Now is the time to hunt for garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) a biennial flowering plant in the mustard family (Brassicaceae) and remove it.
Spring rain has made the ground soft which helps with removal of garlic mustard’s tap root. This root only goes down for about an inch, then takes an abrupt turn. When you pull slowly, you can feel which way the root goes and pull accordingly. If all of it is not removed, it will grow back like a dandelion. It will also start blooming in our area soon, making it easier to find.
Landscaping can significantly reduce the costs of heating and cooling the home. Some well-placed shade trees, evergreens and shrubs not only look great, but also keep the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
Not much solar energy enters our homes through the walls and roof because of the insulation. Sun shining through the windows accounts for about half of the unwanted heat in a house during the summer. Twice as much solar energy enters through the east and west windows as the south windows, particularly if there is a roof overhang on the south side of the house.
The sun and wind both affect the temperature of residences in winter. A substantial amount of warmth can be gained from the sun shining through a southern facing window in the winter when the sun is low in the sky. East and west windows can also provide solar energy gain in the winter. The solar energy from the windows may provide 4-18% of the total energy needed to heat the home. Although, escaping warm air, along with cold wind penetrating a home, increase the heating costs and account for 24-39% of the heating requirements.
The House Sparrow originated in the Mediterranean and expanded its range into Europe as civilization also grew. Many factors contributed to the House Sparrows invasion of America. In 1850, green inch-worms were destroying trees in New York City’s Central Park. It was thought that the house sparrow’s main diet in Europe was these green worms and if sparrows were brought to New York City, they would solve the worm problem. One year later, the Brooklyn institute released eight pairs that didn’t survive the climate change. However, after many more attempts, they did finally adapt. Others hypothesized that the House Sparrow would eat grain out of horse manure, which would help the manure decompose faster. Finally, many Europeans who immigrated to the United States during this time smuggled in the little birds they were accustomed to seeing in their native country. By the time it was realized that house sparrows do not regularly eat insects outside the nesting season or eat grain out of horse manure (yet ate it out of the horse feeders), the birds range had spread tremendously.
Some cultures believe these circles to be dangerous to humans. Those violating fairy perimeters become invisible to those outside and may be unable leave the circle. The fairies then force the intruder to dance till exhausted, dead, or in the throes of madness.
The only safe way to investigate a fairy ring is to run around it nine times. Doing this permits the runner to hear the fairies dancing underground. This must be done under a full moon and in the direction the sun travels.
Other cultures still believe in fairy activity and that fairy rings are omens of good fortune. Some legends see fairy circles as places of fertility and fortune. The Welsh believe that mountain sheep eating the grass from a fairy ring flourish and crops sown around tend to grow better. European folklore believe fairy rings are gateways into elfin kingdoms.