Wednesday, April 29, 2015

- 4/22/15

It's Earth Day! This post will be about my schedule for the last of Earth Month, April. The 30th will be of Park Day Clean Up (I always do the post Thursday since the cleanup is Wednesday), and somewhere from next post to then, will be my garden, (adding soil amendments, purchasing plants, planting), and hopefully by the start of May, my garden will be finished. My gardening post schedule will be every 4 days, and/or will something extreme occurs such as a new plant or sudden growth. I should (hopefully) have a row of beans, two tomatoes, and 1 pepper, and 1 (other). I want one less pepper then last year because I don't think they adjust well to my garden. Till the next post!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

* 4/20/15 Tips for a Better World

April is drawing to a close, and the end of Earth Month is in sight. But there is still a precious week and a half to go! There are plenty of things you can do, and they all start at the simplest. Try these 5 tips, and you won't regret it.

#1. That ordinary lightbulb still in your ceiling? Swap it for a compact florescent bulb and use %75 percent less energy. Impressive? Listen this--if every person changed their lightbulbs, it would be equivalent of taking 1 million cars of the street!

#2. Turn off your computer at night. The impact is large--and beneficial not only for the environment, but you! Save $14 a year by pushing a button.

#3. Try a vegetarian diet once a week--just cancel meat off the menu. The result? A healthier planet, and a healthier you. It takes 2,500 gallons of water just to produce 1 pound of beef. And get this, you will also be saving trees! For each hamburger that came from an animal raised on rainforest land, around 55 square feet of forest have been destroyed. I'll take the soup!

#4. In a year, the average American uses about 2,200 napkins, around 6 each day. If everyone only used one less napkin, more then 1 billion pounds of napkins can be saved from the landfill. Excuse me while I purchase a reusable handkerchief.

#5. Share this! This is the best and simplest out of all of these, because if you and the person you share it to follows at least 2 of these tips, the effects will be doubled. Spread the word!  Email this link to at least one person, and the environment will thank you! So will your budget.

- 4/18/15 Natures Navigator; Jewelry Theft.

I'm working on a series of short stories following the lives of two young girls who work together to solve nature-based mysteries! I'm hoping to print the stories and sell them, to raise money for IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) and WWF (World Wildlife Fund). Hopefully, I can raise $20 or more for each organization, by selling the books for $5. I'll make about 3 books in the series, and I'm finishing up the first. I will sell the books at the Zakat Foundation Community Center, and possibly the Walnut Grove Co-op. I'll update when the book comes out, and how much I make after I sell them.

The storyline for the first book is as follows:
Annika Halim spent the first of the last three days of spring break normally; reading a book in her treehouse, totally disconnected to reality. That's when her friend Amber brought horrifying news; her newest jewelry had been stolen! Annika and Amber decided that, no matter what, they would figure out the mystery before spring break ended. Then Amber's expensive ring got stolen. The situation suddenly got a lot more serious... And the two sleuths were determined to get to the bottom of it.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

* 4/16/15 Live and Let Live

         The most common creature based fear is arachnophobia, fear of eight-legged critters, namely spiders. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with it because... I have arachnophobia too! Yes, if I see an eight-eyed, many legged arachnid scurrying across the floor or sitting placidly on a web, I will resort to a shivering, panicked state. However, after my initial shock, I come to my senses and follow through a simple series of step ensure we both stay alive--and comfortable. And let me tell you this, I am not very comfortable with a spider in close proximity with me, and I don't think it is very comfortable with a monstrous beast goggling at it. Needless to say, I think we are both scared out of our minds.
          I have a ready prepared method for spider-saving. Most people might resort to grabbing the nearest shoe for DIY pest control, but this a one way solution. It works out something like...

Human = :); Spider = X_X

This is not the best of techniques, but nevertheless efficient. Equally efficient, yet a lot more satisfactory for the poor spider, is a short and simple method for saving a spider.

1. Most people find that spiders look freaky, and I do too! So calmly look near it, not at it, and picture something pleasant.
2. Once you've calmed yourself, proceed to take a paper and cup, and gently place the cup over the spider. Slide the paper beneath the cup and lift it up gently. If the spider is on a web, put a book or other hard board beneath the spider and bring the cup down from above and clap it to the book with the spider inside.
3. With the book/paper in hand, flip it upside down so that the paper or book is sitting on top of the cup that the spider is in. Exit the house, slide the paper off, and deposit he arachnid somewhere safe and out of the way.

