Tag Archive | health

A Broken Tree ~ Why Arborist’s Cry

imageWe were camping at one of our local campgrounds last October and this tree was on our site. I normally love to put supporting links to old posts in my blog, however I’m going to be anonymous on this one. For us, this campground is close (under an hour drive) and is on a river we like to kayak on. Sadly though, they don’t care for their campground whatsoever. Almost every tree in the campground is injured in one way or another. Many are ready to fall on campers with a good gust of wind! I cringe when I see these situations, as what am I to do? Tell the family of 6 to move their camper now, before you lose a few of your chitlins from a downed tree? I’d get a “Pffft, we’re fine, you crazy lady!” Yeah, don’t mind the lady with the ‘Risk Assessment Arborist’ badge on her lapel. =-P

I’ve pondered highly about saying something to the owners of such campgrounds. I would think that they would love the free information from a licensed arborist! Of course, I can give constructive criticism without being accusatory. No one wants to be told they don’t know what they’re doing  😉 However, I’ve done this once with nasty repercussions. I was at a campground that had poison ivy everywhere in spades! Some hung into the paths that people walk on. I mentioned this to the owner, who told me, “What am I supposed to do about it?” I said that there are landscapers that care for these types of situations and his reply was that he didn’t have the money to do it and people will just have to avoid it. I told him he could put up a sign that identifies the area and show folks what poison ivy looks like. He said he didn’t want people to be afraid to camp there and campers should know what PI looks like! This campground was charging $67 a night, without sewer. This is an outrageous fee, for you non-campers. Normal rates are about $30-$40, with sewer, at a private campground. The sad part is that this is the campground a close, family friend decided to drop their seasonal trailer on, and gives us grief that we don’t come up there and camp with them.

Sometimes, there’s really no risk involved in the landscape. Many times it’s just a plant health problem or an aesthetic thang.

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Take a look at the photos of this tree… From a layman’s perspective, it may not look like there are any issues at all. However, upon further inspection, do you notice how large the trunk is compared to the canopy of the tree? A few years ago, the top of this tree broke off. Then the tree sent out a bunch of shoots from the broken trunk to compensate for the loss of its food-making leaves. These branches are not attached to the tree very well and can break with little effort. As you can see, many of the branches are dying already.

The last photo is of the root-crown and how it was planted. This tree had little chance from day one of ever surviving. It was buried too deep and has multiple girdling roots, which are roots that circle the trunk and only get tighter as the tree grows, cutting off its circulation, in laymen’s terms.

Can this tree be saved? No. Its structure has been so compromised, there’s really no way to prune it back to a healthy shape.

Just like Prince sang, “This is what is sounds like…. when Arborists cry.”  😉


© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

House Finch Eye Disease ~ Mycoplasmal conjunctivitis

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House Finch eye disease, Mycoplasmal conjunctivitis (MC) was first noticed in 1994 in the New England area. The disease later spread to states along the East Coast, and has now been reported throughout most of eastern North America, as far north as Quebec, Canada, as far south as Florida, and as far west as California.

Birds infected with this disease have swollen, red, runny, or crusty eyes. In extreme cases, the eyes become swollen shut and the bird becomes blind. While infected birds can recover, many die from starvation or predation.

Although infected bird’s symptoms show in the eyes, the disease is primarily a respiratory infection. It is caused by a strain of the MC bacterium, Mycoplasma gallisepticum. The bacterium poses no known health threat to humans.

MC has affected domestic turkeys and chickens for a long time. The disease also inflicts several other wild bird species including, Purple Finch, American Goldfinch, Evening Grosbeak.

There are treatments out there for this disease, however it is illegal to posses a wild bird. The best way to reduce the potential spread of MG and other feeder-bird diseases is to observe the following guidelines:

  • Clean feeders and bird baths every two weeks with a 10 percent bleach solution.
  • Use fresh seed, and keep the ground area around the feeder as clean as possible. During the summer, rake the area to remove accumulated seeds/shells under the feeder. During the winter, shovel fresh snow over the area.
  • Use nonporous plastic, metal, or glass feeders that are easy to clean, and offer ample feeder space to reduce crowding.
  • Keep platform feeders clean and only offer a day’s worth of seed.

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© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Magic ‘Psilocybin’ Mushrooms Help Cancer Patients With Depression & Anxiety

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I wish there weren’t so many laws telling us what we can and cannot do to our own bodies…

Scientists have recently completed more studies concerning cancer patients and end of life care using ‘Magic Mushrooms’.

