You Don't Know Where You Are Going Until You Know Where You Have Been.
Current Information directly below. Read it like a Blog.| May 6, 2013
At last I can change the subject. Whenever there is a good rain, and we have had it these last few days, there is often a great deal of litter that gets blow from the trees. I actually saw tulip poplar blossoms on the ground last week before the rain and took a few photos. The Tulip Poplars (more correctly Tulip Trees) are in full bloom, and the petals have been dropping as well as a few of the blossoms. The twig that holds the blossom snaps readily, and I do not think the breakage is caused by an insect. We have some insects that are often called “twig pruners” in that they damage the bark or wood and cause the twig to break and the blossom to fall. I suspect that the fallen blossom contains eggs which then carry on the species by migrating to the ground for the next part of their live cycle.
Another reason that I take note of the Tulip Poplar is that that it is a great honey plant and produces a very excellent quality of local honey. The honey is dark and has a distinct flavor that is far different from the commercial honey one gets around here in the store. If you buy honey from a farmers market, see a local bee keeper’s name on it, and it is dark you can bet it is mostly Tulip Poplar honey. If the honey is light in color, it is probably clover or orange blossom and could be adulterated, with imported honey from other countries. Some foreign countries remove all the pollen from the honey which makes it untraceable and then add sugar syrup to stretch the product.
As a beekeeper some years ago I had as many as twenty hives. In the spring as soon as the bees came to the hive with a pale yellow pollen on their backs one knew that the Tulip Poplar honey flow was on. The photo below shows the stamens loaded with pale yellow pollen, and that pollen would rub off on the back of the bees while they went about collecting nectar. If bees want to bring in pollen, they carry it in pollen sacs on their legs.
May 5, 2013 Looks as if the cankerworms are gone for the spring. At least they are gone from my neighborhood. Back on the first I looked at the cherry trees at Freedom Park and there was not massive defoliation, however, over the weekend, there was some serious feeding in the tops of a few of those cherries.
There were hot spots close by, but in general the infestation did not do serious harm to Myers Park.
May 1, 2013 Looks like the cankerworm has done most of its damage and will be moving underground until late fall. See more (photos etc.)
April 23, 2013 Sixteen days after the first cankerworm siting, parts of Charlotte are having massive defoliation. I was in Freedom Park yesterday and always look at the grove of flowering cherry trees near the tennis court at East Blvd. They were badly eaten but not destroyed, yet. Later on the walkway along the creek, I passed an area in the woods of about eight or so willow oaks that were completely defoliated.
I understand that a section of Kings Drive down close to Charlotte Memorial Hospital there are some willow oaks that are likewise defoliated. Not much can be done now but possibly spraying the lower trunk or treating your trees and shrubs with a systemic insecticide. Cankerworms like to feed on Japanese Maples, dogwoods, see more on what cankerworm like to eat. For more details on what has been happening with cankerworm this season 1012-2013 read more
April 19, 2013 So here we are about 2 weeks after first seeing very small insects on the traps, and we have major cankerworm infestations in several parts of Charlotte. the point is that it takes a little while for these little fellows to get cranked up.
“horrendous! They are everywhere on every surface of my patio, my car, all my plants, etc. At any one time you can see 40 - 50 worms dangling from the tree. Now, I’ve been told that what looks like “poppy seeds” all over everything is actually cankerworm poop. I am so grossed out and I can’t even go outside without being covered in worms and poop.”
April 10, 2013
I was out of town for several days and got back home on Sunday April 7, 20113. (I actually wrote this up at the time but had a small computer problem and lost the post) I observed some very small cankerworms on the trap in my yard. See More
April 3, 2013
The willow oaks are coming out fast. I expect the fall cankerworms out soon. They will hatch on the lower part of the traps and start looking for food. You will see very small cankerworms on traps first. At the same time the eggs are hatching in the upper parts of the trees, but it will be a week before you start seeing evidence of feeding or insects that are 3/4 to one inch long. See more on Cankerworms for this spring.
December 30, 2012 Now that we are almost at the end of the year, I want to mention one of my favorite web sites (actually a blog)... Water is Life. Jan, the author lives in New Jersey and was impacted by Sandy. As I recall she lives back from the worst of the flooding. Emotionally, however, she was really affected.. She writes about water issues around the World and her words are what I wish I had expressed. Take a look at this recent article:
She started it like this: (Sorry delay in editing)
December 27, 2012 Here is a photo I took of the Inonotusdryadeus mushrooms at the base of a large willow oak in Myers Park. When the mushroom first appears it has this pretty cinnamon-coloration. As it gets older it turns an ugly black color. The conk will stay on the root where it is attached for years unless removed manually. Taking the conk away does not slow down or change the damage that has been done to the root system below. see September 18th’s comments and photo. Also click here about root rot
December 24, 2012 Cankerworms are out. Caught 23 in a single trap today see link
September 18, 2012 Today is one of those muggy days of early fall. It is the time of year we see mushrooms. They are in the lawn, vacant muddy fields and very often at the base of trees. Yesterday I took a picture of one of our large willow oaks on Selwyn Avenue.
This alarmed me because when similar mushrooms encircle a tree they are eating away at the root system. Actually they are the fruiting bodies of a fungus that is already pretty well advanced. At first I thought was our old friend Inonotus dryadeus but is not. This is a polyporus fungi which means the back side has lots of small holes in it. Another type is called a Gill Fungus. This one is a close kin to the Inonotus dryadeusand is probably “munching” away at the root system of the tree.
From a distance the tree canopy looks pretty good. You can see the tops of the mushrooms at the base of the tree.
If you want to read more about root rot and Charlotte’s tree click Root Rot
September 14, 2012 We in this part of the US have seen a pretty normal wet summer. The trees are green and the grass looks pretty good for mid September. Normal is not the case for the western United States. The drought has been so bad there that the corn and soybean production is way down. Corn for the nation is 25 percent down and soybeans are 40 per cent off normal. Most of us here probably don’t think about either corn unless we are getting it from the farmer’s market. In fact this year it is been exceptionally good.
On the world stage the corn and soybeans we (used to grow) grows goes to feed the rest of the world. In fact we used to grow so much corn that we stockpiled it and had enough emergency food to last the best part of a year. Now our stockpiled corn would only last for 69 days. Many foreign countries, especially poor countries import lots of corn. They also import soy bean oil and soy meal.
A tremendous quantity of corn goes into the production of ethanol. We should not be continuing that. There are other plants that actually are much more efficient at producing ethanol. Will people starve because of this, yes. The erratic nature of our weather caused by climate change will exacerbate the fact. Melting ice caps have caused a shift in the jet stream and slowed it down. That means that these weather systems we are seeing will hang around longer. Droughts will be worse, rain storms and flooding will be worse. We do not have the political will to seriously invest in Thermal, Wind, or Solar technologies. The longer we hold off the worse it will be for all of us.
September 13, 2012 Water fascinates me. In some recent reading I came across something that I bet very few Americans know. The Guinea Worm is something that has affected humans for thousands of years. This is a water problem in that the Guinea Worm breeds in water in Arid countries. It is a painful disease where it grows in the human body and usually emerges from the skin of the leg or foot. Our past President Jimmy Carter has accomplished something absolutely amazing. He has set up a foundation to eradicate the Guinea Worm. When he started there were 3,500,000 people with this terrible problem. After 26 years there are approximately 1058 people with the Guinea Worm. What a tremendous legacy.
The Guinea Worm Eradication program was started by Jimmy Carter in 1986. There were approximately 3,500,000 cases in Africa and Asia. South Sudan, Mali, Chad, and Ethiopia are the only countries that still have the problem. data 2011
When the worm emerges and if the victim places his or her foot in the water immediately the worm lays thousands of eggs. Through educating the people, removing the worm manually as it emerges and keeping the victim away from the water the disease is almost eradicated.
Jimmy Carter Center Read more about how the Jimmy Carter Center with the help of the countries involved have almost eliminated this disease.
August 19, 2012 Farmers markets and many people’s back yards are loaded with tomatoes this time of year. I love the heirlooms and look forward to growing them every year. I tried a new one this year called Goldman’s American Italian Tomato.
Amy Goldman has written a book called Heirloom Tomatoes on tomatoes and was visiting in Italy when she spotted this tomato in a market. She took the seeds home and grew it for a few years. She decided that it was one of the best tomatoes she had every tried. read more
July 30, 2012
I know the information directly below is nine months old, but I stumbled upon it at Propublica.org. The issue reminded me of the 20 North Carolina counties on the coast who only want to look at past historical data about the ocean rise. They think it will affect business.
Top environmental officials under Governor Perry have gutted a recent report on sea level rise in Galveston Bay, removing all mentions of climate change. For the past decade, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), which is run by Perry political appointees, including famed global warming denier Bryan Shaw has contracted with the Houston Advanced Research Center to produce regular reports on the state of the Bay. But when HARC submitted its most recent State of the Bay publication to the commission earlier this year, officials decided they couldn't accept a report that said climate change is caused by human activity and is causing the sea level to rise. Top officials at the commission proceeded to edit the paper to censor its references to human-induced climate change or future projections on how much the bay will rise.
July 5, 2012 I am really disappointed in the North Carolina Government. First Becky Carney from Charlotte, punches the wrong button and is not acknowledged by Mr. Tom Tillis Speaker of the N C House and the North Carolina Fracking Bill passes by one vote. Governor Bev Perdue vetoed the S820 bill to allow Fracking in North Carolina.
