Some Great Finds Today, NJ Barry Caselli
March 16, 2009


Today I took off from work even though I'm supposed to be off the layoff now. That's because I've had the flu or something since a week ago last night. So I bought a cup of coffee and a hoagie, and decided to go somewhere in Wharton SF to eat. I hadn't decided exactly where. But I drove up to the Batsto/Pleasant Mills church cemetery, and walked around, and took some pictures. Then I decided to go elsewhere to eat. I ended up at the state picnic area at the old Crowleytown (or Crowleyville) ghost town site. I'm very familiar with the site because I worked there on the weekends when I worked at Batsto in the late 1980s. Anyway, while there I noticed a particularly big red cedar. So after eating I walked to my truck and got the tape. The CBH turned out to be 8' 1 1/2". This is the second largest extant red cedar I know about. (The one at Seaville Methodist Church is 9' 7" or more.) While walking around I saw a tree that was hollow, and right at ground
 level you could look through it from one side to the other, seeing daylight through it. There was no bark that I could see. I said to myself, almost outloud, "There's now way that tree could possibly be alive." But no sooner did I say that, then I discovered that it was a Catalpa, and that it was alive, without a doubt. There were vertical strips of bark covering live wood in a couple spots on the trunk, plus a couple branches had a lot of bark on them, with old seed pods hanging from last year. Those Catalpas never cease to amaze me!
I took a lot of pictures of other red cedars there, and some other things including that Catalpa, and then walked across 542 to the Buttonwood Hill state campsite, which sits on the site of the Buttonwood Hill Tavern, of the late 18th century. Right away I noticed the largest extant wild black cherry that I've ever seen. It's very messed-up looking, but still very much alive. It's hard to kill a wild cherry. They are real survivors. I measured the CBH, which turned out to be 9' 9" !  I was very happy!
I then started to walk up a sand road into the woods. If memory serves, it is called Burnt Schoolhouse Road. I have to read my maps to see if I'm right. I walked up that road and saw a nice-sized Atlantic White Cedar that I decided to measure. White Cedars were all around me. The CBH turned out to be 5' 11". Not huge, but nice. I saw several with similar girth. But then later on I saw something I've never seen before- a mature Sassafras, in a forest situation no less. I had to measure it. It was not giant or anything, but I had to measure it, since it's rare to see forest-grown Sassafras trees living past sapling age. This thing actually had a larger trunk than the trees immediately around it. The CBH turned out to be only 5', but that's a good sized forest-grown tree. I was happy with all these finds, though the White Cedar was nothing to write home about. I took many lichen pictures too, for Jenny and whoever might be interested. I will get them
 together soon, with some others from other days, and I will probably put them all in my Photobucket account. I'll let everyone know once I've done that.
Take care,

Continued at: