Josey Ranch Pocket Prairie – July 2019

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The Josey Ranch Pocket Prairie has gotten taller since I visited back in April. At first glance the dominant colors are greens and browns. It takes a closer look to notice the wild flowers that are still in bloom and the seed pods that many are already beginning to form. I thought about what it would be like to walk through a larger prairie – that continued for as far as the eye could see – it would not be an easy stroll. The plants are intertwined and densely packed. They are at least waist high. And there would be no shade from the heat. Streams large enough to support trees would be precious.

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The flowers are like jewels in the greens and browns. I used the zoom to get flower pictures and stayed on the path. It was still early enough in the day that the temperature was cool, and I was the only one in the pocket prairie even though the morning commuter traffic was just yards away. I was alone but not too alone.

Kudos to the crew that established and maintain the Josey Ranch Pocket Prairie!

Springfield Botanical Garden

My daughter and I took a break from unpacking into her new home for  a short walk around the Springfield (Missouri) Botanical Gardens. We parked near the area that the Master Gardeners created and maintain. There were a lot of things in bloom…and veggies growing too.

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The morning was heating up and we realized we should have come earlier in the morning for our walk. We made our way through several other garden areas. The Hosta area looked inviting (very shady and probably cooler that much of the garden) but we decided to make a loop and come back sometime when it was cooler.

I knew they had a native butterfly exhibit that I wanted to see. It is in a mesh tent. The butterfly that was new to me was the zebra swallowtail – evidently more common in Missouri than it is in Maryland. Maybe they have more paw paw trees (the host plant for the caterpillar) than we do.

As we walked back to the parking lot (the Botanical Center building was not open during the time we were there), we saw the Monarch Butterfly life cycle sculpture/play area. Very clever. Next time I am in the garden maybe there will be children playing on it.

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Gleanings of the Week Ending July 13, 2019

The items below were ‘the cream’ of the articles and websites I found this past week. Click on the light green text to look at the article.

We organized a conference for 570 people without using plastic. Here’s how it went – It’s hard to do anything without plastic….but we’ll find ways eventually. I am focused on the ‘single use’ items first but when I can I choose materials other than plastic even for more durable items.

Arches National Park Recognized As "Dark Sky" Park – Now for my husband to find a way to get there with his telescope….

Timber Rattlesnakes: Cool Facts and an Uncertain Future – This snake is found in western Maryland….not in the county where I live. But we always mention it to students interested in snakes. This article provided some additional ‘cool facts’ to pass along.

Macro Photos of Water Droplets Reveal the Overlooked Beauty of Nature – Beautiful images in water droplets - And the artist included some pictures of the set up he uses to get the pictures!

In an Era of Extreme Weather, Concerns Grow Over Dam Safety – There have been dams in the news in recent years (like the Oroville Dam spillway failure in 2017). In our area, some small dams have been removed. But there are 91,000 dams in the US that are aging and need repairs. It’s going to be expensive…and the extreme weather we’ve been having probably makes it more urgent…but the funding is just not forthcoming so far.

Chiggers are the worst – Agreed.

Photo of the Week – July 5, 2019 – Milkweed in bloom. This is a blog post from The Prairie Ecologist…showing some bugs too. No Monarch butterflies though.

8 ways wild animals beat the heat – The mucous that hippos secrete was new to me…it’s acts as sunscreen, antibiotic, moisturizer, and water repellant. Now that we’ve learned that the sunscreen we’ve been using may be toxic to corals (and maybe to us too), perhaps we could develop an alternative by learning more about the hippo mucous.

Winter Bee Declines Greatest in 13 Years: Survey – Habitat loss, pesticides, Varroa mites….it adds up. Evidently in recent years the strategies that beekeepers have been using to deter mites have not worked as well. Some crops rely more on commercial beekeepers than others. Almonds, cherries, and blueberries are mentioned as examples.

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week: Flowers – Last but not least this week…..birds and flowers. Enjoy the photographs.

New South Wales and Joseph Henry Maiden

Joseph Henry Maiden was advised to take a long sea voyage for his health when he was 21 years old. He left London for New South Wales (on the east coast of Australia) and stayed there for the rest of his life making a career as a botanist studying Australian Floral; he died in 1925 at the age of 66. There are quite a few of his publications available on Internet Archive. I particularly enjoyed illustrations in The Forest Flora of New South Wales (available here). The forest plants of Australia are often very different from North America….even though there are some that have been brought to places in North America where they could thrive (eucalyptus, for example).