Next is Rep. Susi Hamilton, Democrat from New Hanover (according to some and not Susi claim she traded her vote for money for her area.) Read about that here. Rep. Susi Hamilton, D-New Hanover
And then I read a great report by Sue Sturgis which detailed much of what I read about and suspected concerning Bob Rucho’s links to Chesapeake Oil and it’s president Aubrey McClenndon. From what I glean over many months Mr. McClenndon has no respect for the environment. The only positive thing I have seen written about Mr. McCllendon is that he came to the aid of the Duke University Lacrosse Team as they were being nailed to the wall by the Duke Administration. (I am from the Duke Class of 1960 and Mr. McClenndon graduated many years later)
June 30, 2012 Yesterday was a record breaker in my book. The official temperature was 104. My own reading was 106 and I will explain. My car was parked on Monroe Road for several hours and when I got in to come home the thermometer read 108. That is not much of a surprise since the car was sitting for so long. I needed to stop off at Home Depot on the way home and once I got on the road the temp dropped to 106. That again is not much of a surprise, but as I got in after about 30 minutes in the store the temperature was still 106. As I started driving it went up to 108 and then settled down to 106 again. As I got closer to home and there was more shade on Wendover where it meets Sharon Road it dropped to 104. As I moved onto Queens Road West it dropped to 102.
The temperature stayed at 102 on Queens Road West for a mile and that really shows the advantage to having a tree lined street. Not only do the trees lower the temperature in the summer, they also buffer the cold in the winter. Typically the winter temperatures will be several degrees warmer than the official report.
June 28, 2012 First tomatoes of the season Here is a new one for me called Golden Peach Tomato.
June 21, 2012 So you still think Fracking is safe and believe what the Gas Industry is telling you ???? If you do, you absolutely have to see this video in Rolling Stone’s digital magazine.. The video is 18 minutes, but is breath taking and worth every second of your time.. The video is shown several pages down in the article
June 19, 2012 Water is on my mind everyday. It takes a lot of water to fight the fires out in Colorado and other Western states. We use a tremendous amounts of water for agriculture. WE WASTE WATER. A new film is coming out called Last Call At the Oasis. Below is the official trailer for the film.
June 13, 2012 On May 25, photo below, I showed a picture of some of the great koi that I have in my above ground pond. on May 29th I photographed the tomato plant that I placed in the water a week or so before. It is really growing well off the nutrients from the fish water. I thought I would watch its progress through the growing season. Here is one photo taken June 9, 2012. I am just now getting around to posting this photo (June 20) and the plant has grown a lot with many flowers and some very small fruit.
June 11, 2012 Its been almost a month since I have posted. I have been pondering my position on Natural Gas and Fracking. Yes, I think we need the fuel to be able to keep the US going. No I do not like the way we are moving so fast into the fracking, especially in NC. The bill now up for discussion is S 820 (North Carolina). Sen. Bob Rucho is the republican pushing it hard. On the same editorial page on Tuesday June 6, 2012 Senator Rucho said NC has 100 years of natural gas in the shallow gas pockets of the Triassic-era shale basin which extends under Lee, Catham, Durham, Wake and Orange counties. Another editorial on the same pages by an ex gas industry worker of twenty years says five years of natural gas lies under North Carolina soils. Well if it is five years then is it worth doing for only 2 tcf of natural gas. Considering what is at stake, maybe not. Quote from Greensboro News and record here Others seem to have a different take on the subject, and I tend to agree with the Greensboro News and Record.
One of the things being overlooked by so many people is that many things have gone wrong with fracking in other states. One of the main ones is maintaining water quality for the area where fracking is occurring. Because of the fact that we do not know what is in the Read More
May 28, 2012 Today is Memorial Day. I was in my yard working and heard a deep throbbing sound of a prop driven airplane. As I looked up I saw a B-29 raising in the sky. What a thrill to see this vintage plane flying. It is the last of the fleet that can fly and the sight sent shivers up back. I was in kinder garden when W.W.II was over, and I remember those news reels with hundreds of these planes delivering bombs over Europe. So much has changed. Why do we always have to have wars. IMO the next big one will be Water Wars.
May 25, 2012 Recently I have taken photos of some of the koi left that I have for sale. Here is a sample-
May 23, 2012 It’s the time of year when Water Lilies and Lotus look great. Below is Green Maiden Lotus. Want to see more click here
The lotus above is just opening its bud in my garden. I took this several years ago ... more to come. see Lotus and Water Lilies.
May 22, 2012 Water we take for granted I just got back from a fishing trip on the South Holston River which is near Bristol Tennessee. This is one of the best trout streams in the US. It rained the night we arrived so the next day the water was a little muddy. Nature has a way of fixing lots of our mistakes and the next day the water was crystal clear as it usually is.
