Hurricane Sandy left behind her mark
As the winds and rain lashed out in the entire region from hurricane Sandy up and down the eastern seaboard , we all lost something in our lives. Super storm Sandy may not have hit the city of Baltimore as hard as other areas in the Northeast, but it did take an old quiet friend from us. This old friend has been around for over 400 years, and has seen historical moments in the city of Baltimore like the birth and decline of the (B&O) Baltimore and Ohio railroad, and our friend Edgar Allen Poe's poetic genius at work.
This dependable old friend had been growing strong for at least 117 years before Baltimore was even incorporated into a city with Lord Baltimore's namesake in 1729. This old friend quietly stood by and witnessed history like when Francis Scott Key wrote "The Star Spangled Banner", while witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry from a British prisoner of warship during the War of 1812. This old friend saw generation after generation come and go in the city of Baltimore, survived the great Baltimore fire of 1904, and the wrath of Hurricane Agnes in 1972, which at the time was the most costly hurricane in history. Sadly our old friend finally met it's end with Super Storm Sandy.
A difficult road lied ahead in the wake of Hurricane Sandy's damage, and there was a very long recovery for many, but this time there's was no saving this old friend. Hurricane Sandy claimed one of the city of Baltimore's oldest, and largest trees in the Druid Hill city park. An impressive Osage orange tree that has been estimated to be nearly four centuries old.
I first discovered the magic of this old tree about two years ago as I was walking through a flea market, and saw this weird looking green fruit for sale on one of the tables. After Asking, "What the heck is that?". I was told it was an Osage orange also referred to as a Hedge Apple. It is one of this world's natural insect repellants. You just simply put one in the room of a house, and it repels insects. I'm not going to say from my experience that it really works, but I can't say it doesn't work either. It's just one of the astonishing things in life.
The tree's name is derived from a Native American tribe. The Osage Indians of the southern Great Plains used the strong wood from Osage orange trees to make bows for archery. It was also discovered that wood from Osage orange trees make very good fence posts, prized tool handles, and other applications requiring a strong stable wood. Wood chips were boiled, and used by early settlers to extract a yellow dye. Reaching 40 feet in height, and 40 feet in width the Osage orange tree with it's dense crown of interlacing thorny branches is commonly used as a tree row windbreak in prairie states.
What makes our old friend very special is the fact that for some reason bugs don't like it. The fruit from the Osage orange tree can be used to attract and poison houseflies. The Osage orange can be used to repel spiders by placing one of these lime green balls under your bed. The Osage Orange also repels several different species of mosquitoes, ticks, cockroaches, and crickets. It's literally one of Natures greatest natural bug repellants, and you can just find one of these softball sized green balls laying around on the ground.
Hurricane Sandy caused a lot of destruction everywhere up and down the Northeast coast, but the loss of this prized 400 year old tree back to nature will leave a big emptiness in the city of Baltimore, and in our hearts. God bless everyone who was in the path, and affected by Hurricane Sandy.