Shirley Hibberd

Shirley Hibberd was one of the most popular and successful gardening writers of the Victorian Era. The name caught my eye on a list of authors of botanical books from the 1800s that were supposedly ‘Women in Natural History.’ I quickly discovered (via Wikipedia) that the author was a man! It reminded me of a choir director I’d known in my teenage years – also a man named Shirley. Following the tangent thought about Shirley as a first name – I found that Charlotte Bronte is the one that transitioned the name from male to female with her novel (Shirley) published in 1849.

Back to Shirley Hibberd - there are quite a few books available by Hibberd on Internet Archive (list here); some I had looked at years ago and some I found in June. My favorite of the June books was New and rare beautiful leaved plants published in 1870 and available on Internet Archive here.

Lots of ideas of house plants in this book. I was impressed by the variety of shapes, textures and colors.

Journal of Botanical Research Institute of Texas

16 volumes (from 2007 to 2014) of the Journal of Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) are available from Internet Archive here. I browsed through all of them in late May and early June. It’s interesting to compare the botanical illustrations used for research papers today with those from the 1800s. There are still drawings that look very similar to botanical prints…but there are photographs too. The photographs have replaced the colored prints that were a cornerstone of the 1800s books (and made them collectable). I appreciated the drawings as I browsed these BRIT volumes. It is easier to see structures in the drawings than in the photographs (and it is easier to deconstruct drawings into Zentangle patterns)! The sample images from the volumes below show the wide range of illustration types. Click on an image to see an enlarged version.

I found this journal after I discovered Eula Whitehouse’s work back in March (see the blog post about her here). The organization she worked for eventually became BRIT.

Brookside Gardens – June 2019

The plants at Brookside Gardens are lush this time of year. I took pictures before every shift with the butterflies…and sometimes afterward as well.

The gardeners that maintain the north conservatory succeeded in getting a lotus to bloom in the pool there. When I photographed it, there was a tiny insect on the flower….a little pollinator?

Now for the outdoors - Some days it was raining and I focused on water on the plants; some days I worked with lighting to get the background dark; other days I was intent on filling the frame with a single flower or the unfurling of a single frond. Some plants are still in bud and others are already making seeds. I find myself being pleased with how many I can easily identify but even happier to just savor the shapes and colors…remember the smells. June is a great month for gardens here in Maryland.

Gleanings of the Week Ending July 6, 2019

The items below were ‘the cream’ of the articles and websites I found this past week. Click on the light green text to look at the article.

Older forests resist change, climate change, that is -- ScienceDaily  - A study from the University of Vermont. But there are a lot of other changes in the forest too – the advent of non-native diseases like emerald ash borer and the explosion of deer populations so that there is a lot less understory in the forest (and few young trees). Is the net still that old forests resist change more effectively than younger ones?

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week: June – National Geographic Society Newsroom – The always beautiful series of bird pictures.

Expanding the temperature range of lithium-ion batteries ScienceDaily – I’ve noticed the battery in my Prius Prime does not last for as many miles in the winter as it does in the summer. It’s one of the issues I want improved before I buy my next EV.

Chattanooga Becomes First U.S. Airport to Run Entirely on Solar – YaleEnvironment360 – Congrats to Chattanooga on this milestone. Evidently the first airport to do it was Cochin International in Kerala, India which went 100% solar powered in 2015. I’ve noticed a lot of US airports have fields of solar arrays…but maybe they haven’t also installed batteries to make the airport 100% solar powered.

You Can Now Tour the Tunnels Beneath Rome’s Baths of Caracalla – Smithsonian – A little Roman history linked to a place where tons of wood were burned per day to keep the fires going so that the caldarium would have hot water…where 18.5 gallons of water per second were consumed…copper tanks and lead pipes.

Timed release of turmeric stops cancer cell growth – ScienceDaily – Part of the search for gentler treatments for children with osteosarcoma.

A Tale of Contrasting Rift Valley Lakes – NASA Earth Observatory – Lake Tanganyika and Lake Rukwa as viewed from NASA’s Aqua satellite.  Deep and shallow. Salty and fresh. Brown and Blue.

Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument: Holding History in Your Hand – National Parks Traveler – I had to look up where Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument is located. It’s in the panhandle of Texas, north of Amarillo. I might go someday…on the way to somewhere else. The route would probably pass through the small western Oklahoma town where I was born.

Grand Canyon will soon be a dark sky park – Smithsonian – The park service has retrofitted lights to make it happen. This could be a good reason to camp in this national park!

What does the dust in your home mean for your health? – The Conversation – Thought provoking post. About one third of the ‘dust’ is created inside by ourselves and our pets, food debris, fibers from carpet/fabrics, particles from cooking plus chemicals like flame retardants. Are they toxic? There is ongoing research. Re outdoor sources – lead is the one of most concern.

Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens – June 2019

The plants that are the main attractions during  the June and July at Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens are the lotuses and the water lilies.

The lotuses were in full bloom in the later part of June when we visited but there weren’t many seed pods yet.

I also found a rolled-up lotus leaf that was interesting. The leaves are round, balancing on a central stem but they start out as a scroll like structure that unfolds. This one was still tightly coiled. I might use it as a prompt to create a Zentangle pattern.

 The water lilies did not seem as dense as they have in previous years and I wondered if the rains and cool temperatures earlier this summer impacted the water lily development.

The button bush was beginning to bloom; I didn’t notice any seed pods yet. There is a ways to go before all the flowers are pollinated…lots of bee activity.

Two trees stood out:

There was a group of developing pine codes high up in a pine near the entrance and

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Some shelf fungus growing around a knot (maybe where a branch had been). It looks a little like a bear face to me. I’d noticed it last year too. The shelf fungus look more cracked this year but they still have the orange underneath.

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I heard green frogs and searched the shallows from where the sound seemed to emanate….but never  saw the frog.

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A pearl crescent butterfly opened its wings as it sat in the grassy path and paused long enough for me to get a picture.

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We saw two different kinds of turtles (identified with the help of a reference from Maryland Department of Natural Resources): a small red-eared slider (not native to our area but invading) and

A large northern red-bellied cooter – which is native to our area. It was a large specimen. I wondered how long it had taken to get that big…about 12 inches.

Both ponds had a lot of algae and muck so the turtle shells looked grubby but the heads were vey distinctive…enough for the identification.

Overall – the field trip to Kenilworth was worthwhile and very enjoyable. We went in the morning before the day got too hot.

eBotanical Prints – June 2019

I added 29 new books to the collection this month bringing the total of botanical print books I’ve found to almost 1,700 - available free of charge on the Internet. The whole book list can be accessed here. The list for June 2019 is below the sample images. I’ll be posting about several of the books in more detail in subsequent blog posts.

There is quite a date range for the June books. The oldest is from 1553 – authored by Rembert Dodoens. The newest is the last volume available on Internet Archive of a botanical journal published in 2014.

Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas V2 no 2 2008 * Botanical Research Institute of Texas * sample image * 2008

Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas V3 no 1 2009 * Botanical Research Institute of Texas * sample image * 2009

Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas V3 no 2 2009 * Botanical Research Institute of Texas * sample image * 2009

Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas V4 no 1 2010 * Botanical Research Institute of Texas * sample image * 2010

Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas V4 no 2 2010 * Botanical Research Institute of Texas * sample image * 2010

Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas V 5 no 1 2011 * Botanical Research Institute of Texas * sample image * 2011

Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas V 5 no 2 2011 * Botanical Research Institute of Texas * sample image * 2011

Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas V 6 no 1 2012 * Botanical Research Institute of Texas * sample image * 2012

Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas V 6 no 2 2012 * Botanical Research Institute of Texas * sample image * 2012

Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas V 7 no 1 2013 * Botanical Research Institute of Texas * sample image * 2013

Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas V 7 no 2 2013 * Botanical Research Institute of Texas * sample image * 2013

Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas V 8 no 1 2014 * Botanical Research Institute of Texas * sample image * 2014

Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas V 8 no 2 2014 * Botanical Research Institute of Texas * sample image * 2014

The florist : containing sixty plates of the most beautiful flowers  * Bowles, Carrington * sample image * 1770

Purgantium aliarumque eo facientium, tum et radicum, conuoluulorum ac deleteriarum herbarum historiae * Dodoens, Rembert * sample image * 1574