Clear stream water isn’t really fresh potable drinking water, but it is close to it. We waste so much of it, and water is used in just about everything we do. I am constantly reminded of that. I read a web site called Water is Life and found an astounding photo of just how little water is on this planet we call Earth.
Please take a look. at this photo in the link below
I have lived in my home for 41 years, and my wife and I talked about jerking out the plants in front of the house we had moved into. Well I just got around to it. Brief story is I found a fellow in the North Carolina mountains who had 3,000 boxwoods. These plants were 3 feet tall and 3 ft wide ... not 2 feet six inches to 3 feet but really 3 feet tall and wide.
I bought 20 of them but could only load 17 on the pickup and trailer I borrowed from my brother in law. We got them planted several weeks ago. read more
March 25, 2012 It is true that we have had a very early season. Today, Sunday March 25th I saw my first box wood leaf miner. Years ago when I was in the tree maintenance business, I kept a log every year of when various plants came into bloom. I don’t know where all my records are but I did find one for 1986 and it is interesting to make some observations.
Before I mention specific plants, one needs to know that what influences timing for blooming as well as seed germination is based on different things. For instance boxwood leaf miner will not come out until the new leaves are pretty advanced. In the past I have seen them this early occasionally but more commonly the first week of April.
Some plants will not bloom or germinate until there are a certain number of daylight hours. Other will bloom because the soil warms to a certain temperature.
On March 24, 1986 the Yoshina Cherries bloom was “about peak” which is essentially what we have this year. I observed them in full bloom at Freedom Park about March 23rd.
Our willow oaks in 1986 started dropping their pollen April 2nd and this year it has been coming down hard for over a week.
Conclusion: Yes this has been a strange season with the first daffodils come out December 31st., but still not too far off the norm for most flowering plants. What we don’t need is a severe cold snap that will kill blooms. Last frost date is April 23rd so be careful if you put tomatoes in the ground now.
March 6, 2012 My entries on this page have been pretty sporadic. That is partly due to the fact that I have been doing a lot of research on the Gas and Oil Industry. The entire energy situation is very complex. There have been many very thoughtful and intelligent people who have studied these issue. I plan to report on some of my findings.
I have recently learned that the natural gas wells drilled for fracking do not deliver the long term gas that we have been led to believe. Here is the short story. When a gas well is first drilled it produces at a certain level. The gas producers pretty much project out this flow of gas for a very long period of time. The fact is that after three years the well flow decreases to 30% of the original amount. This 100 years of natural gas will probably only last for 30 years. Read more
February 18, 2012 On the surface, it would appear that I have been remiss on making timely entries. I have been keeping daily tract of the cankerworm activity, and it female migration has wound down to no more females. see cankerworms 2012 There will be more activity this spring and some alarming predictions.
Meanwhile, I have been amazed by all the plants that are blooming out of cycle. I have always predicted that we would have one February week of spring-like weather. It seems like this year the month has had lots of 60 degree days, and it really feels like spring. Grass is beginning to grow, chick weed abounds.
My friends have all been fly fishing and I have not. That tells it all ... to much action on the to do list.
December 29, 2011 I was driving through the Dilworth area yesterday, and I saw what looked like daffodils (jonquils) blooming at the edge of the road. The earliest I have seen them before has been about February 8th which happens to be a family member’s birthday. The first photo is the flowers and the second one to prove it is Christmas time and a lot of decorations are still out. These are some of those blow-up-toys some people like to put up in their yards now around our major holidays. Look to the left of the upside down light bulb to see the flowers.
December 24, 2011 A little aside note based on comments about Mercury below. In Beijing when one is looking to buy a house or rent an apartment , the first thing they look at is Air Quality, not neighborhood schools, or traffic, or crime, but what will they and their children be breathing 24 hours a day.
December 23, 2011 It seems to me that the EPA gave us a Christmas Present recently. I am a fly fisherman and am very interested in clean air and clean water. Mercury gets into the air and water, much of it coming from the burning of coal. We can’t do much about what China or any other country does about burning coal but at least we can improve our own air.
Mercury in the water is absorbed or eaten by lower life forms and ends up in fish that we eat. It is also in the air we breath. Once it is in the the body it accumulates. Cleaning up the air can prevent 130,000 cases of childhood asthma symptoms and acute bronchitis in another 6,300 children each year.
December 16, 2011 I have been tying to get my mind on how much a Trillion is. It seems we see money mentioned in the Trillions frequently. I understand that a hundred dollar bill is .0043 inches thick. A trillion 100 dollar bills stacked on their side would stretch from Los Angles to Salt Lake City about 678 miles. (from wiki.answers.com)
December 16, 2011 Someone said yesterday that it surely is warm for December. I don’t think that is unusual at all. I distinctly remember going out in shirt sleeves on several Christmas days in the past, and I think we always have some warm weather in December. Typically in years past, it is very dry in September, October, and November. We can get some severe cold in January and February but I always say that there is always a warm trend in February when you think Spring has arrived.
