Thursday, October 7, 2004


Ralph Kreider, secretary & editor of the Illinois Nut Tree Association (parent organization here), stopped by our house this morning to take a branch from the female ginkgo tree in our front yard. (Well, he just pulled up in the drive and helped himself, but I was feeling neighborly and he was venerable, shall we say, and we had a good long discussion about ginkgos and oaks and I wound up thanking him for stopping by and inviting him to come on over anytime to show off the tree.)

It seems that male ginkgos are common in the area, including our south yard (the tree on the left in the picture), but this is the first female of the species Mr. Kreider has ever seen. Ginkgos are unusual in that each tree is a specific gender; the female ginkgo bears nut-like seeds. These make the female unpleasant as a shade tree because during the autumn the fallen seeds produce butyric acid which also gives rancid butter its overpowering stench.

More ginkgo information here.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

On this feast of Mary

Here are some texts for today's Mass from the 1966 Saint Joseph Daily Missal and Hymnal from the Catholic Book Publishing Company. As far as I can tell this was the last official "Englishing" of the Tridentine Mass before the Mass of Paul VI was introduced in 1970. It's satisfying to note echoes of the apparition at Lourdes in these texts: flowers appear; the cleft of the rock; the watered land and so on.

Gradual Canticle 2:12; 10:14

The flowers appear in our land,
the time of pruning has come,
the song of the dove is heard in our land.
Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one,
and come!
O my dove, in the clefts of the rock,
in the secret recess of the cliff.

Alleluia, alleluia.
Show me your face,
let me hear your voice,
For your voice is sweet
and your face is beautiful. Alleluia.

Or, after Septuagesima,

Tract Judith 15:10; Canticle 4:7

You are the glory of Jerusalem,
you are the joy of Israel,
you are the honor of our people,
You are all-beautiful, O Mary,
and there is in you no stain of original sin.
Happy are you, O holy Virgin Mary,
and most worthy of all praise,
For with your virgin foot
you have crushed the serpent's head.

Communion Antiphon Psalm 64:10

You have visited the land and watered it;
greatly have you enriched it.