Florum, coronariarum odoratarumque nonnullarum herbarum historia * Dodoens, Rembert * sample image * 1568

Frumentorum, Leguminum, palustrium et aquatilium herbarum * Dodoens, Rembert * sample image * 1566

Remberti Dodonaei ... trium priorum de stirpium historia commentariorum imagines ad viuum expressae * Dodoens, Rembert * sample image * 1553

Alpine flora of the Canadian Rocky Mountains * Brown, Stewardson; Mrs. Charles Schaffer * sample image * 1907

The Fern Garden : how to make, keep, and enjoy it ; or, fern culture made easy * Hibberd, Shirley * sample image * 1872

New and rare beautiful-leaved plants * Hibberd, Shirley; Fawcett, Benjamin * sample image * 1870

Garden Favorites * Hibberd, Shirley * sample image * 1858

Australian Wild Flowers * Flockton, Margaret * sample image * 1912

The Forest Flora of New South Wales V1 * Maiden, Joseph Henry * sample image * 1904

The Forest Flora of New South Wales V2 * Maiden, Joseph Henry * sample image * 1907

The Forest Flora of New South Wales V3 * Maiden, Joseph Henry * sample image * 1908

The Forest Flora of New South Wales V4 * Maiden, Joseph Henry * sample image * 1911

The Forest Flora of New South Wales V5 * Maiden, Joseph Henry * sample image * 1913

The weeds of New South Wales, pt. I  * Maiden, Joseph Henry * sample image * 1920

Gleanings of the Week Ending June 29, 2019

The items below were ‘the cream’ of the articles and websites I found this past week. Click on the light green text to look at the article.

Porcupines | National Geographic – I was disappointed that they didn’t include more pictures of the North American Porcupine. I’ve never seen one in the wild.

BBC - Future - How to build something that lasts 10,000 years – Specifically – this post is about building a clock that will last for 10,000 years…in West Texas!

Researchers uncover indoor pollution hazards -- ScienceDaily – Some surprises: pollutants change with temperature inside the house….and time of day makes a difference. Formaldehyde seems to be particularly prevalent. These studies are scary for existing homes. We need work on mitigations that homeowners can implement…and new construction that reduces the source of pollutants.

Infographic: Immunity Isn't the Body's Only Defense System | The Scientist Magazine® - Symbiotic bacteria, metabolism and pathogen mutation examples overlay the immunity strategy. As we learn more, we realize that the human body is more complex that we realized.

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week: Blue – National Geographic Society Newsroom – So many blue birds!

Tortoises rule on Aldabra Atoll – Tortoises making their way through the huts where people bunked! The tortoises sleep with head and legs stretched out…no predators to fear on the inhospitable atoll.

Past climate change pushed birds from the northern hemisphere to the tropics -- ScienceDaily – Thought provoking. I wondered if some of the birds that now migrate from North America to Central or South America for the winter….will not go as far or will shift their range northward.  I suppose it would work if their food sources shifted and the birds followed the food. The synchrony of plants blooming and seeds ripening….of horseshoe crabs laying eggs…all while birds are migrating or getting ready to produce young; it’s not a simple system.

Making STEM Education More Welcoming to Underrepresented Minorities | The Scientist Magazine® - Education doesn’t happen in a vacuum that has well defined boundaries. We must do more than just academic support…I’m glad there is more research and conversation on how to move forward in tangible ways to make STEM education and careers more open to everyone.

An Ancient Asteroid Crater May Be Hiding Off Scotland’s Coast | Smart News | Smithsonian – Some recent work that points to a crater of a asteroid from 1.2 billion years ago.

Three Studies Track People's Microbiomes Through Health and Disease | The Scientist Magazine® - Interesting…but they could just be expensive association studies (a quote from the end of the paper). At some point, maybe the findings will lead to something that benefits the patient.

Mt Pleasant Field Trips

Schools didn’t end until June 21st in our area so the Howard County Conservancy spring field trips were still happening into mid-June! As usual, I volunteered for field trips at both Mt Pleasant and Belmont. Today I’ll share some pictures I gleaned from before the school buses arrive at Mt. Pleasant….tomorrow I’ll do the same for Belmont.

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In late May – I noticed how lush everything was looking: the sweetbay magnolias, the blue flags, peonies, the new plantings around the flower pot people, and the trees along the gravel road toward Montjoy Barn.