December 9,2011 Cankerworms have started. Just saw my first two climbing on the tar paper. They have not even reached the Tanglefoot yet. For more and past history check cankerworms
December 5, 2011 I have had a tree in my front yard for several years that has had mushrooms growing from the base.
November 14, 2011 Bear Chases Deer ...We have a new dog named Bear. Bear is an eleven year old female and seems to be mostly hound in that she loves to put her nose to the ground and explore. In our yard she goes after a rabbit that lives in the back, various chipmunks, and numerous squirrels that hang out in our trees and bury acorns in the lawn. Photo of Bear. below pointing an irrigation flag.
On Friday November 11, 2011 I took Bear over to my old office property. Its a great place to run and she had been there once before. When I let her out of the car she seemed to know exactly where she was and started sniffing around. Meanwhile I went down to the ponds to check on the koi.
I need to explain that my property is surrounded by a six foot chain link fence with an arm that has razor wire on top of it. In other words the property is completely closed in with a fence that is about 7 feet high. I was at the above ground pond which is four feet high and about thirty feet long. I was checking the fish in the pond and was about eight feet from the end of the pond. I heard a commotion to my right and looked up.
I saw this massive buck deer with a tremendous set of antlers charging more or less at me. As he got close to the pond he leaped over the four foot pond and Bear was charging right behind him.
I was really startled and thought, “I have got to get a photo of this.” I pulled out my Droid which requires one to punch a number of buttons before taking a picture. Bear had chased the deer to the opposite end of the property. Before I could even get my camera set up, the Buck Deer was heading toward me again. He cleared the pond by at least three feet in about the same place, and Bear was still behind him.
At this point I decided that I should forget the picture and protect my dog. If cornered, I knew this deer could kill Bear with his hoofs or lift her up in the air with his antlers. Several people have asked me how many points the deer had on his antlers, and things happened so fast I did not have time to count.
Bear chased the deer through my garden and down to the end of the property that is close to Monroe Road. I could not see for the vegetation, but shortly Bear was sniffing the ground and there was no evidence of the deer.
All of this is pretty amazing because my property is in a commercial area very close to town. I was amazed that the deer was inside the fence and more amazed that he was able to leap out. I am told that a deer can clear an eight foot fence, and I believe it.
November 11, 2011 When we were in Arizona at the Grand Canyon in early November, I was anxious to take some photos of the sunrise over the Grand Canyon. I got up well before daylight and left the old hotel in which we were staying. As I walked around the corner of the building I heard a noise just a few feet away and in the darkness could tell it was a deer feeding on the front lawn. There’s not much grass since its almost desert so I suppose the deer thought this was his private dinning area. I stopped, set the flash on my camera and took this photo above .....
November 6, 2011 I just got back from a trip to Tucson Arizona, Grand Canyon, and Sedona Arizona. Truly and interesting part of the country, so different from our trees here in the Piedmont of North Carolina.
I will post more photographs later.
October 3, 2011
As anyone who lives here knows we have had some unseasonable cold the last few days. This brings out the inevitable questions from people who know me. When am I going fly fishing again? Are my tomatoes through for the year? And, what are the cankerworms going to do this fall? I think the cankerworm infestation in Charlotte will be like last year and very much reduced. There might be a few hot spots and we know there should be problems in Cabarrus County. For more on the Fall Cankerworms, Click here
September 9, 2011
Important issues like September 11th, and what our politicians are doing are taking the headlines, but of some small note today in the early morning at 6:25 or so, I was walking down the driveway to remove some materials from the front yard to the back since my wife was having a get together with friends at 8:30.
I heard a pop and thought that sounded like gun fire and then a series of 3 pops and then a tearing sound and realized that it was a falling tree or a very large limbs coming down. Fortunately, it was just a very long limb from a willow oak that was located on the planting strip next door to our house and 40 feet below our driveway. We live on a street that has an island down the middle which separates four lanes of traffic, two on each side of the island. This limb blocked up our side of the street, and the butt part of the limb was lodged in a lower fork about 30 feet below where the limb broke off. Had this been several years ago I would have gotten my chain saw and at least cleared the street so one lane of traffic could get by.
The city tree crew got there about 8:20 and I was curious to find out why the limb had broken off. There was no wind.
August 22, 2011 All of a sudden I have these interesting events to share. I heard a scream from my wife the other day as she was coming around my car in the driveway. Here is what she saw: She thought it was dead and that I had put it there as a joke. Well I had not and it was just a King Snake that had swallowed a rather large animal. My guess is that it was a chipmunk. I think he had just overeaten and was not inclined to move. King Snakes have white markings on them and in this case they are faded I believe because the stretched skin dilutes the white. Once whatever he ate is digested, the stripes will return to their normal whiteness.
