darkoshi: (Default)
I'll have to try this:

How to stop stumps from growing back, organically! - drill holes in the stump and apply epsom salts, and replenish the salt every week or so.

Another idea - after doing the above, cover the stumps with black plastic / garbage bag and weight it down with bricks, to both block sunlight, and to keep the salts from being washed away by rain.

How To Use Epsom Salt For Stump Removal - this page says to put a little bit of water in the holes with the epsom salt.

How to Mix Epsom Salts to Kill Stumps - this page says to use a one-inch extra long drill bit... Oh, that must be a spade bit.

flight skills

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017 11:39 pm
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Walking back from my lunch break, I passed a group of 7 crows cawing and flitting between trees.

Next, I came across a group of vultures standing together in a group on the grass. At first glance, they looked like black crows too. I tried not to look at them very directly, as doing so generally scares them away. But I got out my cell phone and took a furtive photo.

A few of the vultures flew upwards and bumped into the side of the building behind them before landing back on the ground. Huh? A couple more did the same thing, and I wondered what were they doing. Then I realized... they were all younglings, and were frightened of me and trying to fly up onto the top of the building. But their flying skills aren't good enough yet to fly straight up 20 feet like that. I walked away, not to scare them further, poor things.

It reminded me of a day last week when I walked right past a single young vulture that was sitting on a railing, not even noticing it until the last moment, as I had just walked out of the building into the sunshine.

A few days ago I was reading about vines... ah yes, to see if my mom was correct that letting them grow up the pine tree trunks can hurt the trees. While doing that, I found out the name of one of the vines that grows in my yard: Virginia Creeper. It has little suckers on its tendrils that helps it climb, and 5 leaflets in each compound leaf.

Earlier today while walking, I saw a similar looking plant with leaflets of 3... and remembered that rhyme, "leaves of three, let them be". I wondered if it was poison ivy. It looks so innocuous; I walk by it nearly every day. In lieu of touching the leaves to find out, I did a web search on my cell phone to find some images of poison ivy, and sure enough, that is what it was. Now I know what it looks like. For the moment, anyway.

never see the same

Thursday, May 18th, 2017 09:43 am
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Now when I see dandelions, I think to myself "Aha! That one has pointy leaves, not round, and they are sticking up, not close to the ground. That is a true dandelion." Or "That's not a true dandelion, it's cat's claw... err, no, cat's ear" (almost every time, "cat's claw" comes to mind first, even though I'm not familiar with it... per a search, it looks similar to yellow jessamine).

The yellow flowers themselves look identical to me on both kinds of dandelions, though this one below didn't have a ball of unopened petals in the middle. Its petals were all open.

It's like when as a kid, I learned the difference between white oak which has the round/curve-edged leaves versus black oak which has the pointy-edged leaves, not to mention, blackjack oak.

darkoshi: (Default)
I've decided which phone to buy. The Moto G4 Play has pretty good specs (it has 2GB RAM, not 1/2 GB as I originally thought), for a good price.


This is the most chewed-on tree trunk by the pond.

These are Catalpa tree blossoms. The photo is from 2015, but the tree has blossoms this year too. The blossoms are about the size of big popcorn, and don't have much scent. But a clump of honeysuckle is also growing by the tree, the lovely sweet scent of which has fooled me a few times.

I found this growing in the ground in Qiao's yard. At first glance they look like fallen red blossoms, but what is that black tarry gunk on them? It's one of the strangest looking things. Per the internet, they are called starfish fungus. I saw one by the pond at work too, an odd coincidence, as I don't ever remember seeing these before. But then again, maybe I did and simply thought they were fallen blossoms.

While walking along, do you ever have a sudden amusing thought that makes you break out in a big grin?
darkoshi: (Default)
I ate 3 dandelion/cat's ear flowers today. They were not sweet. They tasted pretty similar to the green leaves, slightly bitter. The leaves were hairy, but not as unpleasant as chewing on under-ripe peach peel. I could probably eat a plate of it if I had to.

[Edited to add, 2017/05/13: I ate 4 more of the flowers today, after even more carefully peeling off the green parts than last time. They still don't taste sweet, nor particularly good. They taste a little like raw celery but without the crunch. Ie., not bad, but not special either. I wonder if "true" dandelions have any different flavor to them.]

A reminder that there are a lot of mis-facts on the web...
Nutritional Information on Dandelion Root : The image at the top of the page is neither dandelion nor false dandelion. It looks like coltsfoot.

