The sun came out to make the trees sparkle this afternoon, so I thought it would be a good time to document the State of the Sumac for January, 2011. This particular stag horn sumac has its lowest fruits 12 or 15 feet off the ground, and it's at the bottom of a snowy, icy, steep hill, so the best I can do today is this full-length portrait, complete with plenty of snow-coated red fruit clusters.
Like Sherry's dad, folks around here call this small tree/large shrub "shoe-make." They regard "sumac" as an affectation. It really isn't a case of me "getting above my raisin'" though, because my raising on the prairie didn't include this peculiar tree. I only know its name from field guides and botany classes.
This smaller, distressed sumac has been growing by an abandoned gate for many years, but it hasn't gotten more than 15 feet high. It has some lovely lichens, and I can get a bit closer to those peculiar clusters of fuzzy red sumac fruits.
Here you can see that the birds have been working on the dried fruits. One of the clusters is picked nearly clean.