May 2nd, 2007

woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

A bit of botany

Thought some of you might like to see the two plants I thought might be closely related (in the same genus) that turned out not to be.  

Here is Skeleton Plant, Lygodesmia texana (ignore the wasp on the other side of the flower.)   It stands up to a couple of feet tall on a naked stem.  Notice the square-cut ends of the petals with ragged or fringed ends, and the curly-string-like styles in the middle.   It starts out as a rosette of leaves on the ground, then the stalk shoots up...but the leaves have often withered away by then.

And here is White Rock Lettuce, Pinaropappus roseus, which also stands high on a naked stem, and has the same square-cut, but jaggedy, petal ends, and the same curly-string-like styles.  But instead of one row of petals, there are more.  Its basal rosette persists and there are leaves further up the stem than with Skeleton Plant. 

Either one is a lovely wildflower to see floating high above the ground, apparently weightless.
woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

Butterfly gallery

It's not fully loaded yet, but there's a Butterfly & Moth Gallery in my Scrapbook. 

(More newbie problems.  I tried to go back and add the URL of that gallery and ran into multiple problems.  Let's see if I've got it working now...and no, I don't know why the first line suddenly indented itself and won't go back where it belongs.  So I finally deleted that line and rewrote it.   Something  even crashed Firefox once.)

At least the URL's there now.  Anyway, the butterflies and moths gallery should eventually have the various species we've found on our place.   I know I haven't found/identified them all yet, but the current "zoology list" has 56 identified butterfly species, of which 48 have been photographed and 8 moth species, of which 6 have been photographed (two moth species still not identified for sure, but photographed.) 
woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

The Fence

When East Germany built a wall through Berlin to cut off traffic between the two halves of the city, Americans got upset and complained mightily about the horrible behavior of a nasty Communist country.  Dividing families, cutting off trade and friendly traffic, etc.  East Germany's goal, obviously, was to prevent its citizens from leaving poverty and heading for jobs and prosperity in the west.  We thought it was bad; we were all rejoicing when "The Wall" came down.

Well, the bulldozers are busy now building a 135 mile "fence" (looks like a wall to me--tall steel panels) along the Rio Grande.  The governor of Texas, for whom I have no abiding affection, thinks this is a great idea.  President Bush thinks this is a great idea.  They want a wide area of scorched earth for the military to patrol up and down.  They think this is a matter of urgent national security.   So, of course, did the East Germans.

It would be bad enough if this were only an ugly fence and bare strip off in the middle of nowhere that menaced nothing but common sense and  common plants and animals.  It's not.  This  fence and "bare strip" they want is destroying a unique habitat, where rare and endangered species survive because they have access to the river's water (which the fence will cut off) and native brush (which the bare strip will destroy.)    Already, bulldozers are working close to a butterfly preserve in Starr County, in Roma.   Rampant development in the Border area has already destroyed habitat on both sides of the river...there is no place for many of these plants and animals to go.

Now I grew up in that area, down the river in the next county.  I love that country, and the people (on both sides of the river.)  Yes, trouble can come out of Mexico.   But so has a lot of good, and we have dumped a lot of our troubles (like polluted water in both the Rio Grande and the Colorado) onto Mexico.   The vast majority of the illegal crossings are honest people who want to work, who want a better life for their families--the same way my ancestors did when they left Europe (or the other ancestors did, who left NE Asia and crossed the land bridge.)    I hate this fence, the whole idea of this fence.   I do not want to lose either people or  the unique and irreplaceable habitats that lie along the Rio Grande, with their unique and irreplaceable plants and animals,  just because we have an Administration and state governor exaggerate dangers to manipulate public opinion in favor of their schemes.  

woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

Stormy weather...

There's still lightning outside, quite a lot of it.  Radar's not showing as much "stuff" as we're getting, which isn't unusual as radar's often off by up to 5 miles where we are.    We had a big line of thunderstorms go through earlier--hail, high winds, heavy rain, lightning, thunder--and it settled down for awhile but now seems to be building again.  At the start of that one, I crawled under the desk and unplugged things...then when it seemed to be letting up, and I put the TV on again to check their radar info, it seemed like things were going to be all serene.

Ha.   Wasn't thirty minutes before I heard thunder again, and it's wandered our way good and loud (and bright. When you see what looks like a gigantic blue-white ball in the sky, semi-outlining bubbly-looking clouds...there's stuff that should be showing up on radar, whether it is or not.)

My ceiling is not dripping at the moment (yay!) and the power is, obvously, still on.   And so far the plumbing still works.  (We're on a septic system.   If we get too much rain too fast...things can become inconvenient.)  

Tomorrow morning, I'm first on my farrier's list to work on the horses.  The local weather forecasters are saying there might be a final line of storms moving through "about rush hour."  You can hear the hollow laugh from wherever you are, I'll bet.   Want to consider the fun that may occur when he's trying to trim horses in a lowish all-metal barn in a hailstorm?   It's loud enough in a hard rain.   I'm wondering if I should stuff their ears with cotton (what they do with race-horses) or if that will make them even more skittish. 
  • Current Music
    thunder (live performance)
woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

Bird Gallery

Another experiment, to see if I can make the link to the Bird Gallery in my ScrapBook actually work like a link, so nobody has to copy and paste a URL (not that that's such a big deal...she mutters.)    According to directions given by another LJ user, I should be able to highlight the words "bird gallery" up there, and then paste the URL of the gallery into the dialog box and the words become a link.

(pause for trial.)

Well, that didn't work.  Why?   Because there is no "edit/copy/paste" function inside the dialog box.   When I used the edit drop-down at the top of my browser toolbar, it didn't show "paste" as active.  I can paste into this, the main posted message: but I can't paste into the dialog box. 

I will now try method number two, trying to highlight the URL here, and then get it into the dialog box. 

(pause for trial)

And that didn't work either.  I  highlighted the URL, touched the "link" icon, and got the dialog box which has no way to paste the highlighted URL into it.   Just like before. 

Allow me to mutter that this is a very...awkward approach to making links.  What should happen is that anything which starts with a valid http://  either automatically functions as a link, or when you highlight something and touch the "make link" icon,  it makes it a link.   

The only way I see to make this gallery a link is to physically type in the entire URL into the dialog box, which is a) a nuisance and b) prone to typist error.   I just did that.  It seems to have worked, but...there's gotta be a better way.