Saturday, September 22, 2012

Eco Fest - Raptors

We stopped by Eco Fest today (in Arlington, Texas), mostly because we heard they were giving away free plants.  While we were there, I was able to photograph some of the birds brought out by the Blackland Prairie Raptor Center.  All of thier birds are either injured or for some reason unable to care for themselves in the wild, so hearing their stories is a little sad, but it is still amazing to see such majestic creatures up close. 

Perigrin Falcon -- This is the type of bird made fameous in My Side of the Mountain.

Red Tailed Hawk -- This guy is a teenager, with lots of energy.  He broke one wing, probably while learning to fly.  Somebody patched him up, but he couldn't fly properly, so he crashed and broke the other one.  In captivity, he'll probably live to be in his twenties.

Screech Owl -- Isn't this just the most adorable thing you ever saw?  That's probably why somebody fed him, and now he can't hunt on his own.

Red Shouldered Hawk -- This guy never learned to hunt either.  He can fly, but tends to go in circles.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Texas Spiders

We were out at Cedar Hill State Park scouting locations to do a little stargazing.  While we were there, we met a few of the park's arachnid inhabitants.  I know the two large spiders were both Texas tarantulas (they were surprisingly willing to have thier picture taken).  Not sure about the other two.  Anybody have a guess?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Citrus and Chocolate

Citurs season is around the corner.
My mom used to tell me stories about getting oranges as gifts and how it was so special since they lived up north and of cours they didn't grow aound that area.  Winter is citrus season though and a whole variety of fruits will be available for a decent price.  As the strawberry preserves are being eaten on fresh scones out of the oven it will be time to preserve the citrus in marmalades and candied slices to be enjoyed throught the summer.

This brings to mind my kaffir lime tree.
So it's still kind of small but it's getting bigger and there are plenty of leaves to use in curies, which are also great in the coming cold weather.  I have to admit my favorite is masuman but any curry is good, especially with potatoes.  I don't know what it is but potatoes go great in any curry you can imagine.

What goes better with citrus than chocolate!
Fortunately the chocolate conference is comin up again this year in Addison on the 29th.  Perfect timing since my chocolate stash is coming to it's end from last year.  I bouth seven bars and saved some of the bigger samples you get with your admision ticket.  They will have lots of chocolates to sample and buy. I'm hoping to have a good variety this year an not so much bacon....  Bacon's ok but not really what I want my chocolate poured over, it's much better with scones and jam.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Cantaloupe Season is Over

No need for a photo today.  I was hoping the cantaloupe plant was only going through a short slump but it seems the  cantaloupe season has ended for our area.  The last fruit has been picked and is sitting in the fridge waiting to be eaten.  The vine is turning yellow and the lieaves are shriveling.  The night air is reaching the mid 60's signaling the end of summer is comming.  Time for the fall harvest to start producing!

My next project is to sprout some black currant seeds and have something in the ground in the next few weeks.  Hopefully they will have time to produce for next fall.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Dallas Inner City Landscaping, Cactus

 It seems Dallas is trying to get some greenery to stay around during the hot weather we've had yet again this year.  Wandering around the streets last weekend we came across dozens of planters with these guys nestled in them.

Some of them had rocks tossed on top, not that that would have bothered them much but it just didn't look very nice so I pulled them off, others had weeds.  I didn't try to fix the weeds since I didn't want to get poked in the process.

These guys aren't the vicious kind you read about that dig their barbs in and don't let go though.  It's more like pointy zip tie ends.  The barbs even have that look to them as if they might make that same zip sound if you ran something along them.

They really are a pretty plant and I hope they keep it up.  They should be able to survive the down town conditions pretty well and they can always use more greenery.  Also the watering requirements for them is pretty low.  The slow growth in these guys will also make it easier for the upkeep.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Blue About the Blue Moon?

There has been a bit of hype recently about the supposed blue moon today.  This is actually not a blue moon however since the actual blue moon can only occur around four specific days of the year give or take a day or so.

The possible dates are February 19, May 20,  August 22 and November 21.  These are approximate give or take a day but no other months can have a blue moon since they signify the third of four full moons in a season and the seasons start at the times of the winter and summer solstice and the spring and fall equinox.

The purpose of the blue moon is to have the names of the seasonal moons consistant, having three named moons per season.  I would consider the full moon today as the Corn Moon.  It's a little early for the harvest moon here since it's so warm in August.  The next moon would be the Harvest Moon, the time when the harvest should probably come in.  The names of the moons differ depending on who is naming them, where they live and what is important to their cluture.

The Jewish calender kept this by having an extra month every few years at the end of the year.  Thus on years with a blue moon during the sacred Jewish calendar, which starts with the new moon before the full moon after the spring equinox, the month of Veadar is added to keep the months straight.  Each month being from new moon to new moon.

As mentioned in a previous post the idea of a blue moon being the second moon in a month doesn't work because of the  famed double blue moon, a second moon in January followed by a second full moon in March. This throws the naming all out the window since there would be no full moon in February  and two blue moons would mean a named moon would be missing.

The next real blue moon is on August 21, 2013. The other three full moons that season are on June 23, July 22 and September 19.  This means that next year's harvest moon will be October 19 which is almost a month later than this year.

(The above picture is not a full moon but was taken a couple days early on a clear night.)