Thursday, September 29, 2011

Name that Fern!

 I need your help in naming this fern.  I totally forgot what it was called, but it's absolutely the coolest thing I've seen a plant do outside a Venus Flytrap. This plant was in our Behind the Seeds Tour at Epcot.

The guide joked with us that she has one at home and when new guests arrive she likes to show off her fern.  As the guests are ooo-ing and ahh-ing over it's neato defense system she'll bump the table and the whole plant with contract ALL of it's itty bitty leaves at once.  The guide then likes to tease the new dinner guests by telling them they've killed her plant.  Of course it's not really dead and the plant will open itself back up in a matter of minutes.  Spurred on by this news 3 younger boys in our group promptly gave the potted fern a good shake and made it wilt before our eyes.
Boys will be boys.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Behind the Seeds Tour

Veggie "DNA"

Of all the things we did on vacation this was probably my second favorite (sorry but Harry Potter was just too cool)  The "Behind the Seeds Tour" at Epcot basically went "behind the scenes" of their hydroponic gardening center and let us release ladybugs, eat hydroponic veggies and generally look in awe at all the bare rooted, MASSIVE plants growing around us.

Nicole and I observing our bounty

All the while asking questions about how the systems work, what's actually in their hydro solution and how you can build your own hydroponic garden at home.  If you want to do anything extra at Disney it always costs more, but because of that the groups are usually smaller and definitely more intimate.

Pumpkin Hammock

There were so many unusual things going on, not to mention the reDORKulous size of the fruit and veggies.  As it was all inside a giant greenhouse they had fans to circulate the moist air.  The outside walls were lined with corrugated cardboard which trapped the moisture the fans were pulling out of the greenhouses and that water would drip into a tray and off to a holding tank where it would be recycled back into the whole system.  Pretty spiffy, eh?

Even more amazing were how fast the plants grew in a soil-less environment.  Pepper plants were literally maturing within 2 months if not less.  Lettuces were ready for harvest in a matter of weeks.  It's so low tech it's high tech.  I've seen hydroponic gardens done with 2 liter pop bottles on a PVC frame, but this place was on a whole other level.

Fast Grower

I wouldn't mind working in a place like that, you'd learn so much, but I don't tolerate Florida heat that well and I burn too easily.  C'est la vie.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Mushroom Update

Copious fungus
I received this email the other day when I sent out an inquiry about the Ohio Mushroom Society.  I asked why there were no events in SW Ohio and if there were any other clubs of the fungus or foraging type around my area.  This is what I got back.

" Rebekah,
Unfortunately, we do not have any active members in SW Ohio and there are no local clubs there.  This could change as in the past we had members in Xenia and we forayed at John Bryan St. Park.  Those members have  passed on and no active members have surfaced. "

That really makes me sad.  This particular society is most active on the opposite side of the state from me and all the events are over there too.  I don't want to drive 4-5 hours across the state for an event.  I don't understand why there is no local push for groups like this around here??  It's insane that the members closest to me have all but passed on from this life and no one has taken their spot.  It's like society doesn't give a poo about Nature or what she can do for us.

Down but not out.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Brain Overload

I think I'm going thru a learning spurt.  It's one of those spurts where you can't seem to find ENOUGH information and the stuff you do find you read until your eyes are about ready to fall out of your head. And then you ask a question, which leads to 10 answers and not all are reliable or accurate so then you have to research the answer.  What I'm getting at is this "wild foraging" thing is the new black for me.  But I don't want it to be a fad so I'm really trying hard to read up on it and learn.  I want to be resourceful in my own backyard or local (non-treated) woodland. 
I've been so inspired by Lisa over at Lilfishstudios and her amazing treks into wild foraging.  It is truly amazing. I've also been able to track down a few other noteworthy foraging blogs thru her and Google.  I've been gobbling up so much info that I've got to back off or else suffer overload.

Red Mushrooms

But here's the depressing part.  For some reason wild foraging in Ohio only seems to come about in the Spring and it's almost entirely because of Morels.  There seems to be a distinct lack of guidance when it comes to edibles in the wild other than mushrooms.  In fact I've never eaten a Morel in my life.  Maybe if I went to our resident "green/hippie/artsy" town Yellow Springs I could find someone but even then I would really have to work at finding local, knowledgeable people who go out in the field to find and forage for these things.  Maybe I should start a group or put pressure on the local parks and state parks to make these groups more accessible.  If the park agency aren't spreading the word I sincerely hope it's not because they fear thousands of people will converge on the supposedly fragile ecosystems.  Well there are fragile systems and people in masses tend to be plagued with a "herd mentality". But I still want to know why is this hard? Why do groups not exist to pass this know-how down to other generations?  I mean, honestly why do people not care about knowing this stuff? And if they do care why are they not out talking about it more?  You can't spread a gospel sitting on your ass.

It may just boil down to a complete lack of caring.  That seems to be the general consensus nowadays. I've found that over the years as I've become older my perception on things has changed (shocking I know), but deep down I've always loved nature.  I think that the further removed from nature you become the less you care about where things come from.  In the end all things come from the earth, even chemicals.  To me if you don't care about where anything comes from or starts from it's the beginning of the end.  If you don't know how to survive then how do you live?

It's my hope that as I learn to live that I also learn how to survive and thrive...and lets face it, probably get wet and muddy in the process.  I personally believe that you can never become fully "green" because you will never stop learning how to be resourceful and respectful of the Earth.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Trip and A Half

Last week we went to the "Happiest Place on Earth".  
We had a "ball"

While I would beg to differ on the title of "happiest place" it was definitely a different sort of place.  We haven't been on a vacation since our honeymoon in Charleston so it was time we went out of state for a change. We also jumped over to Universal Studios for two days so we could geek out at Hogwarts.
I'll be talking a little more about each place once I've settled back into a "normal" schedule again.
Some days were better than others.

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