Whether you have your own garden’s harvest or produce hauled home from a farmers market to preserve, the satisfaction of putting food by for later consumption is identical. A colorful cache of stored summer and fall bounty to choose from in the bleak gray of winter is a reassuring and splendid thing indeed. Continue reading “Put Your Harvest on a Shelf”
Did you know that Missouri has more than 450 species of bees, including several kinds of bumble bee? Many of those natives have evolved to pollinate very specific plants such as blueberries, squash, tomatoes or peppers. Did you also know that the honeybee is NOT a native of the US? Bees, both our native bees and the honeybee, are responsible for pollinating around 75% of the produce that we eat, and they maintain the habitats on which many other animals rely. That’s a big responsibility. Continue reading “The Future of Bees!”
50,000 can be a daunting number, but I’m here to bear witness that it can also be an achievable number. Last year, for the first time, I successfully crossed the National Novel Writing Month finish line, pounding out 50,000 words worth of original writing during the month of November. I followed that up with securing a lucrative publishing contract and a nationwide speaking tour. Okay, the previous sentence was fiction. What I did gain was a sense of accomplishment, greater confidence in my writing abilities and the sense that doing a big thing is possible if you devote yourself to it regularly. Continue reading “Writers, Start Your Engines: National Novel Writing Month”
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and this year, sadly, I have a friend who has recently started chemo for breast cancer. It’s not surprising, I suppose, when you think about the numbers, but it would preferably be a disease in our distant memory. As it stands, according to the CDC: in 2014 236,968 women and 2,141 men in the United State were diagnosed with breast cancer, and 41,211 women and 465 men in the United States died from breast cancer.
Thinking back, I have known several people who have had this disease. Thankfully, the treatments and the survival rates have improved greatly over the years. As for my friend, she has a great support system and a positive attitude. I believe those are key components in conquering any struggle. Continue reading “October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month”
The general idea is to provide a national push for voter registration. Voting in the United States is a civic duty and a constitutional right. The legitimacy of our democratic process depends on voters.
In Boone County, for the general election last November, there were 108,578 registered voters, and only 85,012 ballots were cast. 21.7% of registered voters did not vote, which was, admittedly, better than the Missouri’s voter turnout.
The autumnal equinox marks the debut of the autumn (or fall, if you prefer) season. This astronomical event occurs quietly and without much fanfare in the sky (unlike the total solar eclipse back in August!). But at this moment, the “solar terminator” (the ring circling the earth, where day meets night), is perpendicular to the planet as it crosses the equator, thus illuminating the northern and southern hemispheres in equal amounts. In other words, on the equinox, the day and night periods are of roughly equal duration (12 hours). After the equinox, daylight hours in the northern hemisphere continue to decrease until the winter solstice — the shortest day and longest night of the year, after which the days begin to lengthen once again.
This year the equinox is on Friday, September 22 at 3:02 PM, Central Time. But even in the ebbing summer heat of early September, portends of autumn’s pending entrance are evident. We see the sun set noticeably earlier and find spent garden plants to uproot and pitch in the compost heap. Black walnuts fall with a thud, littering the ground and perfuming the air with their acrid, peppery aroma. And if you feed hummingbirds, you see them fattening up (like little Vienna sausages!) with frequent trips to the nectar dispenser, in preparation for their arduous, their non-stop flight across the Gulf of Mexico, to winter quarters. Continue reading “Autumn’s Equinox”
For those who might not know, bonsai is an art form that originated in China in which small trees are manipulated into desirable shapes using wires, pruning and a variety of tools. It translates into the Chinese words bon (or poon) meaning “pot” and sai (or sue) meaning “tree.” The amount of variation possible in the results of this process is amazing, taking into account all of the various tree species, geographical styles, pottery and compositions. It is a very personal expression of art and horticulture. Some people enjoy it chiefly for the meditative aspects of the work. Continue reading “Bonsai Bonanza”
In many cultures, a solar eclipse was thought to be due to an animal or demon trying to eat the sun or moon. People would bang on pots and pans or drums to drive the threat away. For some cultures an eclipse is a time of terror, but for others it is a time for reflection and reconciliation. Whatever meanings we ascribe to it, we know that solar eclipses are natural occurrences whereby the moon passes between the sun and the Earth. This year’s eclipse is the first total solar eclipse to be visible in the continental U.S. since 1978 and the first to cross the entire country from west to east since 1918. Columbia is lucky to be in the middle of that path. We will have 2 minutes and 37 seconds of totality. That doesn’t seem very long but if you didn’t know the science behind it, it could be a bit terrifying. Continue reading “Danger! View It Safely: The Solar Eclipse”
It is now mid-August, which to me, is the reverse equivalent of mid-February. Rather than being done in by the dark and cold, the wicked heat and humidity is taking its toll on me. Do summer dog days have you down and dragging around, too? What are your remedies? Continue reading “Ice Cream Sandwiches to the Rescue!”
“The elephant is loved, revered and respected by people and cultures around the world…”
World Elephant Day is August 12. But why do elephants get their own day? They’re just that cool, for one thing. And they’re endangered. WorldElephantDay.org explains: “The elephant is loved, revered and respected by people and cultures around the world, yet we balance on the brink of seeing the last of this magnificent creature.”
Elephants are highly intelligent, with excellent memories and the ability to recognize themselves in reflections. They develop strong bonds with each other and live together in communities. Female and juvenile elephants herd together in groups led by matriarchs, while adolescent and adult males form their own separate herds. Elephants work collectively to protect their young, and they appear to mourn their dead. Continue reading “World Elephant Day”