By early June the flowers in the Honors Garden, like the columbines, were blooming.

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But the big draw of the Honors Garden – for me and for the children on field trips – were the green frogs in the pool. I would talk to the students before we came near the garden about walking very quietly…not talking…as we approached the pool so that we would see frogs. And I challenged them to find more than 4 frogs (or however many had been seen with my previous group). One group claimed to see 7…but I only saw 6. The pictures in the slide slow below were taken over several mornings before the buses arrived. Green frogs sound a little like a rubber band being strummed. It was fun to share the sights and sounds of the frogs with my hiking groups!

Roses at Brookside Gardens

May and June are the best time for roses at Brookside Gardens. It’s a feast of sights and smells…and a great place to photograph all stages of rose development and different lighting. I prefer to use my zoom rather than getting close…not tempted to step into a rose bed that way.

There are all kinds of roses – different colors, different petal density, climbers and bushes. The day I took most of these pictures, I overheard a gardener talking about the daily care that it requires to keep the garden looking so beautiful. Kudos to the staff and volunteers of Brookside!

Road Trip Scenes

Continuing our trek east from Springfield, Missouri, I got some pictures of St. Louis and the Mississippi River since my daughter was driving. The arch is easy to spot…not so easy to photograph driving east…probably would be easier on the highway driving west on the bridge with the Mississippi River in the foreground. The Mississippi was obviously high with no tree trunks showing along the water’s edge. A train was crossing the river on a bridge parallel to our route.

We stopped for the night in Springfield, Ohio. As we walked across the parking lot of the hotel to a restaurant, I spotted catalpas in bloom. The trees brought back memories of summer visits to my grandparents although I was always too late to see the trees in bloom. They already had their long seed pods by the time I visited. I read a book that described the blooms and then noticed them in a garden many years later. I was thrilled to see one in Ohio. It was growing near a water retention pond (so red-winged black birds and frogs provided ‘music’).

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In the same area – on a very manicured area between parking lots were sweetbay magnolias…and they were in bloom too. These smaller magnolias are great for places that would be overwhelmed by the larger magnolias like the southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora).

Our timing in Ohio was near perfect for seeing both catalpas and sweetbays in bloom! It was a good finale for a long day of driving.

English Botany in 12 Volumes – Sowerby Illustrations

 Now I am looking for other ‘Sowerby’ works….probably will discover some more botanical print books that I haven’t seen previously.

Anne Kingsbury Wollstonecraft and Cuba Botanicals

I found out about this author from a National Geographic Article: 'Lost' book of exquisite scientific drawings rediscovered after 190 years --- and the 3 volumes are available on Hathi Trust here. The author died young (46 years old) in 1828 and her work was not finished so it is in manuscript rather than published form. It had still been referenced a few times in the 1800s and those references are what started the search for it. Eventually, it was determined that the manuscript had been given to Cornell University in 1923 by a faculty member that was a descendant of the author. It had been in Cornell’s Rare and Manuscript Collection since! These volumes are well worth browsing. I’ve included sample images below…..but there are many more in the volumes to look at online.

eBotanical Prints - May 2019

27 new books were added to the collection this month bringing the total of botanical print books I’ve found to over 1,600 - available free of charge on the Internet. The whole list can be accessed here. The list for May 2019 is below the sample images. I’ll be posting about several of the books in more detail in subsequent blog posts.

The flora sylvatica for southern India: containing quarto plates of all the principal timber trees in southern India and Ceylon V2 * Beddome, Richard Henry; Bentham, George * sample image * 1869

Specimens of the plants and fruits of the island of Cuba V1 * Wollstonecraft, Anne Kingsbury * sample image * 1826

Specimens of the plants and fruits of the island of Cuba V2 * Wollstonecraft, Anne Kingsbury * sample image * 1826

Specimens of the plants and fruits of the island of Cuba V3 * Wollstonecraft, Anne Kingsbury * sample image * 1826

Icones florae Germanicae et Helveticae V 17 * Reichenbach, H.G. Ludwig * sample image * 1855

English Botany or Coloured figures of British plants V1 * Syme, John T. Boswell (editor); Lankester, Phebe; Sowerby, James de Carle and Salter, John Willam and Sowerby, John Edward (illustrators) * sample image * 1863

