Tag Archive | science

The Super-Duper Moon of November 14, 2016

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This illustration from NASA might clear it up, scientifically.

The moon turns precisely full on November 14, 2016 at 13:52 UTC. That will be at 8:52 AM my time, however the night before will have to do for me in the Midwest.

This is the second in a triad of super moons this year. Last October’s Hunter’s moon was super, and December’s Cold moon will be super also. However, this November’s Beaver moon will be SUPER DUPER! Why? Because the moon will become full within two hours of the perigee, much closer than the other two.

Because the moon’s orbit is elliptical, one side is about 30,000 miles closer (perigee) to the Earth than the other (apogee). When the Earth, Sun and Moon align, it’s called syzygy. Before super moon, these alignments were called, perigee-syzygy moons, however that just doesn’t roll off the tongue so well!

Sadly, there won’t be a super moon in 2017 because the full moon and perigee won’t realign again until January 2, 2018.

Because the moon has recurring cycles, we can count on the full moon and perigee to come in concert in periods of about one year, one month and 18 days. Here is a well done chart that identifies super moons of the future. If all holds true to the schedule, I’ll see a super moon on my birthday January 7, 2080.

Now if astrology is your thang, the super moon in Taurus and the Sun in Scorpio, brings about grounding and sloughing off what you don’t need. This mix also brings about decision making capabilities that can help you make a change that will make your heart happy. Hmmm, are the stars trying to tell me something?

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Pennsylvania Leatherwing – Chauliognathus pensylvanicus

imageThis little, native warrior princess was visiting my marigolds last week. I just had to snap a photo and share her with you.

This Northeastern girl is from Pennsylvania and is part of the assassin beetle family. She’s closely related to the lightning bug. Unlike most beetles that have a hard shell protecting their wings, hers are a tough skin, hence the ‘leatherwing’ name. 

Her favorite pollen is from the goldenrod flower which gives her another common name of ‘Goldenrod Soldier Beetle’. Her snacking on the pollen helps to pollinate the goldenrod, among the other flowers she visits.

If she’s bothered, she’ll emits droplets of white viscous fluid from pores along her sides. Chemical analysis has shown the secretion contains (Z)-dihydromatricaria acid, an acetylenic compound. This makes her taste kinda yucky, however she does end up on the dinner plate for many birds, bats and other small mammals.

So, next time you see her in your garden, blow her a kiss, ‘cuz she’s looking out for your flowers.


© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Coloring for your Stressed Brain

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The practice of coloring generates wellness, quietness and also stimulates brain areas related to motor skills, the senses and creativity. 

My favorite days at work are when I need to color plans for the plant install crews to follow. The landscape architect my boss hired under contract, is great at some things (seeing grade, focal points and balance), however he has a bit of trouble with using the same symbol for different plants and lack of labels. As I’ve scoured over the plan during the estimating process, I know the plan very well and can easily color code it for others.

Coloring is not a passive act, coloring involves logic to make creative decisions about which colors to use and focus on not going over the lines. During this process, other parts of your mind are freed up that allow you to become more creative.  This incorporates the areas of the cerebral cortex involved in vision and fine motor skills. The relaxation that it provides lowers the activity of the amygdala, a basic part of our brain involved in controlling emotion that is affected by stress.

I’ve seen a plethra of adult coloring books hit the market in the past few years. My hubby even got one from his Mom last Christmas. They are not what you think of when you think of the coloring books you used as a child. These adult books use intriquit designs and adult themes to keep us older folks interested. See below.

owl coloring page

Coloring isn’t just for relaxation either. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “Art projects can create a sense of accomplishment and purpose. They can provide the person with dementia — as well as caregivers — an opportunity for self-expression.”

Although, when considering coloring as an activity for your elderly loved one or someone suffering with Alzheimer’s or other dementias, it’s important to present the activity correctly.

  • Colored pencils are a better choice over crayons or markers.  Crayons may be perceived as childish or insulting, and colored markers can be messy or bleed through the pages.
  • Selecting a proper coloring book is important, as a coloring book for children could belittle a senior.
  • The theme of the coloring book should be thoughtfully considered.  Since adult coloring books have become increasingly popular, there are many with very busy, abstract or surreal images (like above) that may be unsettling to an already confused mind.

Now go out there and color!!!

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Summer Blooming Flowers 8-10-2016

I have seen a flower blooming in beauty in a secluded vale, and, ere I had a chance to look again, a chilly breath of air had scattered its petals and left it a ruin. ~ Charles Lanman, “Musings,” 1840

You don’t have to search a secluded vale to what I found blooming in 201320142015

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Echinacea ~ Coneflower (look familiar? See above!)

