An exterminator threatens my suburban island

The doorbell rang. I looked through the window and then stepped onto the porch, where a lanky young man in navy shirt and khakis greeted me. “Hi. My name is Kevin. I wanted to let you know about some work being done on your street tomorrow.” Road work maybe? “Your neighbor has a pest problem.”Continue reading “An exterminator threatens my suburban island”

Natural Teaching Lab Trails

When visiting the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville (FL), be sure to visit the nearby Natural Teaching Lab Trails. In spring and fall, there are many small animals and interesting plants. The pictures below were taken in May.

Learn to Hike at Jacksonville Arboretum

Jacksonville Arboretum is a city park that is managed by a non-profit organization and maintained by volunteers. Its stated goals are to: Sustain biological diversity Maintain a natural area that can be used for research Educate the public about nature and natural resources Provide a peaceful place where people can self-reflect and enjoy nature [ResourceContinue reading “Learn to Hike at Jacksonville Arboretum”

Extending the Life of Vegetables

Asparagus crowns become mushy quickly when the vegetable is tossed in the fridge. I’ve found this storage method extends the freshness of asparagus significantly, taking it from three days of use to six or seven. First, I cut an inch off of the stems. This is because cut stems form a thin scab over theContinue reading “Extending the Life of Vegetables”

An inspiring video for lovers of fungi and macrophotography

When I was in 7th grade, my science teacher gave the class several project options, one of which was to collect specimens of fungi. I liked being outside, and was keen to do this particular assignment. Mom helped by suggesting a trip to Philippe Park in Safety Harbor (FL). Philippe Park is now manicured, butContinue reading “An inspiring video for lovers of fungi and macrophotography”

Pineapple to the rescue! Surviving amoebic dysentery and reducing eye floaters.

Once upon a time, pineapple saved my life. I was touring in Kenya and staying at a lodge near Lake Nakuru. I sat down to dinner and the first course was served—a cup of beef bullion. I held the spoon to my mouth, but couldn’t swallow. The thought of swallowing filled me with nausea. IContinue reading “Pineapple to the rescue! Surviving amoebic dysentery and reducing eye floaters.”

The Hairy Fungus That Wasn’t

I found this interesting, hairy fungus during a trek at Tillie K. Fowler Regional Park. Except it isn’t a fungus. It’s Myxogastria stemonitis, or Hairy Brown Slime Mold, or Chocolate Tube Slime Mold, or Pipe Cleaner Slime.  Hmm. But molds are fungi! True, but slime molds were only differentiated from fungi in the late 1800s.Continue reading “The Hairy Fungus That Wasn’t”

Trees Infected by Spirits (or Cancer)

I was captivated by these trees, which have a mystical, storybook quality. This spirit tree appears to have flowing hair. It spreads its arms and blesses the world. However, this many-eyed tree is a quiet observer. What do you see? I see an old man’s face growing from this tree, although the tree itself isContinue reading “Trees Infected by Spirits (or Cancer)”

Sesbania punicea, a deadly invasive plant

At Sweetwater Wetlands Park in Gainesville, FL, I noticed a pair of wispy trees along the boardwalk. They had orange-red blooms, but it was the draping compound leaves that caught my attention. Other people have noticed the plant’s beauty as well, and Sesbania punicea has been widely imported from South America as an ornamental gardenContinue reading “Sesbania punicea, a deadly invasive plant”