For over 40 years, since the first Earth Day, we’ve been told to turn off the lights when we leave a room and turn off the water while brushing our teeth and that this would save the planet.  I have never believed a word of it, even as I have dutifully followed the advice.  I also recycle and compost and grow a bit of my own food…  It just never feels like my small efforts can possibly make any real difference.

For years, I have been waiting for real innovation.  Something big.  Bigger than windmills.  Bigger than a few solar panels on the roof.  Bigger than high speed rail.

Here is the kind of innovation I’ve been waiting for:

This kind of talk makes me feel optimistic about the future.  This is the kind of stuff I wish our government would invest in.

Your Help is Needed

Please add Tom (aka mon@rch) to your prayer list.  It seems he has left blog-o-mania to join World-of-Warcraft-mania.  Have you noticed his lack of blog posts lately? Had the obsession already started back on July 5th when this photo was taken?

Come back to us, Tom.  We miss you.

Learn more:


A Diverse Woods

I didn’t carry my camera today.  Should have.  It would have been awesome to take a picture of the forest floor… a study in diversity.  I did that once at Audubon and posted it on Flickr.  The forest floor at Long Point State Park would have been a different combination.

Tulip Tree, Cucumber Magnolia, several kinds of maple, several kinds of oak, birches, aspens, cherries, so many…  Overwhelming!  I brought home three leaves for comparison… one that I knew already, and two that I didn’t.  I wondered if I could puzzle them out… without a field guide, since I left all the tree books at work.  Then I found a really, really cool website for identifying trees.  It’s a click-by-click key… really easy to use.  I’ll show you the steps using this leaf:  (You may already know what it is, but play along!)

Leaf1a Leaf1b

Step 1: I’m trying to identify by leaf.
Step 1

Step 2:  My leaf is broad and flat.

Step 3:  My leaves are simple leaves (not compound).

Step 4:  My leaf is not lobed.

Step 5:  My leaf is coarse-toothed, with a single tooth at the end of each vein.

Step 6: While my leaf is over 5 inches long, it does have long, shallow teeth.

It is an American Beech (Fagus grandifolia).  The last click takes you to a fact sheet about your tree.

Using the same method, I was able to identify this one, too:
Leaf2a Leaf2b
Eastern Hophornbeam (Ostrya virginiana)

Lest you think all trees can be identified using this site, I couldn’t figure this one out:
Leaf3a Leaf3b
It seems birch-like.  What do you think?

I’m Back… Sort Of…

Well, we have a new computer.  We pretty much lost everything on the old one.  Including the Canon software for downloading pictures off my camera.  I took a walk today and shot a few things in Raw mode that I really wanted to look at on my computer screen…  But… I can’t find my CDs for the camera.  I hope they’re at work… or that Dave will let me borrow his.

Jack-In-The-PulpitRemember this guy.  Today I took pictures of him again… this time with berries.  I hope to be able to show you the berries in the near future.  For now, that picture is stuck on my camera.

On the domestic side, I made 2 more jars of pesto yesterday and 6 jars of peach jam this evening.

Frustrated in Cyberland,

Where is Jennifer Lately?

Well, my computer died.  I’m at work (even though I’m on vacation) just so I can check my email, etc.  The poor old machine started spontaneously spawning processes until the CPU was working at 100% capacity.  I did what I probably shouldn’t have:  shut the thing off.  When I tried to turn it on again, it said, “Windows cannot start because the following file is either missing or corrupt:  hal.dll.  Please reinstall.”

My computer guy says that half the time this happens he can get the files back.  The other half… well…  Let’s just hope I’m one of the lucky half… Kay?