Psilocybin is a naturally occurring compound that is produced by more than 200 species mushrooms, collectively known as “Psilocybin mushrooms”. The most potent are members of the genus Psilocybe, such as P. azurescens, P. semilanceata, and P. cyanescens, but psilocybin has also been isolated from about a dozen other genera.

I read this write-up from Science Daily:
Improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of cancers in recent years have led to a marked increase in patients’ physical survival rates. While doctors can treat the physical disease, what is not well understood is how best to address the psychological needs of patients with cancer.

In addition to the physical pain associated with cancer, many patients also experience psychologically harmful symptoms of anxiety, depression, anger, and denial. Social isolation, in addition to hopelessness, helplessness and loss of independence, has also been associated with significant psychological suffering in patients coping with advanced-stage cancer.

A recently published book chapter “Use of the Classic Hallucinogen Psilocybin for Treatment of Existential Distress Associated with Cancer,” reviews the potential of a novel psychoactive drug, psilocybin, in alleviating the psychological and spiritual distress that often accompanies a life-threatening cancer diagnosis.

The chapter, published in Psychological Aspects of Cancer: A Guide to Emotional and Psychological Consequences of Cancer, Their Causes, and Their Management, was co-written by Anthony P. Bossis, PhD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Radiology, and Medicine at the New York University College of Dentistry (NYUCD) and Langone Medical Center.

The hallucinogen treatment model with psilocybin has been shown to induce a mystical or spiritual experience and is a unique therapeutic approach to reduce the anxiety of terminal cancer patients.

“Mystical or peak consciousness states in cancer patients have been associated with a number of benefits including improved psychological, spiritual, and existential well-being,” said Dr. Bossis.

Psilocybin (a serotonergic psychoactive agent) is a naturally occurring active component of many species of mushrooms, and is rapidly metabolized to psilocin, a highly potent activator of serotonin receptors. In addition to receiving the psilocybin compound, patients enrolled in the study also receive psychological preparation prior to the psilocybin dosing followed by a brief series of integrative psychotherapeutic sessions.

The chapter includes a clinical case vignette of a patient in the ongoing Psilocybin Cancer Anxiety Study at the Bluestone Center for Clinical Research. Participants undergo two drug administration sessions in which psilocybin is administered on one occasion and a placebo on the other.

“The primary objective of this phase I, double-blind, controlled pilot study is to assess the efficacy of psilocybin administration on psychosocial distress, with the specific primary outcome variable being anxiety associated with advanced and/or recurrent cancer,” said Bossis. “Secondary outcome measures will look at the effect of psilocybin on symptoms of pain perception, depression, existential/psychospiritual distress, attitudes toward illness, quality of life, and spiritual/mystical states of consciousness,” said Bossis.

The clinical vignette describes a patient who, over the course of three years, experienced extreme fatigue, pain, overall body aches, discomfort and psychological distress due to cancer and intensive biweekly chemotherapy. The patient became increasingly anxious and depressed and was enrolled in two study sessions; in one he received psilocybin and the other placebo. Despite continuing the arduous chemotherapy schedule, suffering from illness, and undergoing additional surgical procedures, the patient continued to report a marked improvement in attitude, coping, and mood 18 weeks after his session and stated, “my quality of life is dramatically improved,” the patient said.

Stephen Ross, MD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the NYU School of Medicine and Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Radiology, and Medicine at the NYUCD is the principal investigator for the study; Dr. Bossis and Jeffrey Guss, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry are co-principal investigators.

The co-authors of the chapter were: Charles S. Grob, MD, Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and Roland R. Griffiths, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science and Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University.

The Psilocybin Cancer Anxiety Study was also recently highlighted in a News article, “Opening Doors of Perception: Psychedelic Drugs and End-of-Life Care” in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

“The emotional, spiritual and existential distress that can often accompany a diagnosis of cancer often goes unidentified and untreated in cancer patients. Patients who have benefited from psilocybin clinical research have reported less anxiety, improved quality of life, enhanced psychological and spiritual well-being, and a greater acceptance of the life-changes brought on by cancer. It is a welcome development that this promising and novel clinical research model utilizing psilocybin has begun to gain clinical and academic attention,” Bossis notes.

