Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Slime Flux

Yesterday, our doggies didn't want to go outside in the rain to do their business and what not, and the only way I could change their minds was to accompany them, so Silkworm and I went out in the yard and walked around with them. I tossed Kylie's Frisbee and kicked Woody's toy around for a while, and then a spot on our climbing tree caught my eye.

'Twas foaming at the mouth! "Rabies!" I cried. (It looked a lot worse yesterday.) We went to inspect it, and sure enough, dozens of foam spots dappled the tree. When we looked around at the other five trees, unto our surprise, they had a few spots, as well. Initially, I figured it must have been caused by the rain--that the sap turned to foam in the rain and I'd never noticed the phenomenon before--but upon further research on the handy dandy Internet after returning indoors, we were enlightened to the fate of our trees. It's slime flux!

Slime flux is quite an icky disease in trees where in the victim tree succumbs to a bacterial attack and ends up smelling like fermenting gook and oozing all kinds of frothy sap. Supposedly, it can be caused by any kind of stress, so to be absolutely sure of our diagnosis, we thought back to what might have been considered stress in the past few days or weeks--and then, ding ding, we have a winner! A few days ago, after a blizzard dumped a foot of snow on the ground, the temperature suddenly spiked to 55 degrees and all of the snow melted overnight. That can't be healthy, we thought. What's more, the worst infected tree happens to be our climbing tree, the one my dad drilled pieces of wood into for steps. It also looks to have suffered lightning damage once upon a time, as it's missing its top. The slime flux theory was building plausibility. We're almost positive that's what it is, though we're no tree experts.

As much as I think I should be making soup for the sickly trees, I must say, "Our trees have slime flux" is a pretty silly phrase and I can't help smiling when I say it. Slime flux. Is that not the coolest disease you've ever heard of? Unfortunately, my Internet resources tell me there is no known cure. Our trees are simply destined to a fate of living with chronic slime flux. The only way to ameliorate it is to lessen the stress on the trees, but not to remove anything nailed into the tree because that only causes more stress, so therefore it seems Silkworm and I may never sit in our climbing tree's limbs again, and the steps will be there taunting us. Sob, wail, cry! I will miss sitting up in that tree.

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