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Campsis radicans ~ Trumpet Vine   ||   Hemerocallis fulva ~ Ditch lilies or Tiger lilies

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Maclura pomifera ~ Osage orange

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Silphium perfoliatum ~ Cup plant   ||   Liatris spicata ‘Floristan White’ & ‘Floristan Violet’

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ZINNIAS!!!!

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Lobelia cardinalis ~ Cardinal flowers   ||   Nepeta

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Hibiscus syriacus ~ Rose of Sharon, althea or hardy hibiscus.

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We had a bit of rain recently. We rarely see our ditch filled, so of course I had to photograph it!


© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Summer Blooming Flowers 8-8-2016

Today is my hubby’s birthday!! Happy Birthday Honey!!pig roast

Ah, another fine year to celebrate. We’ll be having the pig roast party Saturday. Mmmmm. Bacon bread! What’s bacon bread, you ask? Well, we cook the pig above ground on a spit, opposed to the Hawaiian method of burying it in the ground with coals on top.  After the skin gets a bit crispy (thus ‘safe’ to eat) we take crusty bread and pat the pig with it. The bacon fat, mixed with the copious amounts of garlic and salt my hubby prepared the pig with flavors the bread like bacon. Oh my, I totally look like Homer over there!! You’re all invited! Email me for the address =-)

“Face this world. Learn its ways, watch it, be careful of too hasty guesses at its meaning. In the end you will find clues to it all.”  ― H.G. Wells, The Time Machine

Face  what I found blooming in 201320142015

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When you have flowers in your yard, you’re always ready to deliver a bouquet to a neighbor.

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Hosta   ||   Asclepias incarnata ~ Milkweed

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Look! Two bumble bees!!   ||   Hypericum perforatum ~ St. John’s Wort

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Potentilla fruticosa ~ Shrubby Cinquefoil   ||  Hmmm.

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Not sure    ||   Rudbeckia triloba  ~ Brown-eyed Susan

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Asparagus!!!! All grown-up

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Phemeranthus rugospermus ~ Rough-seeded Fameflower

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Summer Blooming Flowers 8-3-2016

The laws of science do not distinguish between the past and the future.  Steven W. Hawking

Although the past reveals what I found blooming in 201320142015

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Lilium lancifolium ~ Tiger Lily    ||    Cichorium intybus ~ Common chicory. It’s a coffee substitute, if left trapped in the wild without a Starbucks…

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Ipomoea purpurea ~ Morning glory   ||    Lythrum salicaria ~ Purple loosestrife. Both of these plants don’t play nice in Illinois =-(

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Monarda didyma  Native, wild beebalm   ||   Eupatorium perfoliatum ~ Common Boneset

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A Rudbeckia, but which one…..    ||   Prunella vulgaris ~ Self heal

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I’m not sure who this butterfly is, but I’m sure a post will follow in the cold, lean post months of the winter!

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Liatris aspera ~ Rough blazing star    ||   Breck and a Leadplant

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I’m not sure    ||    Saponaria officinalis ~ bouncingbet

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Calamintha nepeta ssp. glandulosa ‘White Cloud’ ~ Catmint


© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Summer Blooming Flowers 8-1-2016

So, after mucho research, I finally decided on which new convertible laptop I was going to purchase and pulled the trigger last night. It was a tough decision, as we’re talking a jump in 2 operating systems, stupid things like MIA keypads, touchscreen capability and many more upgrades. I’m not a techno-phobe, I’m a geek, however I don’t want to be a guinea pig. I rarely buy new technology. I am not in line for the newest Galaxy when it comes out. Let them get a few system fixes under their belts, then I’m on. Example, Windows 8 or 8.1 we’re the first that integrated the new touchscreen capability. Not an operating system I’d want to buy. Like it or not, Windows 10  has got to be better, as it got all the input from the guinea pigs that used W8. Hence why they were giving W10 away! I hope so, that is, as I’m going to have to find out. No, I’m not a MAC, ipad or iphone fan, please don’t suggest.

I love my old W7 Acer laptop even tho:

  • The battery hasn’t worked in 2 years.
  • The keyboard has gaps that collect crap & when I shoot it with air, the letters fly off.
  • Now the T, E, O keys have to pressed extra hard for them to register. his causes many typs 😉
  • The thermostat doesn’t work well, and doesn’t turn the fan on until the unit gets fairly warm. Nice in winter, tho.

