To make up for my two recent text-only posts, here is a photo-centric one.
We went walking yesterday and found the stump of this huge tree, probably a Black Willow, but I don't really know my willows that well, and there's a kerjillion of them and they hybridize.
Looks dead, huh? Nope, not quite.
There were clumps of fresh sprouts coming out of the trunk. Sure, you can cut through a five-foot trunk and remove probably 100+ feet worth of tree. But that doesn't mean that it's dead.
There were, however, decomposers making quick work of the trunk.
(Note: this picture is larger than life; in reality the millipede-looking things (anybody have an ID?) were about half and inch long and about the thickness of a sewing needle.)
And then in the rotting-trunk-turning-into-dirt, we have what looks like a Box Elder seedling sprouting.
If everything survives, and the Box Elder keeps growing in the middle of a clump of willows, it's possible the willows and Box Elder could graft themselves together and create some bizarro franken-tree. I wonder if the trunk will decompose quickly enough for the Box Elder to grow, or if it will just grow through the trunk to reach the soil. That is also possible: willow is a fairly soft wood, and while I don't personally know Box Elders that intimately, other trees' roots can grow through stone to reach water or soil if they need to.
And then, party just to show off my camera, here is a neat picture of a fly I took on the willow. Anybody have an ID for that? About an inch long, with a one inch wing span. I didn't even realize until I uploaded my pictures onto my computer that it had a stinger. Maybe I shouldn't have gotten so close to it, huh?