The Psilocybin Cancer Anxiety Study is currently recruiting additional subjects. To enroll or learn more, please visit BluestoneCenter.org or http://www.nyucanceranxiety.org/

New York University. (2013, January 31). Potential of psilocybin to alleviate psychological and spiritual distress in cancer patients is revealed ScienceDaily Retrieved December 1, 2016 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130131095040.htm

Skipper on Agastache

I love Skipper Butterflies!! They are always very friendly and will land on an outstretched finger. Maybe only for a moment, as their energy level is so high, they must skip on to the next flower. The Agastache (Hyssop) I was planting that day had these guys going nuts for the nectar, as there wasn’t much still blooming at the time.

Although the skipper had me thinking cutie thoughts, This post is really about this amazing plant.

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Agastache, also known as Hummingbird Mint, is essential to a pollinator friendly garden. Agastache plants are not on the menu for browsing deer and rabbits. Sometimes known as Hyssop, Hummingbird Mints are a showy, fragrant group of perennial herbs that as their name suggests, attract hummingbirds. Perhaps best of all, they offer color to the garden in late summer and early fall, when many gardens are winding down and getting a bit dull.

Hyssop are an easy group of plants to grow and are native to the United States. They are in the mint family, thus they have square stems. They can take most exposures, if water is adequate, although they do not like wet soils. They grow to about 3′ and can bloom for a very long time, from July through October.

Other facts:

  • Bees are attracted to the late-blooming flower which results in a light, anise-scented honey.
  • In traditional folk herbal medicine, hyssop tea has been used to help assist digestion. Native Americans also used hyssop as a medication to cure wounds, fevers, cough and diarrhea.
  • Hyssop is also effective in relieving pains in the chest, due to excessive coughing. It can help expel mucus, making it ideal for treating colds.
  • A poultice prepared with the leaves and stems of the hyssop plant may be used to heal burn injuries.
  • Put fresh or dried anise hyssop leaves in cheesecloth and hang from the tub faucet, letting the water flow over the herbs.  The scent from the hyssop will help calm agitated nerves.
  • Along with mental calming, it can also provide pain relief to sore muscles via a warm bath.  Hyssop is also supposed to curb nightmares.
  • Aside from therapeutic uses, hyssop is also used for culinary purposes. Fresh leaves and flowers can be added to salads and fruit salads as well as use it in the form of a garnish. Alternately, you may use fresh or dried up leaves with chicken, lamb, salmon as well as some vegetable dishes like peas.
  • Hyssop leaves can be used as a substitute for anise or mint.

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Oreo’s Dew Claw Disaster

imagemicrocynah-reg-woundI’ve never had a dog of mine injure their dew claw until Oreo did last week. When Chris saw it, it was bent sideways and sticking out. The nail was not bleeding, so Chris went to work. He’s not the nurse of the family… When I got ready to look at it. Sometime during the day, Oreo had ripped it off. I could see the pink, pulsating quick in there, thankfully holding back the blood. I trimmed the hair away from the nail so I could see what I was doing! The nail had cracked not too far down, just above the quick. It looks like a clean break. I gave a shout out to Easy’s Staff, because the big lug has gotten his claws in snag once or twice before.  His staff told me to use Vetericyn. I looked for it at my nearby pet heath food store and she told me this was comparable.

I’ve been spraying it on Oreo’s nail for the past few days and it has healed up so well! Easy’s staff  told me this stuff is great for hoomans also! I had a hangnail, it didn’t sting spraying it on and it has also taken a big swing in healing. It doesn’t kill the good cells only the bad.

Why have I suffered with the sting of peroxide or the gooiness of antibiotic ointment? This stuff is awesome!


© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Ilex VS Sycamore Anthracnose (Apiognomonia veneta)

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Anthracnose is a fungus that has many forms and affects manyimage different species of trees. Some are fatal, some will just make the tree look unpleasant.

The most common signs of Sycamore Anthracnose are:

  • *Heavy leaf and twig drop in late spring
  • *A thinning crown
  • *Random, dead leaves in canopy
  • *Distorted limb growth
  • *“Witches’ broom” growth (dense clusters of twigs)
  • *Cool, wet, spring weather will aggravate the spread of this disease.

If the average daily temperature at the time of leaf budding is below 55 °F, anthracnose infections will be severe. If the average daily temperature is 60F or above during this time, disease incidence will be greatly reduced.

