I discovered the green lynx spider—Peucetia viridans—this week. I mean I did not discover it as English botanists discovered orchids around the world. I simply read about it on Dave’s Garden. Being intrigued by its beauty, I went on a web video binge to see more of this lovely arachnid. I found the following backyard video:
I thought about the cuteness of the babies right before the man commented about it, which led naturally to a hearty laugh. It is funny how we find similar thoughts, words, and actions in others so surprising and amusing. It happens so frequently, and yet we persist in the belief that we are so different and alone. I think that it must be symptomatic of the fall.
Krishti u ngjall!
I would like to recommend an excellent source for mail order roses—Roses Unlimited. I ordered six roses from Roses Unlimited in late March, and I am thoroughly pleased with the result. The company is in South Carolina, which is much nearer to Ohio than the west coast’s many reputable suppliers of roses. Thus, the shipping was reasonable, and Roses Unlimited’s shipping charges are as straightforward as possible—$5.00 for each one gallon sized plant. Most of the roses currently cost $16, which even with shipping remains a fair price.
Moreover, the roses arrived in great shape. Two years ago, I ordered eight bareroot roses from the west coast, and sadly only half of them has survived and only one has really taken off well. The six Roses Unlimited gals are already larger and healthier looking than three of the two year old plants, and they have already begun producing flowers. Only one of the two year olds has flowered, and this month was its premiere. I followed the instructions exactly for the bareroot roses, but perhaps that was not enough. I now know that one gallon sized plants are going to do much better. It is worth it to spend a little more for a rose that is “performance ready,” though some of the bareroot roses cost as much or more.
I have been growing roses for seven years, I have had about fifty cultivars, and I have learnt a bit since I began. After two consecutive years of significant casualties with grafted tea roses that I bought at local nurseries—losing almost half of the previous season’s new additions—I decided that I would never again purchase a grafted rose. When a delicate tea died back in the winter, the root stock rose—usually the ever indefatigable Dr. Huey—would grow in its place, taking revenge against the parasitic freeloader in an annual display of garden Bolshevism.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to find much variety in “own root” roses in Cincinnati. Once you get past the Knock-Out family, whose reputation for hardiness is well merited—I own them all—there is not much left besides less ornamental shrub roses. Some places carry a few lovely Buck roses, but the selection is scarce. Furthermore, it is almost impossible to find “old garden” variety roses that I particularly like. Therefore, mail ordering is the only way to get most own root plants. Without a doubt, Roses Unlimited is the best supplier of them that I have experienced.
Yet, there is a cloud for every silver lining. Roses Unlimited has a rather primitive web site compared to the large outfits on the west coast. There are not many photographs or much cultivar information. However, it is not difficult to research each cultivar by copying and pasting the name to a search engine. There is no online ordering capability, either. One has to call or to email the order. Lastly, Roses Unlimited does not accept credit cards or any sort of PayPal service. I had to mail a check. Nonetheless, these minor inconveniences are easy to overlook when Roses Unlimited offers such superior stock at a low cost.
The next time that you are looking for a certain rose, check Roses Unlimited. I certainly shall do business with them, again.
Happy birthday to my mother, who has usually indulged my love for God’s scaly and slimy creatures.
A few months ago, I came across several articles about the recently discovered Brookesia micra, a tiny chameleon from Madagascar. Here it is on a matchstick.
Happy birthday to my brother, Adam! Many blessings to him for the new year!
My brother’s favorite animal is a red panda. So, in honor of him, I offer you:
They are beautiful creatures.
Update: If you share my brother’s love for Ailurus fulgens, you may be interested in the Red Panda Network.
I offer you this charming video to which Auster linked that will brighten your day. Watch cattle follow the lead of a remote controlled toy:
Being a greenhorn, I have never actually seen cattle herding in action. I wonder what sort of cattle behavior the fellow who made this video was exploiting or how he habituated the cattle to respond to the toy.
Given my love of all God’s critters—well, minus cockroaches, mosquitoes, and houseflies—I thought that it would be good to visit Jerusalem’s Biblical Zoo while in Israel. There is so much to do in the Holy Land that I wondered if it was worth visiting a zoo, given time restraints. However, I have visited zoos in Canada, Russia, Austria, France, Britain, and Germany; I simply like zoos. Moreover, Jerusalem’s zoo focuses on fauna mentioned in the scriptures. And it has an ark!
