Sunday, July 31, 2011

Black Ash Samaras

Donald A. Windsor

As indicated in my posting of 23 July 2011 on this blog, I mentioned needing photos of Black ash samaras (the winged fruit carrying the seed).

On Thursday morning 28 July 2011, Anne Altshuler, Joyce Post, and I went to the Adams Farm, a Rogers Center property, in the Town of Sherburne.  I had located some Black ash growing there on 25 May 2009.

We quickly found the Black Ash grove in a swamp standing on a year-around seep, on the southwestern side of the 4th pond (the south-easternmost pond).  Several dozen Black Ash trees grow here.  Most are small enough to grasp with one hand and shake. 

The one in the photo below required two hands.

We were finding no trees with samaras.  Spice bushes was so thick that we could smell them when walking among them.  The spice bushes had berry-like fruit. 

But then the sharp-eyed Joyce Post spotted a large Black Ash.  The photo below shows the trunk of the tree, which measured 36.5 inches circumference at my breast height, for a diameter of 11.6 inches.  This was the largest Black Ash we could find in this grove.

 The photo below shows how the samaras appeared under it, on the mud floor of the swamp, among the skunk cabbage. 

 I picked up a representative sample of about 30 samaras.  The photo below shows them in the top 2 rows.  The right column shows White Ash samaras for comparison; they were picked up under a tree on East Main Street in Norwich.  The white Ash is our most common ash locally.  In this swamp, they were growing along side the Black Ash, but we did not find any of their samaras.

In the closer view below, the Black Ash samaras are on top.

Note that the seed portion of the Black Ash samaras are so flat that they are almost undetectable.  Whereas the seed portion of the White Ash samaras are noticeable, palpable swellings.  Note also the wider and slightly twisted samaras of the Black Ash.

Anyone finding Black Ash any where in Chenango County is encouraged to notify me.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Black Ash

Donald A. Windsor

Now that Dave Walker's dugout canoe has been identified as being a black ash log, it behooves us to try to determine whether the log was cut locally.  Perhaps it was transported here from somewhere else.

Tom Knapp found this message in The Morning Sun 1893 February 10.

 "Lumber  I am prepared to furnish hemlock, black ash or spruce lumber to   order.  Orders may be left at my office in Norwich, or with Lewis brothers, sawyers, or Pharsalia, N. Y.  Will C. Moulton"

This newsclip shows that black ash were being sold locally in the late 1800s, over a  century and a half after the canoe was made in 1725.  It seems possible that these black ash were harvested locally.

Black ash (Fraxinus nigra) is a native and still remains in Chenango County today, although it is uncommon.   Even though it grows in wet areas, it does best where the water moves enough to be aerated.  It is associated with American elm, red maple, balsam fir, black spruce, hemlock, yellow birch, alder, dogwood, willows, and blueberries.  It is intolerant of shade; it requires full sun.

The record size for black ash is 87 feet tall and 58 inches (4 feet 10 inches) diameter at breast hight, for a tree in Ohio.  A diameter of 12 to 24 inches is more common.  Our canoe is about 24 inches across at its widest point, so it was made from a choice specimen.

This information is from:  Silvics of North AmericaVolume 2 Hardwoods. Washington, DC: USDA Forest Service.  1990.  Pages 344-347.

Here are some photos I took along the Chenango River at the Rogers Center on 24 May 2009.

 Here are two photos I took at the Adams Farm on the same day.  These trees grow in a seep that flows all year.

I still need a photo of the samaras.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bone Weaving Tools from Vaillancourt/Bigford

Edwin Gibson

 I found two bone tools on the Vaillancourt/Bigford site (OND - 19) when digging with the Wednesday group during the summers of 1995-2000.  The top soil had been scraped away by a bulldozer and I found the artifacts about 6 inches below the surface.

  Peter Pratt thought they could be weaving tools.  David Moyer also thought that they were weaving tools and that the notched tool (a shuttle) and the other tool were used in the making of fishing nets.

Editor's note:  Ed brought them to our Thursday 7 July 2011 meeting. 

Dan Noble, Josh Sheldon, and Loma Wilkins look at Ed's tools.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Canoe Built During 1720-25 Per Dendrochronological Analysis

Dave Walker's dugout canoe was probably built during the years 1720-25, according to the dendrochronological analysis of Dr. Carol Griggs of the Cornell University Tree-Ring Laboratory.

David Moyer presented the results to us at our meeting on Thursday evening 7 July 2011.

Gail Merian's estimate of 1700-29 came the closest, so she won the Golden Canoe award.  The trophy was obtained by John Antonowicz.

 Bob Mason's estimate of 1725-50 came close, so he won the Runner Up prize of a Chinese warrior buried in clay.  Gail presented the award.