These steps lead to a win-win situation.

Human = :); Spider = :)

Bit if you don't want to go through the trouble of rescuing the spider, consider this before grabbing the nearest shoe--spiders do a lot more good then you might think, and actually help you! Yes, spiders eat the bothersome pests in your house such as earwigs, flies, moths, and mosquitos. And not only that, but get this--spiders even kill... Other spiders! One big spider to guard your house, and you won't see many others. In fact, long-legged cellar spiders even kill black widows!

I'm afraid of spiders. But if I see one, 70% of the time it is in my sight will be spent trying to save it. I'll reserve the 30% left over for shuddering, shivering, and more or less freaking out. But I'll still do all in my power to give it the chance it deserves to live a long and healthy life! That means you can too! Spiders deserve more credit then they are given. They are not any less elegant then the butterflies we love to observe, and as colorful as a ladybug. So why do arachnids like spiders and scorpions receive all the hate? Show spiders what they deserve, a well-spent life in peace, and I promise you wont regret it.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

* 4/14/15 Aquarium Trip

         I'm still away--and seeing a lot of cool things! I went to an aquarium in Minnesota (I've been to Ohio and Wisconsin so far too), as one of the many fun destinations we've been to. Others include lots of museums (about 5?), the Mall of America (largest mall in the U.S.), many restraunts (not that impressive) and the aquarium!
        The aquarium was called Sea Life, and was a part of the Mall of America, taking up a whole level. We could touch stingrays, although I didn't get to that due to the time limit, and learn about new species of creatures beneath the sea. One of the ocean creatures I won't forget in a hurry is the Moon Jelly Aurelia aurita, simply because there was a whole room dedicated just to displaying their stunning forms gliding through cylinders that stand vertically around the room.

This is a Moon Jelly! Aurelia aurita, as I have memorized. This is, however, a picture I found on Google Images, and is not one that I took, unlike the following pictures.

I regret to inform you that I am not in possession of a quality camera at the moment... So the graphics of the pictures will not be in quality resolution, or perfectly clear. Anyway, this is me observing the sea life though the glass walls of a tunnel.


This, in a fairly blurry appearance (taken from my mother's out-dated Blackberry), is one of the many fish and sharks I viewed through the tunnel.

A flagtail! With a very big mouth too....

I am pointing at a flower, beneath a sign that displays an interesting fact.

 This is the "fun fact" close up.
This is the last fact, as well as the last picture, and the second to last sentence.
Till the next post!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

* 4/12/15 Playing Possum

Opossums are commonly known for 2 things, 1, "playing 'possum' a.k.a. playing dead, and 2, hanging by their tails.

But is the common knowledge that opossums hang by their prehensile tails true, or not? You might be surprised to find that the answer is no, they can't. Baby opossums can, which might be where the myth got started. But even juvenile (young) opossums lack the legendary ability, and adults cannot hang by their tails for more then a second.

What about their second ability, equally famous if not more so? Yes, 'possums do indeed play dead, or "play possum". In fact, after they go into a coma-like state, they excrete a scent that makes them smell like death! Cool act. Till the next post.

Friday, April 17, 2015

- 4/10/15 Update

For the next few weeks I wont be able to post frequently (or at all) but I will whenever I can! I'll be home the 26th and I'll be planting my garden in the following days! That's when the real excitement of the year will begin. I've been waiting for it all year! And hopefully I'll do a better job of managing weeds then last year... I hope my whole garden does better, and I'll have a successful and healthy crop. I don't care as much for the harvest though, more so the well-being of the plants. Till the next post!

* 4/08/15 Earthships

I apologize for the late update--sorry :(  This is about Earthships.

          Earthships are environmentally friendly houses, built out of recycled materials. Each house is made of tires packed solid with dirt, and staggered like bricks to form walls. The walls are load bearing and provide thermal mass, which stores heat and releases it slowly, so that the indoor temperature stays the same.
          Earthships are designed to use available natural resoucres. Rainwater is stored, and gray water (relatively clean waste water from baths, washing machines, e.t.c.) is recycled. Solar energy is also taken advantage of, and is stored for later use.

          Sorry again, this time for the hasty post!

Monday, April 6, 2015

* 4/6/15 Matter in Ecosystems

      So... For today's post, which I am typing up a lot later then I would have liked too, is about... Well, read this:

Energy is not the only thing transferred in ecosystems. Matter is also transferred. Earth is a closed system for matter. All the elements needed for life come from the elements that were present on Earth's crust when it was formed 2.5 billion years ago. The law of conservation of matter states that matter cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be transferred and recycled.