A few weeks ago, I read Jeremy Wayne Lucas’ “True Confessions of a Gardening Addict” on the best gardening site, Dave’s Garden. Lucas humorously narrates how he traveled down the dark path of obsessive compulsive gardening, whereupon he developed a messianic complex toward the unwanted, clearanced plants at his local home improvement store. Lucas writes:
I also began to sense that the garden center managers shared my sincere respect for the life of the plants. We all realized that, despite some inept care, the plants were, for the most part, completely recoverable and could go on to full, happy lives. With what would probably be diagnosed by my psychiatrist as a hero-ideation complex with more than a touch of megalomania, I justified my compulsion to haul off every available cell pack by believing myself the rescuer of these otherwise doomed plants in the way that Schindler had been the emancipator of Jews during the reign of the Nazis. It became my deific duty to take every available plant (though I must admit that just after December 31, I was less than thrilled to haul off about four hundred pitiful, purloined poinsettias). I was especially overjoyed when the time came each month for the out-of-flower orchid plants to be discarded as cells. The orchids seemed like a special reward for my devoted service. My heart would also leap at some of the exotic shrubs, plumerias and other tropicals, shelves of “Angel Brand” mini-plants, and cultivar roses that came my way. I processed thousands of perennials, tens of thousands of annuals, and filled my garden to overflowing whenever I had a moment to spare from the triaging and tending.
I merrily empathize with Lucas, though I do not think that I have nearly so virulent a strain of pollicis viridis.
You may find this a bit morbid, but it testifies well to nature’s efficiency.
O Lord, how manifold are your works!
Knowing my love for bees, my brother Aaron sent me a story yesterday from the Vatican Information Service: “Bees for the Pontifical Farms at Castelgandolfo”:
As part of its initiatives to mark the Day for the Protection of Creation, the Italian agricultural organisation “Coldiretti” has given Benedict XVI eight beehives containing more than 500,000 bees. The beehives will be kept at the pontifical farm of Castelgandolfo where they will be used in pollination and the production of honey (some 280 kilos a year).
Coldiretti explained that bees play a vital role in the planet’s ecosystem and their disappearance would have disastrous consequences for health and the environment: a third of human food production depends on crops pollinated by insects, eighty percent of which are bees.
The “Campagna Amica” Association will provide technical assistance to the pontifical farms to oversee the protection of the bees and the production of honey. Castelgandolfo is considered to be a model farm because it unites traditional production methods with modern technology. It has 25 dairy cows, 300 hens and 60 cockerels as well as an ancient olive grove producing three thousand litres of oil a year, an orchard of apricot and peach trees and a greenhouse of ornamental flowers.
I suppose that it is obvious that the bees are Apis mellifera ligustica, or Italian honey bees. However, maybe they are Apis mellifera mellifera, German bees, in honor of the pope.
I have never understood chickens’ reproductive system, even though I have been curious about it for years and I always had access to a library. However, I have finally rectified the situation by the magic of the internet, and I learnt some fascinating facts. Did you know that avian sperm remains viable at body temperature? That is why a cock has no, well, you understand. The papilla, which is sometimes called a penis though it is not one, dispenses but does not penetrate. The testes are internal, as well. Moreover, the hen has sperm host glands that can keep sperm for two weeks. I thought only insects had such abilities. I also discovered that the “blood spots” that you sometimes find on yolks have nothing to do with the developing chicken. Rather, when the yolk leaves the ovary, it sometimes takes some of the blood vessels that surround the yolk with it. I also read that the hen mobilizes half of her body’s calcium from her bones to make egg shells, though I am not sure what that means. I surmise that a hen has a certain amount of calcium in her bloodstream that can be used in the shell making process, but perhaps she supplements this with calcium from her bones that she can replenish during periods of rest. That seems like a bad idea, but I am neither God nor a biologist. I suppose that it is an efficient use of resources.
I always suspected that chicken sex was cool. If you are similarly curious, the University of Kentucky has instructive sheets for the female reproductive system and the male reproductive system.