Ten Little Celebrations – July 2019

July 2019 was a busy month with two weeks of the months a way from home and volunteering. We’re in the thick of summer!

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4th of July. There is the holiday celebrated with fireworks and food and family early in the month. I was in Texas rather than at home.

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Yellow-Crowned Night Heron. It’s thrilling to see a heron that I don’t see all that often…a serendipity sighting during a hike to celebrate.

Easy drive through Arkansas. I celebrated that the road through Arkansas on my way back to Maryland from Texas was a lot better than I expected – good road, no construction, no accidents.

Marigolds. I savored the flowers available for cutting when I go to pick up my CSA share every week. Marigolds are among my favorites….but the sunflowers and amaranth and zinnas are good too.

Pittsburgh to Springfield MO in a day. It was a long drive with my husband and I caravanning. We both celebrated when we arrived – tired but otherwise unscathed.

At home again. After being away for 2 weeks (not concurrently) I had several days celebrating just being at home again.

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Prius Prime. I celebrated my car that has excellent range and is easy to drive. It still feels a little new and it’s 2.5 years old! These recent road trips have added quite a few miles.

Surviving a very hot Wings of Fancy shift. I celebrated that having something cold at each break (grapes, popsicle, Gatorade) and drinking lots of water enabled me to be fine at the end of the shift….and even relaxed in my air conditioned car on the way home.

Summer campers making butterfly Zentangles. Celebrating sharing an activity with campers….enjoying their creations as much as they did.

Toad under the oak tree. There is a toad that is making its home in the day lily forest under the oak tree. I celebrated that our yard is providing suitable habitat (there was a very small black rat snake there too…which I am choosing to celebrate too…but I didn’t take time to get a picture).

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Road Trips to Springfield, Missouri

I’ve now made 3 road trips from Maryland to Springfield, Missouri  (one in June and 2 in July) so I am getting familiar with the route. It’s a two-day trip which I prefer to do with one slightly longer day. On one of the trips to Springfield we drove from near Pittsburgh to Springfield in one day….and I won’t do that again. Springfield, Ohio is a good midway point that my daughter picked (she liked the idea of going from Springfield MO to Springfield OH); it is my preference too.

I’ve learned where there is hard driving (lots of curves and trucks going at high speed) and where the current construction is. Hopefully the construction will be mostly done by the next time I go and there might be a better route through the Alleghenies that we’ll try.

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There are two favorite rest stops along the way. One is close to Springfield and focused on Route 66 which makes a diagonal path through Missouri from St. Louis angled toward Tulsa, Oklahoma. They have a map on the floor of the rest top.

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2)The other rest stop was in Indiana and I like it for two reasons: 1) It has plants that remind me of my grandparents in Oklahoma back in the 60s. They grew ‘rubber trees’ indoors in the winter then put them out in the flower beds near the house in the summer…almost burying the pots…then trimmed them back and brought them indoors for the next winter. This rest stop has the plants in the center planter inside the rest stop!

The rest stop also had ‘pocket wetlands’ on two sides. The red-winged blackbirds were numerous, and I heard frogs as well. The sky was threatening (thunderstorm imminent) and we were pushing to get to the hotel before the storm, so I didn’t have time to investigate more. Maybe next time. ..

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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Springfield Art Museum

When my daughter and I traveled to Springfield, Missouri in early June, most of our time was spent on logistics for her to move there at the end of June. We took a break and walked through the Springfield Art Museum. It was well worth the time spent.

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Two pieces had strong associations for me: a Nick Cave Soundsuit that reminded me of a wookie

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And the fountain in the courtyard that reminded me of a much smaller fountain that my mother has in her garden (the swirl of shapes that channel the water from the top of the fountain to where it spills into the pool).

I got a little sidetracked with the flowers growing near the fountain too.

Another Nick Cave piece was thought provoking. One of the benefits of walking through a museum that allows pictures (without flash and staying far enough back) is photographing the write up about the piece too.

I noted the butterfly at first glance of the crazy quilt that was made in the 1880s of satin, silk, and velvet…with appliques. The quilt was a bit of whimsy from a time very different than our own…a product of a hours of work with a beautiful result. Happiness coming through this creation – then to now.

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Zooming – June 2019

So many aspects of nature to photograph in June: flowers and butterflies, frogs and birds…bunnies.

There were photos around home or close to home…and then in Missouri and Ohio. I’ll be learning the route between home and Missouri with two more trips in July…I’ll see how different the places look a month later.