English Botany or Coloured figures of British plants V2 * Syme, John T. Boswell (editor); Lankester, Phebe; Sowerby, James de Carle and Salter, John Willam and Sowerby, John Edward (illustrators) * sample image * 1864

English Botany or Coloured figures of British plants V3 * Syme, John T. Boswell (editor); Lankester, Phebe; Sowerby, James de Carle and Salter, John Willam and Sowerby, John Edward (illustrators) * sample image * 1864

English Botany or Coloured figures of British plants V4 * Syme, John T. Boswell (editor); Lankester, Phebe; Sowerby, James de Carle and Salter, John Willam and Sowerby, John Edward (illustrators) * sample image * 1865

English Botany or Coloured figures of British plants V5 * Syme, John T. Boswell (editor); Lankester, Phebe; Sowerby, James de Carle and Salter, John Willam and Sowerby, John Edward (illustrators) * sample image * 1866

English Botany or Coloured figures of British plants V6 * Syme, John T. Boswell (editor); Lankester, Phebe; Sowerby, James de Carle and Salter, John Willam and Sowerby, John Edward (illustrators) * sample image * 1866

English Botany or Coloured figures of British plants V7 * Syme, John T. Boswell (editor); Lankester, Phebe; Sowerby, James de Carle and Salter, John Willam and Sowerby, John Edward (illustrators) * sample image * 1867

English Botany or Coloured figures of British plants V8 * Syme, John T. Boswell (editor); Lankester, Phebe; Sowerby, James de Carle and Salter, John Willam and Sowerby, John Edward (illustrators) * sample image * 1868

English Botany or Coloured figures of British plants V9 * Syme, John T. Boswell (editor); Lankester, Phebe; Sowerby, James de Carle and Salter, John Willam and Sowerby, John Edward (illustrators) * sample image * 1869

English Botany or Coloured figures of British plants V10 * Syme, John T. Boswell (editor); Lankester, Phebe; Sowerby, James de Carle and Salter, John Willam and Sowerby, John Edward (illustrators) * sample image * 1873

English Botany or Coloured figures of British plants V11 * Syme, John T. Boswell (editor); Lankester, Phebe; Sowerby, James de Carle and Salter, John Willam and Sowerby, John Edward (illustrators) * sample image * 1872

English Botany or Coloured figures of British plants V12 * Syme, John T. Boswell (editor); Lankester, Phebe; Sowerby, James de Carle and Salter, John Willam and Sowerby, John Edward (illustrators) * sample image * 1886

Orchidophile V1-2 * Gedefroy-Lebeuf, A.  * sample image * 1882

Orchidophile V3 * Gedefroy-Lebeuf, A.  * sample image * 1883

Orchidophile V4 * Gedefroy-Lebeuf, A.  * sample image * 1884

Orchidophile V5 * Gedefroy-Lebeuf, A.  * sample image * 1884

Lindenia - iconography of orchids vol 1 * Linden, Jean Jules * sample image * 1885

Lindenia - iconography of orchids vol 17 * Linden, Jean Jules; Linden, Lucien * sample image * 1901

The genera of the Eupatorieae (Asteraceae) * King, Merril; Robinson, Harold * sample image * 1987

Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas V1 no 2 2007 * Botanical Research Insitute of Texas * sample image * 2007

Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas V2 no 1 2008 * Botanical Research Insitute of Texas * sample image * 2008

Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas V1 no 1  2007 * Botanical Research Insitute of Texas * sample image * 2007

Gleanings of the Week Ending June 14, 2019

The items below were ‘the cream’ of the articles and websites I found this past week. Click on the light green text to look at the article.

Antibiotics found in some of the world's rivers exceed 'safe' levels, global study finds -- ScienceDaily and Hundreds of world's rivers contain dangerous levels of antibiotics – Same story from different news feeds. Antibiotics we take are not broken down in our bodies and are excreted. Wastewater treatment does not take them out of the water so the rivers are – over time – building up more antibiotics.

Ancient Fingerprints Show Men and Women Both Made Pottery in the American Southwest | Smart News | Smithsonian – The breadth of men’s finger print ridges are 9% wider than those of women…so pots that are made via pinching layers of coiled clay together using the thumb and forefinger (leaving fingerprints) can be analyzed to determine the gender of the person that made them. It turns out at Chaco Canyon that men and women made pottery…unlike the more modern tradition of the skill passing from grandmothers to mothers to younger women.