Cat’s Ear: Backyard ‘Weed’ With Super-Antioxidant Properties : This page says: One identifying characteristic of cat’s ear is its leaves; they are sharply toothed and more asymmetrical than the leaves of dandelion. But that is not true. Cat's ear leaves are more rounded than regular dandelion.

I'm sort of amazed at the details I got in some of these photos. When looking at the flowers in the yard, they all pretty much look like the 5th one below. In the sunshine, the clump of unopened petals in the center of some of them aren't very noticeable.

darkoshi: (Default)
False Dandelions For Lunch

Dandelions, True or False?

Wild edibles: How to eat and identify cat's ear / flatweed / false dandelion (video, posted by wildsuperfoods)

Foraging Notes: The False Dandelion (video, posted by Survivalkraft)

Both people in those videos have said the false dandelion flowers are sweet. Now I am very curious, and am going to taste them in the coming days.
The leaves on my dandelions are close to the ground, so they tend to be dirty as well as hairy. But maybe I'll try some of them too. I'll probably need to cook them, as I don't even like eating peach skins, due to the fuzz that scratches my throat.
I've already tasted some root, raw, from 2 of the largest ones I pulled up while weeding last weekend. (Even so, they're fairly small and narrow). The root's not particularly tasty, but not bad either. It's rather dry, so I'm soaking the remainder in water to make it crunchier.
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The little fig tree leafs are growing (bigger). There are a bunch of little figs growing too. The car is already getting lightly covered in pollen. This evening we had some wind and a small refreshing rainstorm. It was too warm inside, so I opened a few windows to get some of the breeze. Tomorrow it will be cooler, a high of 65. (Last week or somewhen, when the forecast was also for 65, I thought *eek* that will be cool, and then reminded myself that normally 65 in February would be nice and temperate.)

Feb 2017 weather history, Columbia SC
(click to enlarge)
(from https://www.wunderground.com/history/airport/KCAE/2017/2/1/MonthlyCalendar.html)

Now that it is March, maybe I will stop feeling so disconcerted about the weather. In my experience, we could have cold weather and sporadic snow and ice up through the very end of February here. But March has always sounded like Spring.

Photos under cut... )

Spring of February

Saturday, February 11th, 2017 04:43 pm
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It is such a gorgeous warm sunny day today. This whole so-called winter has been relatively warm. Other than a few cold nights and cool days, it hasn't even felt like winter.

The pink magnolia tree started blooming this week. The blooms don't usually last more than a week or two. Based on photos, in prior years it bloomed in early to late March. So this year is a full month earlier than usual, unless the years in which I didn't take photos had earlier blooms too.

The fragrant yellow jessamine on the fence is also already blooming.

There is a bush at Qiao's house, which I've been curious to know what kind of plant it is. It has thin stalks, some with reddish blossoms and some with white (unless the white ones are a different kind of bush). It started blooming right at the beginning of February, even before the pink magnolia. In the summer, it gets roundish green fruit that look like plum-sized small apples. They are surprising to see, because the thin stalks don't seem like they could support such relatively big fruit, yet they do. The fruit smells and tastes like bitter apples (too bitter to eat). So it's probably some apple variant. It doesn't look like what Google Images shows for crab-apples, though.

After doing some searches, my best guess is that it is a shrub quince, even though the fruit is green rather than yellow, and more apple-shaped than quince-shaped.

More photos... )


Thursday, March 31st, 2016 11:29 pm
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On Tuesday, I surpassed 10,000 steps in a single day for the first time since I started tracking my walking. At 11:45pm, the pedometer showed 9900. Naturally, I decided I had to do at least another 100 before midnight arrived.

The sky was very beautiful while driving home this evening. Awesome layers of clouds and light that make you want to look up rather than down at the street. The sun was setting, orange.

The wisteria/kudzu smells lovely.

Azaleas in full bloom. I still have some azalea photos from a year ago that I never posted. Still haven't finished going through all of last year's photos.

I have some photos of the cute budding fig leaves from a week or 2 ago... Now the leaves are already full size. Last year, I took photos of the young fig leaves too. I'm sure I'll get to them eventually.

I ordered 7 small items from Amazon last night. Button batteries and a couple other items which I've had trouble finding in physical stores. Already got shipment notifications on 5, and USPS tracking emails on 2 of them. California and New Jersey. Interesting to think that around the country, stuff is moving just for me.

