Category Archives: Uncategorized

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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All Hail the Conquering Stick Figure: A Chat with Greek Myth Comix

Great to see a teacher try to reach her students in an unconventional way.


Laura Jenkinson is not your typical Classics teacher: in her classroom, myths and legends take shape in cartoon form. As stick figures, Odysseus, Hector, Ajax, and the rest of the Trojan War gang guide her students through the worlds of the Iliad and Odyssey.

On Greek Myth Comix she shares the fun with the rest of us, breathing new life into tales many of us struggled with in school and rekindling our passion for the classics. She chatted with us about why her stick figures have no faces, teaching the smartphone generation, and how art helps her manage anxiety.

Check out Laura's full comic explanation of hamartia. Check out Laura’s full comic explanation of hamartia.

Why did you first start creating Classics comics?
First, a New Year’s Resolution to be more creative, and second, an A-level Classics student applying for animation courses who asked me to help him make a portfolio. When we were studying the duels in the Iliad, he’d…

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Declaration of Independence

Happy Birthday America.

Almost Chosen People

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, —That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of…

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Very small things

I don’t often run into posts about beneficial microorganisms. I’ve reposted this in its entirety. Enjoy.

The Snail of Happiness

I’m very well read. Possibly not in the sense of great literature – I’ve never read a whole novel by Dickens, my Shakespeare is shaky and I’ve managed the first chapter of Catch 22 about four times but never got any further. However, I work as a scientific editor and this means that I get to read some fascinating pieces of research (as well as some dull ones). And they come from all over the world because, mostly, I work with authors whose first language isn’t English. Much of the work that I read is at the cutting edge of its particular subject, whether that’s ecology, genetics, forestry, biotechnology, nursing or education, so I get to know about new ideas and technologies before they have even been published and become available to the rest of the world… which is how, a couple of years ago, I came to know about…

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Finding Place through Art and Science: The Field Journals of Lyn Baldwin