Sycamore anthracnose is caused by the fungus Apiognomonia veneta and is more serious than anthracnose on other shade trees. Sycamore anthracnose is common when cool, wet weather occurs during leaf development. Considerable defoliation may occur in late spring, however trees normally bounce back and produce a second set of leaves in early July that are disease-free. Leaves that are infected in early spring often turn brown and shrivel while still small, which can be mistaken for frost damage. Leaves that are infected may have brown foliar lesions that follow along the veins in V-shaped patterns. Leaves turn brown and may drop prematurely or continue to hang in the tree.

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There are two other stages of this anthracnose: shoot and leaf blight and canker formation. Shoot and leaf blight results when the pathogen enters young, succulent shoots. It causes the rapid death of growing shoots and leaves. The pathogen overwinters in twigs and is active whenever temperatures are high enough in the fall, winter and spring. During winter, cankers form on infected shoots and kill the buds. Repeated infection results in deformed shoots and witches brooms. Although this disease can weaken the trees and increase their susceptibility to attack by other pathogens and pests, it is not lethal.

imageManagement: Dead twigs should be pruned as they develop throughout the growing season. Rake and discard fallen leaves to reduce the source of the fungus. It is impractical to spray fungicides on large trees, however for smaller, specimen trees, the disease can be controlled with fungicides applied at three intervals; just before bud break, during bud break, 10 to 20 days later. Systemic fungicide injections can also be used.

If you really want to plant a Platanus species and don’t want to worry about sycamore anthracnose, plant a hybrid planetree, which are resistant to the disease. These trees are mixed with a maple.

EXCLAMATION LONDON PLANETREE Platanus x acerifolia  ‘Morton Circle’ Zones 4-8

OVATION LONDON PLANETREE Platanus x acerifolia  ‘Morton Euclid’ Zones 5-7

 

 

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

How to Find Non Monsanto Seeds

monsanto-you-are-what-they-feed-you It’s so hard these days to keep up with what foods are tainted with Monster-santo products. Harder still is finding organic, non-GMO seeds when you’re ready to plant your own poison-free garden. You can always propagate seed from the veggies you currently grow by following the directions found here, however what if it’s your first year gardening? Who is safe too buy from?? I hope to clear this up for you with this handy list =-)

Things do change fast, Monster-santo likes to buy out or contaminate organic farmers constantly, so while I can be sure this list is current at publishing (6/2016), please double-check the information if you’re reading this post long after this. I will try to repost/revise this yearly.

obama-screwing-up-againhillary monsanto linkseriously crazy talkcontrol food control humans

Some companies, like Burpee’s, wanted to be sure that they spoke out about their strong reasons for staying away from Monsanto. Read Burpee’s post about not being affiliated with GMO’s or Monsanto.

OWNED BY MONSANTO or SELL SMALL PERCENTAGES OF SEEDS FROM THEM.

Audubon Workshop
Breck’s Bulbs
Cook’s Garden
Earl May Seed
E & R Seed Co
Ferry Morse
Flower of the Month Club
Gardens Alive
Germania Seed Co
Garden Trends
HPS
Jung Seed Genetics
Lindenberg Seeds
McClure and Zimmerman Quality Bulb Brokers
Mountain Valley Seed
Osborne
Park Bulbs
Park’s Countryside Garden
R.H. Shumway
Rupp
Seeds for the World
Seymour’s Selected Seeds
Snow
Spring Hill Nurseries
Stokes
T&T Seeds
Tomato Growers Supply
Totally Tomato
Vermont Bean Seed Co.
Wayside Gardens
Willhite Seed Co.
American Seeds
Asgrow
Campbell
DeKalb
De Ruiter
Diener Seeds
Fielder’s Choice
Fontanelle
Gold Country Seed
Hawkeye
Heartland
Heritage Seeds
Holdens
Hubner Seed
Kruger Seeds
Lewis Hybrids
Peotec
Poloni
Rea Hybrids
Seminis
Specialty
Stone Seed
Trelay
Western Seeds

 

NON-GMO SEEDS:

