Time for Thorns

An independent view on life.

Posts Tagged ‘nature

Glacier mice…

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…not real mice,  but cute little squishy balls  of moss  that appear only on certain glaciers and appear to move about as a group.   What fascinating objects of study and discovery!

Written by timeforthorns

May 27, 2020 at 6:29 pm

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Ocean critters…

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When you think of the sea, what animals do you envision?   Most people think of fish first,  because there are lots of them and we eat a bunch of species.   But what about tunicates,  sponges,  corals,  or anemones?   Relax –  I had to look up the tunicates,  too.   Enjoy this  short biology  tour without getting your feet wet.

 

Written by timeforthorns

May 19, 2020 at 7:47 pm

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Decorah Eagles…

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The Decorah eagle cam  is back  for a tenth year and there are three adorably fluffy and fierce eaglets.   I predict you and any children about will be hooked in short order.

Written by timeforthorns

May 18, 2020 at 1:43 pm

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Murder hornets…

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As if COVID-19 and the imperious response of some officials isn’t enough to disrupt your sleep,  now we’re getting the so-called  murder hornets.   They are two inch long beasts with venom potent enough to kill a mouse and even some people.  But you will be less nervous when you watch this clip of a praying mantis killing one of the hornets.   The mantis occasionally visit my garden,  but I don’t buy eggs to hatch unless I have an active infestation of something they normally predate.  The last time I did so was when one of my neighbors,  thankfully now moved far away,  failed to maintain his property and it was overrun by various infestations and diseases.   300 mantis eggs solved my impending problems and most of his existing ones.

I have lots of bumble bees and honey bees because I have citrus plants.   I use lavender oil spray to keep carpenter bees from boring holes in my window frames,  but I also have a variety of wasps,  including aggressive yellow jackets with their painful stings.    Yes,  I do speak from personal experience here.   If I see one Asian giant hornet on my property I’m buying a case of mantis eggs.   The mantis will eat beneficials if they are hungry and the opportunity presents,  but I’d prefer to lose a few of the good insects in an attempt to ward off the dangerous ones.

Researchers  claim that  they aren’t generally interested in humans or large animals,  including pets.   They mainly hunt insects for food and only sting as a defense mechanism if their nest is disturbed.    But they also admit they don’t know what impact the new arrivals will have.   In the meantime I am planting more citrus and sweet flowering shrubs and plants for my pollinators so they have an abundance of food.

By the way,  Japanese bees have learned how  to deal  with the marauders.  Sen. Ted Cruz is a fan!

 

Written by timeforthorns

May 9, 2020 at 1:36 pm

Tumbleweed tornado…

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I’ve seen the lone tumbleweed or two, but like  the man  who made this video,  I have never driven through an entire herd of them.

 

 

Written by timeforthorns

May 4, 2020 at 12:50 pm

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Coyotes and badgers…

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Native American folklore features tales of the two species hunting together,  and scientific  research has  confirmed it.  The cooperation makes sense when you consider the specific skills each animal brings to a hunt.   I would not be surprised to learn that the original researchers were academics who had a vast amount of  “book learning” but little actual knowledge of the real natural world.   I have seen foxes and dogs playing  “tag”  with each,  apparently just for the sheer fun of it.   Science should not be so hasty in dismissing folklore and cultural myths,  which are often based on experience and observation.

 

 

Written by timeforthorns

February 12, 2020 at 1:09 pm

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Talking sand…

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Sand fascinated me long before I took any geology in school.   Where I grew up featured red clay  —  like glue when wet,  hard as a rock when dry,  and produced first-rate cotton.   It also had black loam in which you could grow just about anything.   And then here were strips of sand of varying coarseness.  Carrots and some other tasty food grew happily there,  but mostly I liked the feel of it as I dug my hands into it.

The first time I came upon real sand dunes in a desert I was impressed by how artistically the wind had arranged it,  much as the ocean had sculpted tiny little dunes on the floor of the ocean.  Now they have decided that the things communicate with  each other as they move.   Communicating via spatial relationships is a bit odd,  but I have seen cattle silently rearranging themselves for better graze,  or for a better view of something.   If you’ve ever watched busy pedestrian intersections,  you will have noticed that people manage to miss each other unless they are impaired in some way.

Written by timeforthorns

February 8, 2020 at 1:40 pm

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Falling iguanas…

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The weather forecast for  Miami recently  warned of falling iguanas in a cold snap.   The National Weather Service wasn’t joking.  It has happened before, and it  happened again.  Iguanas are reptiles and cold-blooded.  Below 50 degrees Fahrenheit they move like they are in a vat of molasses.  About 10 degrees cooler and they become too cold to move.  They aren’t truly “frozen” but appear quite dead until they warm up enough to move again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by timeforthorns

January 29, 2020 at 2:04 pm

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Wild country, wild weather…

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Australia is home to some strange weather phenomenons,  and the  dust storm  called a haboob is certainly one of them.   The long-term drought in that nation has made such storms more frequent and displaced more soil.

That was in New South Wales.   Melbourne  suffered huge  hailstones and  torrential  rain.   Add that to the fires…

 

 

Written by timeforthorns

January 20, 2020 at 1:55 pm

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Rock on!

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Scientists are  total suckers  for rocks Mother Nature has precariously and whimsically balanced.   One reason is that they serve as “reverse seismometers” —  the mere fact that they are still balanced means an earthquake did not happen in the last few thousand years.   Sometimes knowing what didn’t happen is just as important as knowing what did,  especially when it comes to geological explanations and forecasts.

As for me, I always wonder how they arrived at that tiny point between balance and failure  — were they deposited by moving glaciers,  erosion,  or perhaps earthquakes?   i don’t know,  but  PBRs strike me as amazing and amusing and I need do nothing more than enjoy them.

 

 

 

Written by timeforthorns

January 15, 2020 at 1:41 pm

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