Route 66 Considered for National Historic Trail in The Park System – On a recent road trip, the Pacific, MO hotel we stayed in (west of St. Louis) was near Route 66. They had a map to continue the journey through Missouri on stretches of the old road. We needed to reach our destination quickly so stayed on I-44…but maybe sometime when we can take our time…we’ll take Route 66 where we can.

CITY SPROUTS: The Budding Movement to Integrate Garden-Based Learning in Public School Education | Children & Nature Network – A laudable goal…but it takes work. With teachers that already have a lot to do….organizing garden-based learning might be a tough addition to their job jar.

Most of the World’s Macadamias May Have Originated from a Single Australian Tree | Smart News | Smithsonian – The majority of macadamias are grown in Hawaii…so the lack of diversity within the trees in Hawaii leaves the crop open to species-level risk. This article talks about the research and search for wild plants in Australia to increase the diversity within the macadamia gene pool.

Seven US Species Invading Other Countries – Cool Green Science – We talk a lot about non-native species invading the US. Here are some that have gone the other way.

A Sea of Sagebrush Disappears, Making Way for Fire-Prone Cheatgrass: NPR – Nearly 75% of the acres burned by wildfires in the west are range lands rather the forest. And what burns is sage and cheatgrass. The problem is that cheatgrass, an invasive grass, grows faster than sage and is taking over land where sage once dominated…and cheatgrass is more flammable. Put that together with climate change and the look of the west is changing.

Megacities Like Paris and London Can Produce Their Own Clouds | Smart News | Smithsonian – The urban heat island phenomenon has been known for a long time. Now studies are looking at cloud cover over cities and it appears they are 10% cloudier than rural areas.

Still snarling after 40,000 years, a giant Pleistocene wolf discovered in Yakutia – Found in Siberia. The discovery was announced as the opening of a Woolly Mammoth exhibition in Tokyo organized by Yakutian and Japanese scientists. The same team also presented a well-preserved cave lion cub.

Six fingers per hand – People with 6 fingers on a hand (a form of polydactyly) can perform movements with one hand where people with 5 fingers would require 2 hands. The brain of polydactyly subjects controls the additional degrees of freedom the additional finger provides without sacrificing any other brain functions.

June Yard Work – Round 1

I was out in my yard by 7:30 AM one morning this week. My husband had requested that I pull all the milkweed in the front flower beds. I agreed even though it probably means that there won’t be a Monarch (caterpillar) nursery at my house when the butterflies arrive in our area. There were day lilies and black-eyed susans growing around most of the plants so pulling them would not leave the ground bare. I took before and after pictures of three areas. Having the milkweed gone makes quite a difference!

I pulled the plants trying to get at least some of the root. There will probably be other milkweed plants that will come up since most of the plants came out with only a bit of the root right under the stem. Milkweed can grow new plants along their horizontal roots (i.e. a ‘stand’ of milkweed might all be the same plant). I also learned last year that cutting milkweed just causes it to grow branches. Hopefully I can continue to pull the tiny milkweed plants that emerge, and the front flower beds will look more traditional this summer.

After I was done pulling milkweed and grass from the flower beds – I carried the pile back to the forest. Before I went indoors, I took some pictures:

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An insect on a leaf.

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A tiny mushroom in the grass.

Flower parts and drowned insects in the bird bath. I cleaned the birdbath and refilled it before I went inside. It’s more visible now that the milkweed is gone.

Community Supported Agriculture – Hurray!

The Gorman Farms CSA summer season started last week. As usual – I am enjoying the bounty and not buying any produce at the grocery store. I’ve had stir fry and salads…seasoned mostly with garlic scapes and spring onions that were part of the share. Will I be able to use all the first share before I pick up the next one? Probably not. I can always use the bunch of kale to make chips; they always getting eaten fast. I’ve discovered that I like to process the salad greens in the Ninja or food processor to make very green slaw rather than tradition bigger chunks of green.

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When I got the veggies home – I just put them in the crisper as they came from the farm. It means there is a little more prep to use them than there would be if I did the first round of prep before I put them in the refrigerator. It also means that they won’t last quite as long as they would in a bag or more airtight container. Maybe I’ll do the work when I pick up the share this week.