I grew up in Kansas, where hedge trees were much used instead of fences. The apples have another use: they make pretty flowers when cut up in slices, stem end up, and dried slowly in an oven or microwave. Add stems and artificial leaves. You can even color them with food coloring.
Catherine Gaines, Kansas City
Many long years ago, when we lived in Louisiana, my husband carved a large piece of Osage orange. At the time we thought it was a southern tree and found it the most wonderful wood to sculpt. The color, saffron, gradually turns over years to a marvelous golden brown. It is dense, hard and great.
Regan Kenner, Canton
For the last two years, my neighbor and I have gathered hedge apples in mid to late September and have placed one in each room of our homes. The results are amazing! I have found very few insects or spiders in the house, and the ones I have found are either dead or dying.
This is so much better and less expensive than the chemical pesticides I formerly used.
Deborah L. Reed, Mokane
I was born and raised in Nodaway County, and know the Osage orange well. We used it to heat and cook with, as well as for fence posts.
We now live in Springfield and in our back yard is a hedge tree 65 inches in diameter. As yet it has never produced any fruit, but it gives us much shade and provides nesting places for the birds.
Mary Bilby Rupe, Springfield
My folks have 360 acres in Bates County with several hedge rows. One way to get Dad's dander up is for someone to suggest bulldozing the hedgerows down and putting in barbed wire fence.
My Dad whittled a baseball bat from hedge. That was one bat, though crude, that his six kids didn't break. I grew up with the nickname hedge ball.
Arneta Hedges Marshall, Granby
When I was a kid in school we blasted each other with this yellow stain known as hedge apple to me. How do I get seedlings to plant trees on my seven acres, or do I use the actual seed from the tree?
William E. Bone, Farmington
Editor's note: Osage orange and other tree seedlings can be ordered from the Conservation Department using an order form found in the "Application for Planting Stock 1995-96," available at District Forest Offices, county University Extension Centers, Conservation Nature Centers and Conservation Department offices in St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, Columbia and Jefferson City. Or you can request one from: Conservation Department Forestry Division, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, 65102-0180. Phone: (573) 751-4115.
I couldn't count the times over the 10 years I owned a bait and tackle shop in Illinois that I had to catch and take to the vet ducks that had become tangled in discarded fishing line or plastic pop can holders. Some ducks lost legs and others nearly starved because plastic covered their legs or wings, making it impossible for them to swim, fly or walk.
I'd like to get the message across that picking up fishing line, etc. is as important as throwing in a line hoping to catch a big one.
Judy Uebinger, Eldridge
I read an article about a woman who had used an eagle feather and got into some serious trouble. What bird feathers are illegal to have? A lot of people when walking through the woods may come across a feather that they admire. Can they take it home? Can people use feathers for crafts or personal use or to sell?
Robyn L. Culp, Hannibal
Editor's note: Both federal and state laws prohibit people from possessing without a permit feathers or other parts of eagles, hawks, owls, songbirds and other protected species. A good rule of thumb is that you cannot keep or sell parts of species, except starlings and pigeons, for which there are no open seasons. Bluejay, bluebird and purple martin feathers are illegal to possess or to buy or sell. But most duck, pheasant, grouse and turkey feathers are legal to possess.
I would like to thank whoever is responsible for the article in the 1995 issue that mentioned my father, Harry R. Walmsley, favorably. Shakespeare's "The evil men do lives after them, The good is oft interred with their bones," is too often true. To see something my father did right 90 years ago remembered makes me feel good.
Heru Ra Walmsley, Ferndale, Maryland
Concerning your November editorial on Bambi ... "The lady doth protest too much, methinks." But then again, could we expect anything else from ... how was it whispered in the film ... man?
Lisa Cochran, Bland
The Bambi Syndrome needs wide recognition. You discussed it and you did it well. Thank you!
William F. Jud, Fredericktown
Have to commend you on your November issue - outstanding. Loved the article, "Afternoon Covey" and the outstanding illustrations. My husband was an avid quail hunter.
Mary E. Wilks, Springfield
I am especially impressed with the wildlife and nature photography of Jim Rathert and am amazed at the excellent images he consistently captures on film. I would like to see more articles featuring this exciting hobby.
Dale Willis, Mexico
"Conservation Laws: A Delicate Balance" is an excellent article. It should be required reading for every member of the Department of Conservation, because when I visited a District Office to ask about trespassing, I got four different answers.
I feel it's necessary to balance public and private rights and interests and avoid trespass and confrontation.
Burl Sammons, Sedalia
Editor - Kathy Love
Assistant Editor - Tom Cwynar
Managing Editor - Jim Auckley
Art Director - Dickson Stauffer
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Composition - Kevin Binkley
Photographer - Jim Rathert
Photographer - Paul Childress
Staff Writer - Joan McKee
Staff Writer - Charlotte Overby
Composition - Libby Bode Block
Circulation - Bertha Bainer