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NCW-Helen the Elm Tree (standard:non fiction, 698 words)
Author: hvysmkerAdded: Oct 19 2005Views/Reads: 2551/0Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Do you see that tree sitting alone in the middle of a snow covered field? Do you think it's lonely sitting there? If so, you'd be surprised.
 



Helen the elm tree stands in the middle of a corn field.  Since farmer
John plows around her every year she doesn't have any tree neighbors.  
She's been standing there for many, many years. 

In the winter she stands alone in a universe of white.  On top of a
little hill,  she looks so forlorn and lonely.  But Helen is anything 
but lonely.  She has a family of squirrels sheltered in her exposed 
roots.  They've dug a warm haven, sheltered by Helen's majestic toes. 

Some families of ground hogs live under her sheltering branches, too
close for farmer John to plow their burrows.  Rabbits often camp nearby 
and visit Helen, cleaning up the shrubbery around the bottom of her 
trunk. 

She also gives winter shelter and food to many little creatures.  There
are thousands if insect families living in her trunk and branches.  
Some of them sleep all winter, cuddled in little caves carved inside 
her strong branches.  Others are even closer to her.  They live in her 
skin itself, which is all right for a tree.  You wouldn't like them to 
live in your skin but trees don't mind. 

In the spring, Helen grows  many, many leaves on her long branches.  The
squirrels come out and run along them.  The other animals leave their 
nests and run all over the area.  They leave during the day and eat 
tender shoots growing in the field.  Most of them return at night 
though.  They feel safe in Helen's strong embrace, while field mice 
play all night long, squeaking nasty words at the owls and hiding under 
roots where the owls can't find them. 

Many birds come to visit.  They tell Helen what is happening all over
the world.  Birds like to talk a lot and love gossip, just like Mommy.  
Some of them stay until the cold weather comes. 

When farmer John plows the field around Helen the animals all hide in
her many branches and roots.  The tractor makes a lot of noise but they 
know they are safe there in Helen's care. 

Farmer John plants his corn and soon the fields are covered with green. 
Not only corn grows there.  Many other plants called weeds grow in the 
fields.  The animals and insects have many things to eat.  Some of them 
grow very fat, especially the ground hogs. 

When summer comes,  Helen offers shelter from the hot sun to her
friends.  In the morning and afternoon they huddle under her branches, 
cool with a nice breeze from the fields.  The birds build their nests 
and get ready to have babies.  The groundhogs get so fat they have to 
make their tunnels bigger.  The squirrels start gathering seed to store 
for the next winter.  While insects have many babies and soon get in 
everyone's way. 

Then comes the fall and Helen starts to lose her many leaves.  They
change color to red, yellow, and even brown.  Then they just fall off, 
making beds for her tenants.  Farmer John comes with a big machine and 
cuts down all the big corn stalks.  He takes all the ears of corn and 
most of the stalks. 

Again the animals hide on and near Helen for protection.  When farmer
John leaves, he takes his big machines with him.  He always leaves a 
lot of things to eat behind, though.  The ground hogs get even fatter 
and get sleepy.  Soon they will go to sleep, and sleep until the next 
spring.  When they wake up they will be skinny again.  All their fat 
will keep them warm in the winter.  When they sleep all their fat will 
also keep them from getting hungry until spring. 

The birds will have baby birds and keep everyone awake with their
crying.  Insects will start laying eggs for the next year in Helen's 
warm skin.  The squirrels will still be busy collecting seeds and nuts. 
 They stay home in the winter time and eat everything they have 
collected. 

And then winter will come again and snow will cover the fields like
before.  Helen will again look so cold and lonely, sitting in the 
middle of a snow covered field.  But we know better now, don't we? 

Charlie 


   


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