Field of Science

Mother nature is messing with us

The fall has been very late such that no frosts yet and very little night time cold, so leaf color changes have barely begun here in the last week of October.  And now it's snowing and trees still have most of their leaves!  Nothing looks sadder than a big leaf magnolia with all its leaves bending under the weight of snow; nothing is sadder than a tree breaking under the weight of snow.  Now this snow will not last long, but it's messing with the nicest part of the fall season, and that's just not nice.  
Only the truly dedicated trick-or-treaters will be out tonight, and we have very few kids of the appropriate age in our hood anyways.  However it was probably a good thing that the dead oak whose crown reached over our roof was taken down before this snow and wind thing.  And we hope nothing else gets damaged too badly.  A few years ago a big wet heavy snow fell around Thanksgiving and as we walked through the neighborhood, you could hear the snapping of Bradford pear trees. 

National Black Cat Day

The Phactors are servants for two black cats.  Unfortunately TPP is just a bit late with this post.  Both of our cats are indoor cats although the younger one does get to walk about a bit on a leash every now and then.  This is one of the reasons our yard and gardens are such a haven for squirrels, chipmunks,and birds.  The younger one is long-haired tuxedo patterned Norwegian Forest cat.  She is most definitely Mrs. Phactor's cat.  The older and somewhat larger cat is a rescue cat and maybe the biggest lap cat ever.  She tends to make naps a major pastime, and spends every evening on or next to TPP's lap.  Here she is shown on the cat bench between two kitchen windows, a favorite summer napping spot.  Life is definitely tough on these two.  

Happy Birthday cocktail

The local napkin that passes itself off as a newspaper had a fluff article declaring today as the birthday of the Negroni cocktail.  Equal parts Campari, sweet Vermouth, and gin.  This is not a kiddy cocktail and our 20-something nieces
decided after a taste that this was not a cocktail for them unless they were allowed to sugar it to death.  This image shows how the Phactors wait for relatives, in a totally appropriate manner in a sidewalk café in Florence.  If you substitute bourbon for the gin you have a cocktail called Boulevardier, and actually TPP likes it a bit better.  But when in Rome...(or Florence, or Genoa, or Levanto).

Friday Fabulous Flower - Fall flowers?

TPP has just been too busy.  Two programs involving the herbarium and its contents, so panel discussions and visiting speakers.  It's great but busy and TPP  is not used to so much activity.  And then there are house and garden things, repair and alter water damaged rooms, removal of dead (sadly) shingle oak that had been in decline all summer. It was a substantial tree at 33" dbh and probably around 85-90 feet tall.  Even the pros had to work hard to take it down mostly because it was a bit close to our house and its crown over topped part of our roof and awaiting for the next ice storm to take part of it down is not sound policy.  My feline office assistant just showed up, so it's getting harder to see the monitor and to type. Arrival announced by head butting of TPP's right elbow; a sign of affection.
Weather has been a bit absurd, too warm especially at night so no frosts yet and it's the 21th of October.  Without cold nights to stop the chlorophyll production, leaf color has not started to change yet with a few exceptions.
Stopped by the coffee Shoppe and TPP's latte came to $4.10.  Handed the young woman counter clerk a 5-dollar bill and a dime.  She did not know what to do and had to ask for help. Sad.  As a grade school kid TPP remembers making currency and setting up a pretend store in the classroom for the purpose of learning how to handle money and change.  Of course TPP has resisted setting up his phone to pay via blue tooth is it?  So he is probably looked upon sadly by young counter clerks.  Imaging this guy used cash rather than his phone to pay for coffee.
Back to the weather thing.  Quite a few things are in flower, some because it is their season, the wolfbane, the Asian anemones, and some summer hold overs.  But this one was a surprise, an "ever-blooming" Iris given to Mrs. Phactor by a friend.  It seems to like the late fall weather and has responded by having a 2nd flowering.