Carbon, Oxygen, and Nitrogen are essential to life. Nitrogen makes of 78% of the atmosphere, and is an odorless, unusable gas. The nitrogen cycle converts unusable nitrogen into a usable form. The nitrogen cycle is the continuous process in which nitrogen is exchanged in organisms an the environment. Some of the free nitrogen in the air combine with other elements in the soil to form compounds that are deposited in the soil. These compounds are then converted into organic compounds by certain forms of bacteria. Then, these compounds are converted into nutrients that can be absorbed by the roots of green plants. The nutrients are forms of nitrogen that living things can use. Producers absorb the nutrients by their s roots, then primary consumers eat the nitrogen containing plants. Decomposers return nitrogen to the soil when they break the waste materials of the consumers or the remains of dead producers or consumers, all of which contain nutrient. Finally,k a kind of bacteria converts it back into atmospheric nitrogen.

Primary consumers eat green plants. Decomposers break down the consumers waste materials as well of the remains of dead consumers and producers. By doing this, Decomposers cycle some carbon into the soil and release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is absorbed from the atmosphere by green plants, algae, and certain bacteria. These producers then use light energy from the sun to convert the carbon dioxide along with water into oxygen and glucose through photosynthesis. Carbon dioxide is also returned to the atmosphere when plants and animals convert oxygen and glucose into carbon dioxide and water through cellular respiration,.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

- 4/04/15 Fox!

         Take happiness. And multiply it by infinity. Then add π. You get how happy I am: ∞. Why? I will proceed to explain.... I might have a fox in my backyard again!!!! My evidence:

         *Foxes are active in spring. It is spring.
         *Foxes produce a musky, skunk-like smell to mark their territory. My dad smelled skunk.
         *Foxes dig holes in search of beetle larvae and worms. There were shallow holes in the sand in my backyard.
         *Foxes have dog-like paw prints. I saw such prints in the sand where the holes were.
         *Foxes often make dens under sheds, decks, or houses. My dad thought he saw movement by our deck.
          Conclusion: We have a fox!!!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

+ 4/02/15 Garden

        The second post of today--way off schedule. It was supposed to be at 4:00 p.m..... but it's 8:00 p.m. Whoops. Got a little side-tracked. Anyway, I at least prepared my garden, hoed it, added potting soil for soil amendments (oh, dear), and raked the bed smooth. So you can get a better idea of how this all went, take a look:

I used these tools; A pair of clippers, a shovel, and two rakes (one pitchfork style)

And so my garden went from looking like this; a complete and total mess....

To this neat, healthy-looking plot of land!

      Thus concludes my report of the transformation of a weed-house untouched for a year, to a piece of land that can be properly cultivated with a likely chance for success--like last year. Unlike last post, I can properly say (no, type) these words, Till the next post.


- 4/02/15 1st Even Day of April Celebration

         Well, today actually came! I kind of thought it never would,  or that something would go wrong and despite the fact that I said today would be a celebration day--I wouldn't actually post. Silly me. I did! And with this post--the first one in Earth Month--I have lots of news.
         I'll start this post with something totally awesome that I saw yesterday (April fools day, yes, I know. This is not a joke!). I saw--in my backyard--2 snakes. Mating! So... I have a thriving population of Garter snakes in my backyard! And lots of mice too, so they and their future snakelets (I don't know what you call a baby snake) will not go hungry. I even got a picture! I'll figure out a way to post it here....
        News #2: I did the first Park Day clean up of the year--guess where? As luck will have it, it was at the exact same place as my first park day clean up last year. Now, my friend that did the park day clean up last year wasn't there (noooo), but the clean up was still successful. I even forget the name of the park, but I'll post a picture I took of the sign when I can. I'm really excited--the first day of Earth Month and I've already found an awesome way to contribute! And today, I will be allowing microorganisms and worms a chance for an extremely healthy life when I prepare my garden tiller-free. As in, not chopping worms to death with the deadly blades of a rotor-tiller. I'll get the job done by hand!
        My last and final "news" for today is the already-known fact that I will be preparing my garden. I'll get it done by the end of the day, no doubt! I'm just a little tied up with my brother's appointment and my own schoolwork at the moment (11:30 a.m.) But, no worries, by around 4:00, the second post today will be up on my website, so just keep an eye out her at that time! Till the next post--wait, that's today! Till the next 4 1/2 hours, then.