoh being a local Native American tribe). The Hoh Rain Forest gets 12-14 feet (yes, FEET) of rain per year, and is composed mostly of spruce and hemlock trees, many of which soar to 300 feet.
    In my own pasture, I have Douglas firs that are over 100 feet tall. However, in rocky or poor soil, Doug firs can have a shallow root system and during a wind storm this makes them prone to toppling when the ground is saturated from rain. You wouldn’t believe the sound it makes as it crashes to the ground, and the huge WHUMP when it hits the earth.
    Funny story: during a massive rain and wind storm, I saw one of my Doug firs fall in the pasture. I watched in awe as it began to fall, then ran to the next window to catch the end of the fall. I was totally shocked at how tall the tree was as the tip of the tree hit the ground. After the storm I discovered why the tree had looked so tall–it was actually two trees that fell. The first tree had struck the second tree, and when I ran to the other window, it was the top of the second tree that I saw landing in the dirt.

    Reply
  39. Sherrie, here. Trees! How I love trees! And primeval forests. Here in rainy Washington State, we have an abundance of forests, mostly of the magnificent Douglas fir variety, though cedar, spruce, and hemlock trees also abound, as well as oak and maple. And despite our northernly clime, we have one of the nation’s largest rain forests: the Hoh Rain Forest (named after its companion, the Hoh River, Hoh being a local Native American tribe). The Hoh Rain Forest gets 12-14 feet (yes, FEET) of rain per year, and is composed mostly of spruce and hemlock trees, many of which soar to 300 feet.
    In my own pasture, I have Douglas firs that are over 100 feet tall. However, in rocky or poor soil, Doug firs can have a shallow root system and during a wind storm this makes them prone to toppling when the ground is saturated from rain. You wouldn’t believe the sound it makes as it crashes to the ground, and the huge WHUMP when it hits the earth.
    Funny story: during a massive rain and wind storm, I saw one of my Doug firs fall in the pasture. I watched in awe as it began to fall, then ran to the next window to catch the end of the fall. I was totally shocked at how tall the tree was as the tip of the tree hit the ground. After the storm I discovered why the tree had looked so tall–it was actually two trees that fell. The first tree had struck the second tree, and when I ran to the other window, it was the top of the second tree that I saw landing in the dirt.

    Reply
  40. Sherrie, here. Trees! How I love trees! And primeval forests. Here in rainy Washington State, we have an abundance of forests, mostly of the magnificent Douglas fir variety, though cedar, spruce, and hemlock trees also abound, as well as oak and maple. And despite our northernly clime, we have one of the nation’s largest rain forests: the Hoh Rain Forest (named after its companion, the Hoh River, Hoh being a local Native American tribe). The Hoh Rain Forest gets 12-14 feet (yes, FEET) of rain per year, and is composed mostly of spruce and hemlock trees, many of which soar to 300 feet.
    In my own pasture, I have Douglas firs that are over 100 feet tall. However, in rocky or poor soil, Doug firs can have a shallow root system and during a wind storm this makes them prone to toppling when the ground is saturated from rain. You wouldn’t believe the sound it makes as it crashes to the ground, and the huge WHUMP when it hits the earth.
    Funny story: during a massive rain and wind storm, I saw one of my Doug firs fall in the pasture. I watched in awe as it began to fall, then ran to the next window to catch the end of the fall. I was totally shocked at how tall the tree was as the tip of the tree hit the ground. After the storm I discovered why the tree had looked so tall–it was actually two trees that fell. The first tree had struck the second tree, and when I ran to the other window, it was the top of the second tree that I saw landing in the dirt.

    Reply
  41. Sherrie, I was sure that with your pasture you would have a good tree story or two and I wasn’t disappointed! Those Douglas Firs sound extraordinary. I’ve only ever seen a couple of trees that tall. And the sound they must make when they go down… A great pity, though, to see such a splendid giant toppled. One of the bits of the article I left out was that there was a hurricane force storm in the UK in 1703 and over 7000 oak trees were lost.

    Reply
  42. Sherrie, I was sure that with your pasture you would have a good tree story or two and I wasn’t disappointed! Those Douglas Firs sound extraordinary. I’ve only ever seen a couple of trees that tall. And the sound they must make when they go down… A great pity, though, to see such a splendid giant toppled. One of the bits of the article I left out was that there was a hurricane force storm in the UK in 1703 and over 7000 oak trees were lost.

    Reply
  43. Sherrie, I was sure that with your pasture you would have a good tree story or two and I wasn’t disappointed! Those Douglas Firs sound extraordinary. I’ve only ever seen a couple of trees that tall. And the sound they must make when they go down… A great pity, though, to see such a splendid giant toppled. One of the bits of the article I left out was that there was a hurricane force storm in the UK in 1703 and over 7000 oak trees were lost.

