Those rings show the early years of the tree, then the nine years it was totally unwatered, and this part of the central trunk was cut when we first moved here.
The place from which it was cut is shown (but in a current photo). That central trunk had dried up entirely.
Other branches came back, though, and it's a big tree now again. The photo below is three years old. It's doing even better now.
The leaf that appears on the main page of the Always Learning list is from that tree. It grew swirly for some reason. I thought it was pretty, and stuck it into the scanner with blue paper behind it:
Here's a 2008 Robin's nest Holly could see from her bathroom window, in the western tree:
The other tree is on the east side of the back yard, not so near the house, but the upper branches come onto the deck which is outside the library (the room above the garage). Keith put beams to catch water, and we have drained the hot tub here many times, so it continues to recover. Holly has always liked to climb it, and swing on the large, soft rope Keith put up in there years ago.
The top of that tree still has dead twigs up top, but the birds don't mind. Here are some doves Holly photographed in the eastern tree this summer:
One year all the leaves fell off that tree in a single day, from some odd cold snap, without wind. They were just on the ground in a circle. Our yard has benefitted greatly from compost made of the leaves of these trees.
And it can hold a piñata!