Author Archives: Living Soils

Kale – Superfood

Kale, known as the King of Healthy Greens, is a leafy green that comes in many varieties and will grow in many diverse locations, though some might find it tricky to overcome the plant pests that like to eat kale as much as people do. Kale can range in color from green to blue-silver to […]

via Kale – Superfood Extraordinaire — Southern Belle Organics

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Snow Leopard Video

This 1 September 2017 video is about a snow leopard in Ladakh, Indian Himalaya. More about snow leopards there is here.

via Snow leopard in Indian Himalaya — Dear Kitty. Some blog

Sail On Texas Navy

It’s a unique part of being human — tragedy, hardship, loss and pain tend to bring people together. It seems like it would be prosperity, success, everything going good that brings people together. Not so, at least, not usually. Case in point is Hurricane Harvey. For those not directly affected, this may be a meaningless […]

via Sail On Texas Navy! — RabBits

Unbuckling the Corn-Belt – One Drop at a Time

Organic Matters

There is an African proverb that speaks to our modern agricultural dilemma. It is said that “dirty water cannot be washed.” Yet we continue to pollute our waters with our agricultural practices in the heartland of the continent. Corn and soy are planted in vast expanses, modified to withstand extreme applications of pesticides and herbicides. They are also reliant on vast devotions of synthetic fertilizers.

All these agricultural inputs end up in our waterways and drinking water, harming our health and the environment. There is no easy method to “wash away” these pollutants so pervasive in our waters.  

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What can I tell by looking at – and touching – my soil?

Soils Matter, Get the Scoop!

If you are outside and want to know something about the soil you are working with, and don’t have any fancy equipment, then this is for you. With a little bit of experience you can get an idea of how much organic matter you have in your soil, how much clay you have, and how acidic or basic your soil is. The equipment you need is: 1) your eyes; 2) your hands; 3) a little water; and 4) a piece of pH litmus paper (never leave home without it).

Soil Darker soil near the top (grass) has more organic matter in it, which makes the soil dark brown. Credit: NRCS

Organic matter –Organic matter is a source of plant nutrients, the source of energy for soil organisms, and a sponge for holding water in the soil. To know something about soil organic matter, just look at the color of the soil…

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Headline of the day III: The Pink Fairy did it!

Great pictures and yes it is the hottest year on record. Hard to deny that.

eats shoots 'n leaves

A screencap for this story in the Intercept:

BLOG Climate

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Hops – Canonsburg Cascade. 🌱🌱

You gotta have great hops. Look at these pictures. Umm beer.

Sea Hares may save Florida’s Algae Problem.

We have a giant problem here in Florida with algae from the big lake.

Crafty Surf = Crafts + Surf

Honestly, I went through grad school in Oceanography, and although I’ve seen plenty of sea slugs and nudibranches while diving, I’ve never had the pleasure of encountering a Sea Hare. At least, I don’t think so, since they resemble sea rays as they glide through the water. Now, every time I surf, I’m looking for them in the ocean like a digital Pokemon after reading this article:

Rare Sea Hare washes ashore in Cocoa Beach

Sea Slugs and Nudibranches are beautiful creatures, and they have and wonderful knack off being sweet little algae vaccums, of which we are in desperate need right now. Especially with the emergency in South Florida.

Sea Hare Common Sea Hare

Through this article, I discovered the most wonderful, comprehensive site on sea slugs I’ve ever seen here:

Sea Slug Forum!

I have NO affiliation with this site, I’ve just become enamored with the beautiful pictures of these…

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Super duper June bugs

Excellent website by an entomologist.

Beetles In The Bush

Last June, after spending the day collecting insects at Sand Hills State Park in south-central Kansas with Mary Liz Jameson, Jeff Huether and I setup our blacklights at the edge of the dunes. We were hoping to attract males of the genus Prionus, following a hunch that maybe the dunes—a popular historical collecting site—would prove to be the habitat for the enigmatic Prionus simplex (known only from the type specimen labeled simply “Ks.”). We knew it was a long shot, made even longer by a bright moon and the unseasonably cool temperatures that settled over the dunes as the sun dipped below the horizon, and in the end no Prionus would be seen. We did see, however, some other interesting insects, one of the more interesting being males of Hammond’s lined June beetle—Polyphylla hammondi. Almost immediately after sunset a number of these large, chunky-bodied beetles resembling super-sized versions of their far more…

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Terrarium DIY-Scenes Under Glass

For some reason terrariums are no longer done in school. They are a great learning device for children. I enjoyed this post so I have reposted it here.

The Garden Diaries

An assortment of terrariums that are easy to make An assortment of terrariums that are easy to make

Every year around this time, with the outdoors looking so gloomy and bare, I am starving to see something blooming and growing in my house.  Christmas decorating is just a memory and the Philadelphia Flower Show is still not here yet! To satisfy my urge to garden I turn to terrariums.  Terrariums are easy to create using the right plants and containers.

The preparation is simple for a terrarium, similar to making a layered salad in a bowl.

To see directions on making a beach scene terrarium, go to my post at Beach Scene Terrarium.

Beach succulent terrarium tutorial Beach succulent terrarium tutorial

Step by Step Directions

I like to use decorative rocks such as geodes and crystals in terrariums I like to use decorative rocks such as geodes and crystals in terrariums

  1. Lay 1 inch of pebbles into base of container
  2. Add 1 T of horticultural charcoal to the bottom layer and mix in

    Horticultural charcoal Horticultural charcoal

  3. Add…

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