There’s beauty to be found all over if we take the time to look for it!

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.

Luna Moth

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A serendipity find at a rest stop off I-44 in Missouri: a Luna moth! They are such a lovely color – a creamy green jade – and the shape with the long tails is appealing too.

Like most moths, they are sedentary during the day and this one had opted for a window frame near the door to the Ladies room for its daytime roost. It was probably there for the day unless someone disturbed it.  I took out my cell phone to get a picture…and pointed the moth out to the people going by in the few seconds it took for the picture taking. It was still in its spot when I left – unnoticed by most people.

Luna moths are native to North America east of the Great Plains. The adult moths, like many large moths, don’t eat as adults so they are very active at night mating and laying eggs. They only live for 7 – 10 days.

What a great first-stop on a long driving day!

Gleanings of the Week Ending March 30, 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.

Spring Outlook: Historic, widespread flooding to continue through May | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – Check out the map about 1/3 of the way through the article. It looks like quite a few areas along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers are going to have moderate or major flooding through May. Almost the whole eastern part of the US is going to have some flooding during that period.

How Chromosomes X and Y Got Their Names, 1891 | The Scientist Magazine® - A little history. It all begins in the late 1800s.

C. R. PERCIVAL’S MICROSCOPE SLIDE COLLECTION | Ingenium – Browse through some of the images made of slides created in the early/mid 1900s. Click on the larger image to get a magnifier that can be moved over the image.

Food Trends 2019: Fermented Foods, Blueberries, Coconut Products, and More | Berkeley Wellness – How many of these are you already eating?

What oil leaves behind in 2.5 billion gallons of water every day in US -- ScienceDaily – Wouldn’t it be nice to not have oil polluted water injected underground…and sometimes into aquafers? Water is already in short supply in some areas of the country (mostly in the west). We need technologies to never contaminate water in a way that it cannot be consumed by plants and animals…and ourselves.

In Germany, Consumers Embrace a Shift to Home Batteries - Yale E360 – Half of the orders for rooftop solar panels are sold with a battery storage system too in Germany. I wonder when the US will catch up.

Butterfly numbers down by two thirds: High-intensity agriculture reduces number of butterfly species in adjacent areas -- ScienceDaily – It’s not just butterfly numbers that are down either. Agriculture research needs to hone practices that are productive in the short term…and the long term. In other words – all agriculture needs to become sustainable for humanity and the rest of the organisms that inhabit the Earth.

Nitrogen pollution's path to streams weaves through more forests (and faster) than suspected -- ScienceDaily – Nitrate is one of the abiotic tests we do for water quality assessment with high school students. This is a new finding to think about and incorporate in to the analysis of readings after heavy rains. The nitrogen might be moving so fast that the forest can’t absorb it!

Missouri Making Hyperloop Plans - News | Planetizen – A hyperloop between Kansas City and St. Louis! What a boon to the two cities and probably easier to build since there is not the heavy population between the two cities like the route that was originally talked about in California.

China Isn't Recycling Tons of U.S. Plastic Trash Anymore: Goats and Soda: NPR – We’re going to have to show some innovation in dealing with plastics – mostly single use – that we dutifully put in our recycle bins and assumed they would be recycled. Now a lot of them are going to landfills or polluting our waterways.  With a little thought, my family has reduced some….but the next step is tough. Some products we need are only available packaged in plastic.

3 Free eBooks – September 2018

All three of the selections this month are multiple items. The first is a series of books from the late 1700s about insects; the second and third are magazines that are within the past few years.

Panzer, Georg Wolfgasng Franz; Sturm, Jakob. Favnae insectorvm Germanicae initia, oder, Deutschlands Insecten. Nürnberg:In den Felseckerschen Buchhandlung. 1796. A series of books available from Internet Archive here. They are in German but the plates (my Jakob Sturm) are the draw. Lots and lots of insects!

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Morfield, Angie Daly (editor). Missouri Conservationist. Missouri Department of Conservation.  Available from the department website here. The monthly magazine about conservation in the state. If you are a resident of Missouri a subscription to the printed magazine is free! I am looking at it online at this point…learning about the plants and animals of Missouri prior to my daughter moving there. Lots of great pictures of various parts of the state.

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Carey, Victoria (editor). Country Style: Australia Coast to Coast. Several issues of the magazine (2015 and 2016 vintage) are available from Internet Archive here. I liked the photographs of gardens and houses….and animals. They have a large ad for Fancy Feast cat food in every issue!