When ordering Amazon Marketplace items, the credit card charge may randomly show up from either "AMAZON MKTPLACE PMTS" or "Amazon Payments". Because of that, it's no longer convenient to use Shop-Safe credit card numbers (which for security purposes allow purchases from only a single seller) for those purchases. Half the payments have been getting declined, and I've had to submit them again using a different credit card number. The weird thing is that when Amazon resubmits the ones that were originally charged to "Amazon Payments", the 2nd time they actually charge them to "AMAZON MKTPLACE PMTS".

spring time

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015 10:19 pm
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Yellow: A few daffodils were out some weeks ago. Now there are flowering forsythia bushes (I looked up what they are called!), and sweet-smelling jessamine along the fence.

Pinkish-white: Elegant long-petaled magnolia blossoms, already completely replaced by young green leaves. A tree full of blossoms (possibly bradford pear; I'm not sure) by the side of the house. Puffs of a flowering almond bush (I looked up what it is called!) by the front windows.

Red: A single tulip.

Purple: The sweet-smelling wisteria is on the way.

Barking: woof woof woof

Falling blossoms: nature's confetti

Unusual: A Canadian goose taking a nap in the middle of the road. The other lane, and no traffic in that direction, but still.

Turtles: turtles, squirrels.

odd dream

Saturday, November 9th, 2013 01:50 pm
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I was outside with someone else, apparently having trimmed / cut back overgrowth. The other person mentioned that this one plant that had been trimmed was an oracle.

There was a question/mystery we needed answered. So I addressed the plant, "Oh, Oracle Plant, ..."

Immediately, a vine on the plant grew outwards, and wrapped itself around my wrists. It may have also wrapped one around my neck. But it wasn't menacing; it was recognizing me as a supplicant.
darkoshi: (Default)
Coltsfoot - a perennial herbaceous plant in the family Asteraceae that has traditionally had medicinal uses.

Neatsfoot oil - a yellow oil rendered and purified from the shin bones and feet (but not the hooves) of cattle. "Neat" in the oil's name comes from an old name for cattle.

yellow beauties

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 10:55 pm
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I got the blister while uprooting dandelions in the yard of Forestfen's new house. Dandelions are so beautiful. I never feel pleased about mowing them down or disposing of them as weeds.

This is them, 4 days after having been pulled from the earth and tossed on a pile. You'd expect them to be limp and dying. But see how bright yellow they are, and how their stems have curved upwards to the sky?

There's an empty corner lot on one street, absolutely full of blooming dandelions. So gorgeous.

did you know...

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012 10:30 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
...that Irish Moss is actually a seaweed, and that carrageenan is made from it? I diddin' know that.

ouchies / sandspurs

Friday, July 22nd, 2011 11:11 pm
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There are these small spikey things in the grass around here sometimes. They hurt quite a bit, if you get them stuck in your skin... removing them is painful too, because if you try to pull one out with unprotected fingers, it usually embeds itself into your fingers.

Today, Serena got a couple of them stuck in her paw (I noticed her suddenly yelp in pain as she was running towards me), and I helped her get them out.

So, this evening, I was trying to find out what they are called. It seems they are called sandspurs or sandburs.

I also wanted to find out what these weeds look like while they are still young, so that I could uproot and dispose of them before they develop the painful burs. I sometimes see grass that looks like this around my yard, and wondered if that might be it. But even though someone labelled that photo "sandspurs", the burs on that grass are soft, and don't seem like they'll develop into the hard spikey painful ones I'm interested in. So I suspect that particular grass/weed is not really sandspur. I think this photo must be how it looks... but by the time it is at that stage, it is already dangerous.

(no subject)

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008 05:32 pm
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It's wonderful how beautiful flowers keep popping up in my yard/garden, all on their own. They must be perennials. First there were some daffodils and then mini-daffodils. Then a couple of big low-lying purplish-blue blooms. Then tall orchid-like yellow ones. Now, pretty orange ones and an interesting pinkish-violet one. Not bunches of them, but a few of each. And that's in addition to the wysteria, Carolina Jessamine (I mistakenly wrote "honeysuckle" originally), 2 Japanese flowering cherry trees, and whatnot, which the season started out with. Last year there was a beautiful shrubby plant in the front yard with orangey flowers... I hope it grows back too.

And there's a tulip tree too.

And one spectacular "weed" which sprouted this spring and is now about a foot taller than I am. It has a single thick purplish stalk, with leaves like dandelion leaves radiating out from the stalk. And what might be the beginnings of flowers or seedpods at the top... but I haven't noticed it bloom yet. I am really curious as to what kind of plant it is. It looked tasty when it was still only a couple of feet tall.