    Reply
  44. Sherrie, I was sure that with your pasture you would have a good tree story or two and I wasn’t disappointed! Those Douglas Firs sound extraordinary. I’ve only ever seen a couple of trees that tall. And the sound they must make when they go down… A great pity, though, to see such a splendid giant toppled. One of the bits of the article I left out was that there was a hurricane force storm in the UK in 1703 and over 7000 oak trees were lost.

    Reply
  45. Sherrie, I was sure that with your pasture you would have a good tree story or two and I wasn’t disappointed! Those Douglas Firs sound extraordinary. I’ve only ever seen a couple of trees that tall. And the sound they must make when they go down… A great pity, though, to see such a splendid giant toppled. One of the bits of the article I left out was that there was a hurricane force storm in the UK in 1703 and over 7000 oak trees were lost.

    Reply
  46. My favorite oak trees are the big, old ones along Highway 101 here in California between Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo.
    We have a couple of volunteer Scrub Oaks on our property that I like.

    Reply
  47. My favorite oak trees are the big, old ones along Highway 101 here in California between Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo.
    We have a couple of volunteer Scrub Oaks on our property that I like.

    Reply
  48. My favorite oak trees are the big, old ones along Highway 101 here in California between Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo.
    We have a couple of volunteer Scrub Oaks on our property that I like.

    Reply
  49. My favorite oak trees are the big, old ones along Highway 101 here in California between Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo.
    We have a couple of volunteer Scrub Oaks on our property that I like.

    Reply
  50. My favorite oak trees are the big, old ones along Highway 101 here in California between Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo.
    We have a couple of volunteer Scrub Oaks on our property that I like.

    Reply
  51. Sherrie, again. I just remembered an oak tree story. Back in 1966 when I was on my honeymoon in San Francisco, we visited a winery. They gave us a tour, and pointed out the incredibly gnarled oak tree near the building where they aged their wine. It was a massive oak tree, and they nicknamed it “The Old Soaked Oak” because one year its roots had gone through the dirt floor of the room where the wine was being aged, and those same roots worked their way into the barrels and sucked them dry! This resulted in the tree branches getting all twisty and deformed. I have an old Polaroid picture of that tree, and it makes me laugh every time I think of that story.

    Reply
  52. Sherrie, again. I just remembered an oak tree story. Back in 1966 when I was on my honeymoon in San Francisco, we visited a winery. They gave us a tour, and pointed out the incredibly gnarled oak tree near the building where they aged their wine. It was a massive oak tree, and they nicknamed it “The Old Soaked Oak” because one year its roots had gone through the dirt floor of the room where the wine was being aged, and those same roots worked their way into the barrels and sucked them dry! This resulted in the tree branches getting all twisty and deformed. I have an old Polaroid picture of that tree, and it makes me laugh every time I think of that story.

    Reply
  53. Sherrie, again. I just remembered an oak tree story. Back in 1966 when I was on my honeymoon in San Francisco, we visited a winery. They gave us a tour, and pointed out the incredibly gnarled oak tree near the building where they aged their wine. It was a massive oak tree, and they nicknamed it “The Old Soaked Oak” because one year its roots had gone through the dirt floor of the room where the wine was being aged, and those same roots worked their way into the barrels and sucked them dry! This resulted in the tree branches getting all twisty and deformed. I have an old Polaroid picture of that tree, and it makes me laugh every time I think of that story.

    Reply
  54. Sherrie, again. I just remembered an oak tree story. Back in 1966 when I was on my honeymoon in San Francisco, we visited a winery. They gave us a tour, and pointed out the incredibly gnarled oak tree near the building where they aged their wine. It was a massive oak tree, and they nicknamed it “The Old Soaked Oak” because one year its roots had gone through the dirt floor of the room where the wine was being aged, and those same roots worked their way into the barrels and sucked them dry! This resulted in the tree branches getting all twisty and deformed. I have an old Polaroid picture of that tree, and it makes me laugh every time I think of that story.

    Reply
  55. Sherrie, again. I just remembered an oak tree story. Back in 1966 when I was on my honeymoon in San Francisco, we visited a winery. They gave us a tour, and pointed out the incredibly gnarled oak tree near the building where they aged their wine. It was a massive oak tree, and they nicknamed it “The Old Soaked Oak” because one year its roots had gone through the dirt floor of the room where the wine was being aged, and those same roots worked their way into the barrels and sucked them dry! This resulted in the tree branches getting all twisty and deformed. I have an old Polaroid picture of that tree, and it makes me laugh every time I think of that story.

    Reply
  56. Wonderful post, Nicola. I love reading history like this, which makes the world around us, as well as the past, come alive.
    My state, Connecticut, is also know as the Charter Oak state. It involves you Brits trying to take back some of the colonists’ rights, But our intrepid forebearers here refused to give up their charter and hid it in a majestic oak.
    On a more personal note, the house where I grew up had two huge and very old oaks flanking it, so I have always had a special place in my heart for the species. Now, thanks to you, I appreciate them even more!