Amishland Seeds
Annapolis Valley
Aravaipa Heirlooms
Baker Creek
Burpee Seeds
Bountiful Gardens
Heritage Seed Company
Diane’s Flower Seeds
Ed Hume Seeds
Fedco
Garden City Seeds
Heirlooms Evermore Seeds
Heirloom Seeds
Horizon Herbs
Irish-Eyes
J.W. Jungs
Johnny’s Seedsextra help from monsanto
Landreth Seeds
Lake Valley Seeds
Livingston Seeds
Local Harvest
Mountain Rose Herbs
Organica Seed
Osgata
Park Seeds
Pinetree
Sand Hill Preservation Center
Seeds of Change
Seeds from Italy
Siski You Seeds
Southern Exposure
Sunshine Farm (Canada)
Sustainable Seed Co
Territorial Seeds
Tiny Seeds
TomatoFest Heirloom Tomato Seeds
Underwood Gardens
Uprising Seeds
Virtual Farm Seed Co
Wildseed Farms

Please let me know if you would like to add any knowledge to either list in the comments!! Thanks!!

Let’s hope this is true!

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Spring Blooming Flowers 4-7-2016

FINALLY!!

A blooming flowers post! Yeah Woowoowoo!!!

Allllright. I think I might be able to compose myself (giggle), ok probably not.. This is the first phenology post of 2016. If you started following me this past winter, you’ve missed some of the best parts of this blog, the flowers!! I am super-excited that I am starting my fourth year of finding blooming things and have three previous seasons to link back to. Sweet! It may not a PhD thesis, however it is fun data to me.

Hop on the T.A.R.D.I.S. to see what was blooming in 2013 – 20142015

(Sometimes I don’t have corresponding post near the date, so no link will be given)

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I think these were mid-spring bloomers, so we’ve got a week or two here. I planted these daffodils last fall. It snowed one day and was sunny and 60F the next day. Gotta love lake effect weather.
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Scilla siberica – Siberian Squill

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Viola sorori – wood violet, sweet violet, English violet, common violet, florist’s violet, or garden violet

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Forsythia viridissima – Forsythia

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Puschkinia scilloides – Striped squill

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Pachysandra ‘Green Carpet’

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Potatoes AuGratin

Since being labelled with hot-headed, blood pressure issues, I’ve had to scale back on my salt. Poor innocent salt. I feel I should quit my job and my pressure would be fine.

Aaaanyway. I used to enjoy the boxed variety of Potatoes Au Gratin, however have you seen the sodium in those things?!? Yikes!!

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I had to find a homemade alternative with less salt. I looked through a large amount of recipes, but none of them seemed to fit, so I had to mash them up to get what I wanted.

As with most of my recipes, I’m going to give approximate measurements for the ingredients.

I used a pie dish – Set oven for 350F

  • 6 peeled potatoes – sliced thin
  • 1 sweet onion – sliced thin
  • 2 cups Shredded cheddar
  • 1/2 cup Shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup of whole milk or better
  • 1 Stick melted butter
  • 1 Teaspoon of potato starch (thickener)
  • Dash of pepper
  • Dash of garlic powder

Mix the butter, milk, potato starch, pepper, garlic and any other spices you might like.

Start layering the potatoes, then onion, then cheeses, then splash some of the milk mix in. Put less in at the bottom and more towards the top as it will soak down, so to speak.

I ended with all the junk on top with some onion, hoping they would get caramelized, which they did!

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Welcome Little Violet – Viola sororia

imageI saw this little guy on the top of my south facing swale. It gets a bunch of sun and tends to warm up quickly there. These beauties are really low and were tucked protectively into the grass. If you put weed killer on your lawn in the spring, you’ll miss out on having them bless you in the spring.

There are many health benefits of violets. Leaves of violets contain twice as much vitamin C as the same weight of an orange and over twice the amount of vitamin A when compared with spinach. Bam! Early Native Americans have used violets for treating different cancers and the American Natural Cancer Institute has recognized this and have joined forces. Violets may also be useful in the therapy of disorders related to an overactive immune system.

Here are a few spring tea recipes including violets:

Nutritious Tea
Use equal amounts of the dried leaves of nettle, dandelion, red clover, violet and mint.

Mineral Rich Tea
Steep violet leaves with alfalfa, horsetail, oatstraw, red clover, hawthorn leaf and flower, chamomile, and raspberry leaves. This tea is jam-packed with vitamin C, vitamin A, iron, and calcium.

Relaaaaax
Combine violet leaves with blue vervain, linden leaf and linden flower with elderberry flower.

These cutie-faces are native east of Kansas. They are the state flower for Illinois, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Wisconsin.

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© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl