Busy couple of days

Lots of variety. Thursday I was planting trees. Yesterday, I did some WAE work for State and watched Espen Matel band play. Today, I am writing up. Most of it is just personal, but I need to write up notes for State from the seminar I attended yesterday on “The US-Canada Permanent Joint Board on Defense at 80,” actual work.

Tree planting

Got the last tree in the ground and there was even daylight left. I planted the last box today, 334 trees.

Well, not the last forever. I will fill in a few more longleaf if I can get a few more boxes.

In a couple weeks, I also am getting 50 white oak, 50 swamp white oak and 300 shortleaf. This is mostly an experiment. I want to have some oak because I like oak. The shortleaf can grow with oaks or longleaf.

Shortleaf are the most widespread of southern pines, but tends to be in mixed forests. Shortleaf can survive fires, but it is not like longleaf. Shortleaf can burn to the ground and re sprout. This is very uncommon for pines. They also can produce lateral sprout branches. In fact, that is one way to identify them. But shortleaf get no respect. They are not cool like longleaf nor as practical as loblolly. But I think it will be good to have at least a few hundred.

Of course, I have natural regeneration of oaks and shortleaf on the property already, but it is nice to plant some new ones.

My first picture is a selfie with the last of the longleaf. Next is the day’s end coming out of the woods. Last is a frog. I almost stepped on him. He is well camouflaged.

Still (sometimes) working at State Department

I like to keep a few fingers in my old profession and I enjoyed listening to speakers and “networking.” I am not going to post the extensive notes. Suffice to say that Canada is heating up, both physically and metaphorically. The high north is heating up faster than the rest of the world and this is taking the Arctic out of the deep freeze. It could soon become an arena of great power conflict. The Russians are obviously playing up there, but the Chinese are probably more aggressive in the long run. Unfortunately, the homeland of North America will be less secure in future than it has been.

FDR originated The US-Canada Permanent Joint Board on Defense in 1940. He did it on his initiative, inviting then Canadian PM Mackenzie King to meet him on his train, where they hashed out a semi-alliance. This was pre-Nato days and even before the U.S. was in World War II, so was a bold move. Lots of people in those days thought that the Nazis would win the Battle of Britain and that Canada would be next on the Hitler’s list. The invasion probably would have come through Newfoundland or Labrador. These were really dark days. Roosevelt had essentially committed the USA to the defense of North America, as I wrote, it was a bold move even if it seems nature today.

The 80th anniversary of the agreement is coming up, so they had a nice birthday cake.

I went over to the Congressional Research Service after that. CRS is the gold standard of political research. Their task is to inform Congress on key events and issues. The reports are generally available to the public I got to go along with State colleagues to meet a couple of the researchers who cover Canada.

Beer belongs

I caught the Silver Line to meet Chrissy at Gordon Biersch at Tyson. That used to be a regular event for us when Chrissy worked nearby, but now is a rarer pleasure.

Espen sings

The big event of the night was Espen Matel playing with his band. I admit my bias, but I think they did very well. It was melodious music and not too loud (The band just before them produced a jaw-clenching cacophony.) Chrissy and I enjoyed watching Espen and his friends making music.

Unfortunately, I could not understand the lyrics, as the lead singer sings in Persian. I think they did well. The band is called Afarinesh. They just released their first album.

So, it was a busy day. As an old retired guy, I am unaccustomed to going through a whole day w/o a nap, but I made it from early to late.

Pictures are in reverse chronological order. First is Espen and his band. Next are Chrissy & I at Gordon Biersch. You see the Library of Congress in the middle picture. CRS is housed in LOC, although in the less impressive looking Madison Building across the street. The picture after that is cutting the birthday cake and the cake, and last is one of the panels at the Johns Hopkins Canada event.

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