Friday, March 27, 2009

EARTH HOUR 2009 March 28th 8:30 p.m. local

It's time to turn off the lights and the electric gizmos. Just one little hour.

We have big fat candles in jars and under hurricane lamps all ready,plus a hand turned flashlight for just in case. Mainly we are going for total darkness.
You don't have to go dark if safety concerns you, just power down as much as you can leaving on what you consider essential.
The kids wanted to put up the trampoline out back, but it is supposed to be sleety /snow and cold so that is out.

We can tell stories,sing and eat. Finger foods for everyone. If you haven't already signed up then join us at EARTH HOUR

Map of U.S participants signed up so far... Map

The city of Chicago is ready... Chicago

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bee housing extraordinaire

I really hope this link holds because the many pictures are great.
The site is German and so had to be linked through google translation. But the pictues say it all even if not translated. Make sure to scroll all the way down, some of the best pictures are at the bottom of the page.
An arrow pointing to the right,within the text, will take you to different pages on the site. The first arrow leads to the trail in a botanical garden where that particular bee housing was built. You can see some of the flowers planted along the paths.
And if you search through there are some directions and ideas. If interested explore the site by clicking those right facing arrows.

Solitary Bee housing

building directions on another site.

Great Picture

Found this site while visiting Busy Bee Girl's Blog . If you like information about bees you will love her blog.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

A Walk In The Woods.

My husbands parents retired to a community in Hot Springs Village Arkansas. While visiting recently I found one of my favorite spring wildflowers growing along a path in the garden.
Claytonia virginica/Spring Beauty

I decided to take a walk along one of the nearby trails to see if I could find more.
Here you can see an open flower and the narrow leaves, some purplish from the still chill nights.

Click here for more information
One of our prettiest and earliest-blooming wildflowers—spring beauty (Claytonia virginica)—is also a delicious vegetable. It may be the definitive tater tot. Native to moist woodlands, sunny stream banks, and thickets in eastern North America, this low-growing plant has tiny underground tubers that can be prepared and eaten just like potatoes. Indeed, another common name for the spring beauty is the "fairy spud."

Illinois Wildflowers ...excerpt
Various kinds of bees visit the flowers, include honey bees, bumblebees, Little Carpenter bees, Mason bees, Nomadine Cuckoo bees, Miner Halictid bees (including Green Metallic bees), and Andrenid bees. Many flies also visit the including Syrphid flies, the Giant Bee fly (Bombylius major), Carrion flies, Muscid flies, and Anthomyiid flies. Less often, various butterflies and skippers visit the flowers. These insects usually seek nectar; some of the bees also collect pollen. It is possible that the corms, which are edible, are eaten occasionally by voles and other small rodents. They can be eaten by humans as well, but their small size makes this rather impractical.
University Of Arkansas Agricultural Extension
USDA Plants Profile and distribution map
Ozark Edge Wildflowers

The marked walking trails are nice with lots to see even on a late February stroll.

The most exciting find was a hobbit hole. No wooden door to knock at so one must shout "HELLO!" before entering.

No one seemed to be at home this day or else all were sleeping late.

Can you imagine Tolkien strolling along a wood in England and finding just such a dwelling before penning 'The Hobbit'?

Other than Spring Beauties most green flora consisted of ferns and moss.

Some blooming.

Some shining in the sunlight.

Isn't this moss covered bank pretty?

And this growing on a decaying fallen branch.

These little mushrooms looked liked something from a story about to set out on a walk along the trail on such a fine day.

Our own garden here in Chicago is still very brown except for the tips of a few bulbs begining to emerge. Todays warm rain should encourage them.