Dear Bob, here are some photos of my life here on the campus of Concordia Seminary. I love kids, working with the grounds crew, swimming, playing with my dog friends, and especially my own family people.
Often when a tree is taken down here on campus, students or staff walk by and question why that beautiful tree is coming down. Here is a recent example of why. Trees don't live forever regardless of the mythology surrounding ancient trees.
This is one limb from an old oak which had to be cut down. Thankfully we have people who know trees and get them out of the way before someone or some part of the property gets hurt. You can't always see what's inside from the outside. What looks beautiful outwardly may be rotten on the inside. Kind of like us people.
For some years St. Louis area organizations involved with plant life have been publicizing the urgency of erradicating the bush Honeysuckle which grows prolifically. Not only does it grow like crazy, it takes over the landscape and suffocates everything in its path. It also is a nice companion to the out of control weed vines, another huge problem.
Originally brought to the US from Europe and Asia as a sweet smelling ornamental hedge, the Honeysuckle is now a huge detriment almost everywhere. We've been working on removing as much of this annoying plant as we can here at the seminary but as often as they are cut down, they come back with a vengence. It takes cutting them to the ground and then poisoning the stump immediately. Then starting all over the next year.
The good Honeysuckle brings (great spring frangrance, pretty red berries fall) is negated by the stranglehold they put on the landscape. We had it in our yard in Collinsville but have successfully removed all traces by constant vigilance. In large areas like Forest Park and the seminary campus it is not that easy.
If you have a way to look at the sky tomorrow around sunrise you should be able to see a total eclipse of the moon and the rising sun simultaneously. This syzygy is very rare according to sky experts and if you are in the St. Louis area, the optimal time will be from 7:03 until 7:11. Where we are there are too many trees so we most likely won't see the fulll effect.
It's hard to tell how good the pumpkin crop is this year, certainly it doesn't seem to be as large as last year which saw tons of them in front of stores and very low prices. Much smaller displays this year. But we have a few pumpkins here on campus, planted on a slope behind the field house.
We planted the small ones this year in hopes that each child might get one. Too soon to tell how many we'll get. But as I took the picture last night way up high, Ferdie got confused as to where I was and how I got onto the ledge. He went down below and then looked up and me. Finally he decided the stairs were the best bet to get back to where I was.
These stairs have been around for a long time and have that old timeless feel and look.
Every year we get a chance to study how nature predicts the seasons. Often our interpretations are right, but just as often we're wrong. One of those predictors for what kind of winter we'll have is acorns. Experts tend to believe that it is not the size of oak tree acorns which portend a mild or severe winter, but the number of acorns. The more there are, the harder the winter.
Last year we had so many acorns it was impossible to walk along the grassy areas, it was like walking on ball bearings. There were so many we raked, rolled and picked up gallons of the darn things and never reached the bottom. And, we had a miserably cold and snowy winter.
At the moment I am not seeing much in the way of acorns. Yes, there are some, and the bigger, waxy leaved oak trees have quite a few, but not the traditional leafed oaks. The weather prognosticators are all saying we're in for another winter like last year, but not according to the acorns..if, in fact, they are true forecasters. We shall see.
The Space Weather Prediction Center (who knew) is warning us that the combined energy from two recent solar events will arrive at Earth on September 13, prompting the Space Weather Prediction Center to issue a strong Geomagnetic Storm Watch.
Wowser. What does this mean? "Basically, the sun is a giant ball of gas — 92.1% hydrogen and 7.8% helium. Every now and then it spits out a giant burst of radiation called a coronal mass ejection, or CME."
But what does this mean? Space weather experts aren’t sure yet what this solar storm will do. But. You might want to keep a flashlight handy. Solar storms can knock out power, interfere with GPS and radio communications — including those on commercial airliners — and they can damage satellites.
On the upside, solar storms also create beautiful aurora. Aurora watchers in the northern U.S. should be watching the skies on Thursday and Friday nights. Plus, as an added bonus, the Aurora Borealis will be visible to parts of the United States tonight, parts which normally don't get to see them. Looks we are right on the edge of seeing/not seeing. Map of who will see the northern lights is at the link.
The latest garden pest, something new! What would an end of summer be without worrying about the lawn? Army worms have made their way into the St. Louis area and begin as eggs which turn into larvae which turn into caterpiller like things and finally morph into moths.
As caterpillers they march side by side into the landscape eating everything in sight including lawns. The side by side marching is how they came to be called army worms. The lawns turn brown as the blades are eaten.They eat at night so it is hard to spot them, but birds, skunks, rodents, even other bugs such as wasps and flies will eat them which helps with the control. If you see a ton of birds in your yard, it could be they've found a good army worm meal.
The good thing is army worms don't survive cold weather and the lawns will survive and make a come back.
The treatment for these army worms is a tough insecticide like Seven which works very well at eliminating insect problems but it is not a benign substance so care must be taken when applied.
Earth Addicts is a Twitter account which publishes outstanding photos of natural things from all over the world. This picture taken from above an eagle by a drone is riveting especially since we have so many hawks flying overhead every day. A good look at what the eagle sees and a lesson for us in the tremendous eyesight these birds must have in order to spot a rabbit, squirrell or other small prey from that height.
The old saying is "He has eyes like a hawk" might just as well apply to eagles as well.
We have a beautiful row of green herbs growing in the campus kitchen garden. It looks very much like parsely and I even put a brass plant marker in the front labeled parsely.
Unfortunately it isn't parsely, it's Lovage. It smells and tastes rather like celery and was cultivated in the old days, mainly in England, for it's medicinal value.
"The roots and fruit are aromatic and stimulant, and have diuretic and carminative action. In herbal medicine they are used in disorders of the stomach and feverish attacks, especially for cases of colic and flatulence in children, its qualities being similar to those of Angelica in expelling flatulence, exciting perspiration and opening obstructions. The leaves eaten as salad, or infused dry as a tea, used to be accounted a good emmenagogue. "
The description of which has made me steer way clear of it even when strongly encouraged to use it. The old uses differ from some current day gardeners and cooks who seem to be very proud of having it and use it in cooking regularly.
"The taste of the foliage is, admittedly, unsubtle -- much like celery's, but stronger. Nonetheless, it has its place in the kitchen. Early in the season, before bloom, it's a bit milder and you can toss a handful of the leaves into a green salad. They are also good in soups, stews, sauces and other cooked dishes, used the way you would celery. Even the hollow stems can be cooked, though I prefer the freshness of the leaves."
The two quotes are quite different and knowing the first keeps me from any enthusiasm for the second. And, I did learn a new word while researching lovage-'emmenagogue'. It sounds like demogogue and that's enough for me to stay far away.