August 21, 2011
Recently, I have made quite a few entries to this web site to make several pages current. Check out Environmental.
I am working on the koi pages because I have some nice fish for sale. In the process two things happened in the last two weeks that were a big surprise. I was in the back yard picking up a plant tray and a yellow jacket stung me. I used to keep honey bees and have been stung many times and have always felt that yellow jackets hurt more. In this case I got stung on my ring finger. Unfortunately I had my wedding ring on and should have removed it immediately. Well, being who I am I kept on doing was I was doing and then realized that the finger was swelling and I could not get my finger off.
About an hour later I got concerned since I could not even turn the ring so decided to go to the emergency room. I had taken a Benedryl tablet but it did not do much good. They pumped a lot more Benedryl in me and applied ice. I went home kind of knocked out and got the ring off at 4:00 am the next morning.
Turns out there is a yellow jacket nest in the ground about 10 feet from where I got stung. Since there are a lot of yellow jackets about click this link to know how to get rid of yellow jackets. At least this is the way I do it and it works.
A couple of days later I standing next to a red but tree and reached under some foliate to see something. My hand brushed across the top of this guy. Note the fine hairs on the antenna. They hold venom and really sting. It went away in 30 minutes or so.
July 07, 2011 I have been following gold mining for some time. The proposed resurrection of the Haile Gold mine in Kershaw SC has me concerned
I will get to the Haile shortly, but first some thoughts on gold.
Gold has been valued for about as long as man has been around. It is malleable and does not tarnish It has little commercial use. In fact India uses more gold than any other country in the World. There is more gold in India than in Fort Knox. The individual people in India own almost 60 million pounds of gold (27000 metric tons). Gold is used as a dowry and goes with a women when she gets married. If she and her husband do well more gold is acquired. Much of this gold is made into jewelry. Presently, the price of gold is going up because of financial problems around the world. It is predicted to be in excess of $1875.00 per ounce
June 30, 2011 We dug about 50 feet of potatoes at the Urban Ministries garden today. These will be taken to the Friendship Trays for processing. What was pretty significant was that we got 9.2 pounds of Red Pontiac potatoes from one plant. That’s a pretty large number. Last year in my personal I grew in my own garden potatoes and got about one pound per plant. Two things account for the growth, one is excellent soil, two is that they get plenty of water on a timely basis.
This photo was taken at the Harris Teeter next to the Common Ground Market. All proceeds from Common Ground go to Urban Ministries.
The scale reads almost 9 1/4 pounds.
June 6, 2011 I am back after a busy day at my vegetable garden. I planted tomatoes from seed this year under lights. I work with the garden at Urban Ministries and used a grow light there to start enough tomatoes for the UM garden and my own.
my system for tomatoes seems to work. I usually end up with about 20 seedlings and plant them on a stagger schedule. I plant about 3 to six the first day and then a couple of more every time I visit my garden which is usually a couple of times a week.
This garden is at my office and I have some large koi ponds. Since the pond water is benefited by frequent changes and additions, I have a small pump in the above ground fish pond and let it run while I am there tending to whatever needs work. This “fish water. really makes the tomatoes grow well and taste terrific. I recommended it to anyone. No other fertilizer is used although I much with wood chips, leaves, and anything that I think will work.
The big observation today was that where my drip is, the soil beneath appears to have great moisture in it even though the un-watered parts of the garden are very hard since we are in the 90’s for over a week. Summer is really here.
I you want to see more on my gardening exploits, follow me
June 5, 2011
As you can see from the date, I have taken a long break from entering information on this site. I have spent some time doing research on what should be in the content of these pages. Big Thunderstorm coming. Going to shut down.
April 21, 2011 Zeke and I are heading to VA to fish on the Jackson River. This turned out to be a very interesting and exciting adventure. If you want to see photos and details of the trip follow me
March 28, 2011 The Charlotte Observer article today said that the fall cankerworms would hatch in the first week of April. I suspect that we will start seeing them in early April but they will have been out for some time (March 24th). I actually saw one spinning down on its silken thread on the 26th of March. That surprised me. It could have been another subspecies of cankerworms because there are several. The one I saw dangling down on a thread was quite dark as was one that I saw on my car. The typical cankerworms that we see are a bright green. To my knowledge they hatch pretty much at the same time. One of the natural predators of the fall cankerworm is the Telenomus plsophila. This wasp has been in short supply for some reason but seems to be making a comeback.
March 24, 2011 This years crop of cankerworms is hatching today. I looked at one of my traps and saw quite a few tiny green worms which are the young cankerworms. They have emerged from the eggs that the females laid on the tar paper. The females were tying to get to the top of the tree, but the cankerworm trap stopped them and the males were attracted there by chemical pheromones. This is about the time I expected to see the young ones. Do not take down your cankerworm traps quite yet. I think by April 15th it will be OK to remove them since it takes several days to a week before you will see evidence of them feeding in the trees. (Read More)
March 14, 2011 There is lots going on in the world. The major problems in Japan and Africa, one hardly knows what to be most concerned about. On our home front, I am concerned with the gold mining that is planned for Kershaw South Carolina. I am researching details, but my concern is what they do with all the dirt they plan to remove. Once the gold is extracted, how much bad stuff remains in the fine silt left over. If there are lots of heavy metals in it, what are the details of the procedures to treat or contain them.
This is a subject worth studying.
January 21, 2011 One of the things I have been trying to do relevant to the emergence of the cankerworm is to see what the parallel to temperature is. Plants and Insects respond to what is know as degree days. For some plants to produce flowers they will only do so after they have matured to a point where they can survive a cold snap as an example. It takes a certain number of hours of warm temperature for them to reach a point where the conditions of growth are right. It might take 100 hours where the temperature is over sixty-five degrees. It might be early April or mid May depending on what nature throws at us. This year has been a cold winter so we should expect some plants to come out later than what might be considered normal.
Not all plants behave this way, some plants require a certain amount of day light to perform a function. For instance in the late summer, Lotus plants cease flowering. We might think that it is because it is getting cooler, but it is actually the fact that the days are getting shorter.
Therefore knowing what degree days are is important to know. If you understand how degree days affect your heating and cooling in your home or office, then you might be able to save some money. It used to be difficult to calculate degree days but there is a site that will do that automatically for you now. Besides doing this difficult task for you, the site will explain how you can use this information. The degree days are broken down into Heating degree days, Cooling degree days, and Plant degree days. Check this site out. http://www.degreedays.net/
January 17, 2011 I actually have been adding information to the site, but most of it has gone into the information on our yearly problem with the fall cankerworm. A short recap is worth mentioning here. Last year was a slow year and 2011 looks like it will be also. So far this year I have only captured 30 insects. In 2006 I was counting over 100 insects a day around the 25th of December. A tree up Queens Road West during that year had over 8000 insects. That is quite a contrast. Is the cankerworm going away? I do not know, but in our neighborhood it is certainly diminished. I think that the last spray done in 2008 was the turning point. For more information about years past go to cankerworms past history.
To put things in perspective, here we are in the middle of January and have 30 insects. In the fall of 2006 in November we had 26 insects. In December of this year we had a total of 11 female cankerworms and in December of 2006 had 1987 insects trapped in the trap. In mid January 2011 as stated above we have a total of 30 insects and in January of 2006 we had 3901 just for that month. By early February in the past, the migration has stopped about the fifth of the month. I believe they will wind down as they usually do in February.
Here is a photo that I took several years ago when we had a heavy infestation. Compare in your mind the 28 insects captured so far this year, 2011, to these insects which are too many to count.
December 19, 2010 The cankerworms are getting started.... saw first one Sunday afternoon. see cankerworms 2010 -2011 for lots more information.
December 18, 2010 Temperature outside 35.9 degree at 7:30 AM.
December 17, 2010 Yesterday I went to check on my koi that are over at the my old business property on Monroe Road. With several days of unusually cold weather I needed to see how the fish were getting along. The water in the Main pond has been low due to lack of rain. I try to keep the main pond topped off with rain water I collect from the various roofs.
The ice was about two inches thick in the Main pond, however, the fish were actively swimming underneath it. I have one pump running which is circulating the water. This leaves a hole in the ice so that gasses under the ice dissipate. The koi do not like the cold water but since the pond is underground the surrounding soil tends to keep the water from getting too cold. The soil below ground stays at approximately 55 degrees during the winter.
The above ground pond which we call the Long pond is not protected by the ground, and it had solid ice over the surface. I did not want to break it but think it was about four inches thick. I also do not have a pump running in the Long pond because the fish are small and normally there is enough oxygen in the water to keep the fish happy. I was surprised to see about half a dozen dead fish caught in the ice. I also saw a few moving under the ice.
Was the death of the fish caused by the rapid change of temperature in the last few days? Was it because there was no oxygenating pump? The ice was solid up to the sides of the pond and would not let unhealthy gasses out, I do not know the answers.
I suspect it might be because there is no pump. I have another pond that is below ground about the same size as the Long pond. We call this our Mud pond. It has a lot of plant containers which tend to tip over and spill the Mud in the pond. There are no dead fish in this pond, and there are many more fish in it than in the Long pond.
December 4, 2010 Deer in Town If you are from some other town or live in the county, then seeing deer might not be so unusual. I live near Freedom Park and it takes us about seven minutes to get all the way down town. It is strange then to see a buck in our front yard very early one morning several weeks ago. He caused the security lights to come on and stood in the front yard posing just like in the Movies. The lights from a passing car caused him to run up the street. After passing that information around, we found out that a doe and two fawns were seen by several people near Myers Park Country Club.
My wife and I just made a trip by car to Rochester New York. We rode through North Carolina, all the way across Virginia, Pennsylvania, and most of the way up to the Canadian border. For the overall trip we saw approximately 25 dead deer by the side of the highway. That seemed like an incredible number in that everyone would have been hit by a vehicle. While we were there and driving at dusk or night we kept our eyes pealed for eyes on the highway and of course tried to keep the speed down. This time of the year are in their rutting season and consequently, rush across the roads and cause lots of traffic accidents. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that drivers hits a deer approximately 1.5 million times each year in the US and over 100 people are killed.
October, November, and December are the worst months for accidents involving deer, so we should all be more vigilant as we drive at night both in the city and out in the country.
November 15, 2010 Where Have All the Mushrooms Gone? I am used to seeing lots of those cinnamon colored mushrooms at the base of our large willow oaks in the late summer and early fall. They are the fruiting body of the Inonotus dryadeus mushroom that feeds on the roots or trees, mostly willow oaks in this area. I imagine the fact that we have had such dry weather is what has limited it above ground growth. Unfortunately, I am sure it is still growing underground and eating away at the root system.
We usually see these mushrooms from late August and into September and October. One reason this is not a good thing is that we use the mushroom and how fast it is spreading to determine when the tree is hazardous and needs to be removed. When we don’t see the mushroom it leads to complacency. I usually say that after one first sees the mushroom at the base of a tree, it takes about three years before the tree should be removed. If we go through a season where there are no fruiting bodies visible, that does not mean the mushroom has stopped doing its damage.
I have one of these mushrooms at the base of one of my trees, and I will need to remove it in a year.
November 11, 2010 Someone asked the other day what my opinion was about weather or not one needs to shut off residential irrigation systems in the winter. There is not a short answer. In our part of the country, Piedmont North Carolina, it rarely freezes hard, and on some of our very coldest days I found the bare ground frozen only 2 inches deep. With leaf litter it was only one inch deep. Most irrigation systems will be 12 inches deep so there is no danger of pipes freezing. Drip irrigation which is normally on the ground is self draining.
It is wise to shut off the system in the winter for several reasons. It relieves pressure on the pipes which means your system should last longer.
Most systems have a backflow preventer that is above ground. The pipes will freeze even under a plastic cover if the temperature drops to 23 degrees F. If you insulate the pipe inside the box you might be OK
We almost always installed hose standpipe faucets on the irrigation systems we installed which means there is a pipe that sticks up from the ground. We always used copper and that will probably be less likely to rupture than plastic PVC.
It’s not hard to winterize your system if you are a do it your selfer.
Here is what you need to do. (This applies to moderate areas like Piedmont North Carolina.)
Turn off the system at the meter if you have a separate meter. If you do not have a separate meter close the ball valve that isolates your irrigation from your home water line.
From your controller, open each valve to relieve pressure on the various zones.
You should have a valve at the low end of your system that you can open that will drain most of the water in the system. At least it should put the water below ground. This is true except for your backflow preventer.
The backflow preventer should be removed so all the water drains from it. Most good setups provide pipe unions that allow you to remove the backflow preventer and store it inside or otherwise out of the freezing weather.
If your backflow preventer is under ground, it will not freeze so you can just leave it alone.
I only remember one or two times when we had sustained cold down near zero where the above information might not apply. If you do the job yourself, you better keep a close eye on temperature extremes.
November 2 I still have most of the ponds at the office and have really been bothered by something going after my smaller ponds. The sides are only a foot or so high and either a possum or a raccoon has been rooting around the pots. A few years ago I found a small raccoon foot print on the side of the container. I caught a small raccoon back then in a have a hart trap.
Two years later I think I am being invaded. I installed a automatic fish feed on the side of the main pond so I would not have to come over daily and feed the fish. It worked well but something pretty big was climbing around on the pond waterfall and creating problems . One small hose was dislodged and sending the water outside the pond. I lost water all the way down to the upper level of the pond. That was 20 inches of water and the pond is 4 ft deep. The small submersible pump was on the bottom of the first level.
Then recently, I found something pulled my automatic fish feed over to the edge and even though there is lock on it, I suppose if the feeder is shaken all the food will come out. My fear was that he or she would pull it in the water and ruin the electronics. I took my trap which has two doors at opposite ends of the trap. I put a dog food dish in one end and secured that end of the trap. I then opened and set the other end. This meant the animal had to go all the way into the trap to get to the dog food and step on the trigger which is placed in the middle.
I caught him and I presume his mate a few days later. Good riddance. (end)