    Reply
  57. Wonderful post, Nicola. I love reading history like this, which makes the world around us, as well as the past, come alive.
    My state, Connecticut, is also know as the Charter Oak state. It involves you Brits trying to take back some of the colonists’ rights, But our intrepid forebearers here refused to give up their charter and hid it in a majestic oak.
    On a more personal note, the house where I grew up had two huge and very old oaks flanking it, so I have always had a special place in my heart for the species. Now, thanks to you, I appreciate them even more!

    Reply
  58. Wonderful post, Nicola. I love reading history like this, which makes the world around us, as well as the past, come alive.
    My state, Connecticut, is also know as the Charter Oak state. It involves you Brits trying to take back some of the colonists’ rights, But our intrepid forebearers here refused to give up their charter and hid it in a majestic oak.
    On a more personal note, the house where I grew up had two huge and very old oaks flanking it, so I have always had a special place in my heart for the species. Now, thanks to you, I appreciate them even more!

    Reply
  59. Wonderful post, Nicola. I love reading history like this, which makes the world around us, as well as the past, come alive.
    My state, Connecticut, is also know as the Charter Oak state. It involves you Brits trying to take back some of the colonists’ rights, But our intrepid forebearers here refused to give up their charter and hid it in a majestic oak.
    On a more personal note, the house where I grew up had two huge and very old oaks flanking it, so I have always had a special place in my heart for the species. Now, thanks to you, I appreciate them even more!

    Reply
  60. Wonderful post, Nicola. I love reading history like this, which makes the world around us, as well as the past, come alive.
    My state, Connecticut, is also know as the Charter Oak state. It involves you Brits trying to take back some of the colonists’ rights, But our intrepid forebearers here refused to give up their charter and hid it in a majestic oak.
    On a more personal note, the house where I grew up had two huge and very old oaks flanking it, so I have always had a special place in my heart for the species. Now, thanks to you, I appreciate them even more!

    Reply
  61. Sherrie, that’s a wonderful – and cautionary – tale about the oak tree at the winery!
    Andrea, thank you, I’m glad you liked the post. I love the story of the Charter Oak. Not impressed by the lack of intelligence on the part of the Brits, though. You would think that if we had hidden a king in an oak tree, someone might think to look in an oak for the charter!
    My favourite bit of the English oak tree story was thinking of people like Admiral Collingwood walking around dropping acorns through holes in his breeches. It reminded of the bit in The Great Escape when all the prisoners scattered the dirt from the tunnel-digging down their trousers!

    Reply
  62. Sherrie, that’s a wonderful – and cautionary – tale about the oak tree at the winery!
    Andrea, thank you, I’m glad you liked the post. I love the story of the Charter Oak. Not impressed by the lack of intelligence on the part of the Brits, though. You would think that if we had hidden a king in an oak tree, someone might think to look in an oak for the charter!
    My favourite bit of the English oak tree story was thinking of people like Admiral Collingwood walking around dropping acorns through holes in his breeches. It reminded of the bit in The Great Escape when all the prisoners scattered the dirt from the tunnel-digging down their trousers!

    Reply
  63. Sherrie, that’s a wonderful – and cautionary – tale about the oak tree at the winery!
    Andrea, thank you, I’m glad you liked the post. I love the story of the Charter Oak. Not impressed by the lack of intelligence on the part of the Brits, though. You would think that if we had hidden a king in an oak tree, someone might think to look in an oak for the charter!
    My favourite bit of the English oak tree story was thinking of people like Admiral Collingwood walking around dropping acorns through holes in his breeches. It reminded of the bit in The Great Escape when all the prisoners scattered the dirt from the tunnel-digging down their trousers!

    Reply
  64. Sherrie, that’s a wonderful – and cautionary – tale about the oak tree at the winery!
    Andrea, thank you, I’m glad you liked the post. I love the story of the Charter Oak. Not impressed by the lack of intelligence on the part of the Brits, though. You would think that if we had hidden a king in an oak tree, someone might think to look in an oak for the charter!
    My favourite bit of the English oak tree story was thinking of people like Admiral Collingwood walking around dropping acorns through holes in his breeches. It reminded of the bit in The Great Escape when all the prisoners scattered the dirt from the tunnel-digging down their trousers!

    Reply
  65. Sherrie, that’s a wonderful – and cautionary – tale about the oak tree at the winery!
    Andrea, thank you, I’m glad you liked the post. I love the story of the Charter Oak. Not impressed by the lack of intelligence on the part of the Brits, though. You would think that if we had hidden a king in an oak tree, someone might think to look in an oak for the charter!
    My favourite bit of the English oak tree story was thinking of people like Admiral Collingwood walking around dropping acorns through holes in his breeches. It reminded of the bit in The Great Escape when all the prisoners scattered the dirt from the tunnel-digging down their trousers!

    Reply

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