Saturday, June 27, 2009

Bromeliads and mosquitoes

If you have bromeliads, you have mosquitoes breeding in the cups. Unless, of course, you manage them well. I'm using mosquito bits containing modified Bt, available online, to kill the larvae.

I asked Adrian Hunsberger, the horticulturalist/entomologist with Dade's extension service, whether it only need be applied to the central cup, but she said bits should go in each cup and reapplied if it rains.

According to, the larvae live in water for seven to 14 days, depending on the temperature, so I reckon that applying the bits need only be done once a week.

Despite that, I have a major skeeter problem, and I suspect that they are coming from the neighbors. I've called 311 to request spraying, but so far, I've not noticed any less. I should buy shares in Johnson & Johnson, the manufacturer of Off.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Another flowering tree mystery

What is this tree?
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Night blooming cactus

In the neighbors' yard. I don't know much about cacti, so would love to know what this is. Anyone?
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Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Anyone spending a lot of time outdoors starts to appreciate clouds. Here's a neighborhood sunset photo; the other is looking across Florida Bay from the Overseas Highway.

There's a Cloud Appreciation Society in the UK (and members worldwide) with a photo gallery of spectacular cloud formations. (What is a "fallstreak hole?")

The CAS made news last week by petitioning for a new category of cloud: Asperatus. The BBC explains it with a slide show here.

I read the CAS "manifesto" and decided to join:

WE BELIEVE that clouds are unjustly maligned and that life would be immeasurably poorer without them.

We think that they are Nature’s poetry, and the most egalitarian of her displays, since everyone can have a fantastic view of them.

We pledge to fight ‘blue-sky thinking’ wherever we find it. Life would be dull if we had to look up at cloudless monotony day after day.

We seek to remind people that clouds are expressions of the atmosphere’s moods, and can be read like those ofa person’s countenance.

Clouds are so commonplace that their beauty is often overlooked. They are for dreamers and their contemplation benefits the soul. Indeed, all who consider the shapes they see in them will save on psychoanalysis bills.

And so we say to all who’ll listen: Look up, marvel at the ephemeral beauty, and live life with your head in the clouds!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Tomato-derived supplement staves off heart disease

Here's another reason to grow your own toms: eat enough of them and your heart will thank you.

That's not really news; what is, is that a company in the UK, a spin off from Cambridge University, has launched a nonprescription product containing lycopene in a more easily digested formula.

The BBC has a report.