Photo by Hank Lohmeyer Delta County Sheriff’s Deputy recently introduced his new partner, Hoss, a two-year-old chocolate labrador retriever.A new member to the Delta County Sheriff's Office is a two-year-old chocolate labrador retriever named Hoss. His main job for now is sniffing out narcotics that increasingly find their way along the "back road" drug dealer route along U.S. Highway 50.More
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The headline read, "Capitol Sprucing Up."
It was about the Engelmann Spruce (175 feet tall) from the Meeker area being sent to the U.S. Capitol for a Christmas tree. And I thought, "That's nice!"
And then I wondered about the term "sprucing up." So to the dictionary. Fourteenth century "spruce" is a variant of Prussia and referred to things brought from there, including fine leather. Noblemen wore jerkins made of "spruce leather." The words "sprucing-up" were used in a 1676 drama, and so the word became a verb. This usually applied to people and their clothes, but the meaning has now been extended to the capitol of our nation.
But when I looked at the photo in the Grand Junction Sentinel, I thought of our trees on Grand Mesa, along with their companion trees, the subalpine fir. The subalpine fir has gray-silvery bark while Engelmann spruce's bark is brown and scaly. And the height of 175 feet brought to mind just the opposite condition: the twisted, dwarf Engelmann spruce at timberline that I studied on Cottonwood Pass.
The cold, wind, intense sunlight, and shallow soils result in these dwarf trees, labeled as "krummholz," a German word for "crooked woods." Those trees that manage to grow taller (10 to 15 feet) have limbs only on the side away from the constant winds: "banner trees."
Of course, many small creatures and birds shelter within these trees as well as many delicate alpine plants.
A precious memory.blog comments powered by Disqus