Monday, February 28, 2011

Alabama Farm Bureau Federation vs EPA

Alabama Farm Bureau VS Environmental Protection Agency

I feel sorry for people who can't see past the ends of their noses. I've been in that position myself, but I was helped by a good pair of corrective lenses.
It is a pitiful situation when a lobbying organization, whose mission seems to be to help farmers, takes in after a government agency charged with protection of the environment. The first profession that comes to mind when the subject of environmental protection arises should be farmers since their livelihood depends on the continued functioning of the natural systems that purify our air, preserve our soil, and keep water clean. Why would the stated goal of the AFBF be to “stop EPA”? From the article that appeared in the March 2011 AFBF publication “Neighbors”, it seems to be all about the immediate dollar in the hand.
One of the complaints against EPA is regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. Only a fool would refuse to accept the clear scientific evidence that our planet is warming. Whether it is caused by emissions relating to fossil fuel use or from natural cyclical earth events makes little difference. Our way of life is in grave danger, and we need to do all in our power to slow the warming down whatever that means. We may not be able to accomplish much if we keep our eyes glued on the almighty dollar. This is the time to think of your grand children's future, not increasing the bottom line.
Another complaint centers around agricultural runoff into near shore waters that supply enormous quantities of fish and seafood. The fertilizers and other chemicals have created and are enlarging a vast dead zone in both the Chesapeake Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. EPA is somehow wrong to try to stop this destruction of a natural food resource (to say nothing of the fisherman’s livelihood). It would seem that time and energy spent on methods to use less chemicals in crop production and thereby lessen the expense of growing a crop would be more in order than trying to stop the regulation.
In the article I am referencing here, Ken Schmit says “Fear and misunderstanding are what drive the world. We all have problems communicating to people who've been misinformed about what we do and how we do it.” I truly agree.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Winter Tree Silhouettes

This is a great time of year for noticing the outlines or "frames" of trees. Landscapers call these the bones of the landscape when  all the foliage and flowers are gone and all that  remains are the shrubs, trees, structures and paths of the garden. I don't claim to know much about landscaping, but this time of year I enjoy the outline and limb structure of trees.

I seldom see skies this clear in the warmer months.

Some trees like China Berry and Sycamore still have fruit/seed handing on. These are interesting,too.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Giant Red Ball

Did you see the sunset tonight? It was spectacular! A big bright red ball in a grey sky. I was driving on US 431 when I saw it dropping rapidly. I stopped and tried to get a picture but I knew whatever picture I got would not compare with what I was seeing. (And it didn't).  All these pictures can do is remind me how much more grand the actual sight was. I hope you all saw it.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Daffodils :My Favorites

When I slump over into the sleep from which I will not awaken,never mind the cut flowers and wreaths. Buy bags of plump daffodils and plant them in your yard, in the park, anywhere that people can see and enjoy them. if it happens at a time when bulbs are not available, wait till they are- there's no rush.
Daffodils are as long lived as trees and in many ways more resilient. They die back when the heat of summer begins and return in February when they are needed most.

Be there a soul so crusted and dead
That it cannot smile
When a daffodil raises its head?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Unusual Ads

I found this and thought it was great.
I tried to pick my favorite, but it was too difficult. I liked Lamborghini Tractors, Heinz catsup, summer in London, and Orion telescopes, but I liked all of them actually. I used to know a man who said the smartest people in the country were writing jokes. Maybe now the smartest are doing ads.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Chinaberry Tree in Winter

I have been watching this tree for several weeks and thinking every time I passed it that I should stop and take a picture. This tree is a good example of how loaded with seed the Chinaberry trees  are this year. Chinaberry is a native of (surprise) china, Japan, Australia , and points in between. It is a soft wood tree, prone to breaking and messy, spreading seeds and twigs. But O! what fine pea shooters the finger-sized twigs make. They have a pith that is easily pushed out . Then get a thick dog fennel stalk for a plunger and wow! you could draw a blister with those things.  My, times have changed.
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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Feb 10, 2011 Snow at Gold Hill

Posted by PicasaBob Jeswald was right on with what he said about the snow. Glad to see it, glad to see it go.
I just saw these old timey daffodils today, but they must have been open a day or so ago as I am sure they did not open in the snow. When it is a little warmer, they will pick up their heads.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Galloping Moss

This slows pictures of a moss that seems to move. Very interesting but not quite as x-file-ish as those rocks that move across the desert  by themselves.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Waiting For the Daffodils

  The first 2 months of the year are the hardest for me. The cold and dreary watery days of winter sink my soul.Many friends and relatives become ill and it seems to me that most of the news I hear is bad. Perhaps I feel this way because I can't get in enough gardening. The couple of days last week of warmth and sun had me outside planting seed and trying to get an early start on the spring. My reasoning on the seed was that the things I was planting often reseed anyway and so they would already be in the ground waiting when the days warm and could get a quick start. These last few days with endless rain has made me worry that they have washed away, but only warmer days will tell.
  I have started some seed today in pots in the house. I believe the greenhouse is a little too cold for most seed germination, so I made a place by a window to start a few things now. I have a heated seed germination mat, which I have successfully lost, so I am trying another tack.
  This rain has brought a lot of my spring bulbs up. The yard is poking full of those dark green blades that tell me that winter is on it's last legs. The butter-and-eggs buds are sharp spears that look like they could open soon, but in reality they are a mid-season bulb and they won't be opening till spring is well on it's way.
  Yesterday I saw a host of lavender crocus buds under the oak. They were standing tall, waiting for the sun, and as soon as it appears they will open. Cloudy days and evenings make them close, but they'll be back. I can hold my breath a few more days.

Hilarious British Animal Voiceovers

Take a look at this for a giggle:

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Phalaeonopsis keiki

I am so excited!! I have been growing (and killing ) moth orchids for years, but NEVER has any of my plants had a keiki before. A keiki is a (baby) plant that forms on the flower stalk at a node where normally another flower spike would form. My reading tells me that it should be left on the stalk till it is fairly large, and has some roots. I hope I can raise it. 
For several years I have been keeping my Phalaenopsis in the greenhouse in winter, but this is the last year I am going to do that. In an effort to keep my gas bill down I keep the night time temperature to about 55 degrees and that is a bit too cold for Phals. They don't mind summer's heat so bad if they get high humidity, but would probably like summer under the trees better. I plan to try to work on satisfying their needs better in the coming year and see what happens.
Phalaenopsis actually grow best in temperatures where humans are most comfortable. They need bright light, but not direct sun. They are great, beautiful, and long lasting house plants.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Giant Monster

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This is pretty X-file-ish looking. Every time I look out the window and see this, for just a second I think it is some giant bird or else some huge prehistoric reptile.
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