I think I’m a pretty easy customer, but then again, I still had my needs in a laptop. I wanted:

  • A large one, 15.6″ screen, at least. I’ve got a 10″ tab already, I want to be able to see the screen without readers 😎
  • A high quality screen. Back to the lack of vision dealio. Also for my landscape design program, better to see things with!
  • A keypad! The Lenovo Yoga @ 15.6″ didn’t have one! I fly through Excel spreadsheets by keying in with my left hand and mousing with my right. That was the deal-breaker on the Yoga for me =-( Many other laptops have ditched it also.
  • I wanted a convertible, which I know I’m taking a chance on this design, but I’ll be careful!  I promise.
  • Every other thing in a laptop was not a deal-breaker for me. Price limit was $900, however looking to save.

Without further adieu, I decided on an HP ENVY x360 with an i7 processor, 15.6″ screen, keypad, convertible laptop for $850. It should arrive later this week. I’ll let you know how it goes… Wish me luck 😉

What kind of ‘puter do you drive?

Time in its aging course teaches all things.  Aeschylus

Learn what I found blooming in 201320142015

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Astilbe

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Yarrow and echinacea

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Achillea ‘Moon Dust’ ~ Yarrow   ||   Anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’ ~ Windflower

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Gaillardia ‘Gallo Fire’ ~ Blanketflower   ||  Veronicastrum ‘Lavender Towers’ ~ Culver’s root or Black root

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Platycodon grandiflorus ‘Sentimental Blue’ ~ Balloon flower   ||   Achillea ‘Moonshine’ ~ Yarrow

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Acanthus mollis ~ bear’s breeches, sea dock, bearsfoot or oyster plant – I so want one!!!   ||     Amorpha canescens ~ Leadplant

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A thistle. One of these days I’ll get around to learning them… Along with asters!    ||   An elderberry bush planted itself in my yard!!! Mmmm!


© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Summer Blooming Flowers 7-27-2016

Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend. Theophrastus (372 BC – 287 BC)

Hop on the wayback machine to see what I found blooming in 201320142015

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Vernonia altissima ~ Ironweed    ||   Vicia villosa ~ Hairy vetch

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Silphium laciniatum ~ Compass Plant   ||    Verbena stricta

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Amorpha canescens ~ Leadplant

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These can’t be leucanthemum x superbum… The petals are small. A Helenium perhaps??

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Eryngium yuccifolium ~ Rattlesnake Master   ||  Filipendula rubra ~ Queen-of-the-prairie

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Gypsophila paniculata ~ Baby’s Breath

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Ageratina altissima ~ White Snakeroot   ||       Asclepias tuberosa ~ Yellow milkweed

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Dalea candida ~ White Prairie Clover

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Queen of the Prairie – all grown up.


© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Summer Blooming Flowers 7-26-2016

The trouble with being punctual is that nobody’s there to appreciate it.  Franklin P. Jones (I resemble this quote!)

I don’t normally do blog awards anymore, as they are a lot of work and I generally don’t want to share too many personal things about me. However, Paintdigi got me interested in doing the “Three Day Quote” Challenge as, well, it was easy 😉 I basically do a time related quote with each Blooming Flowers post. So, Thank you for the nomination Paintdigi! Please go and visit my blogging pal, he has some very interesting artwork!!

Do the back-stroke to see what I found blooming in 201320142015

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Verbena simplex ~ Narrow-Leaved Vervain  ||  Silphium laciniatum ~ Compass Plant

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Monarda ‘Marshall’s delight’

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Phlox paniculata ‘David’   ||   Hemerocallis ‘Mauna Loa’ ~ Daylily

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Monarda

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Rudbeckia triloba ‘Prairie Glow’ (Dang rabbits keep eating him!!)

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Echinacea ‘Cheyenne Spirit’   ||   Knautia macedonica ‘Thunder & Lightning’

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Stachys officinalis ‘Hummelo’ ~ Betony


© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Summer Blooming Flowers 7-20-2016

“You may delay, but time will not.” ― Benjamin Franklin

Don’ delay! See what I found blooming in 201320142015

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Hemerocallis ~ Daylily

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Coreopsis   ||  Echinacea

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Hydrangea macrophylla   ||  Allium

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Another allium   ||   Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’

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Achillea ‘Apple Blossom   ||  Garlic

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Astilbe japonica ‘Montgomery’

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Astilbe   ||   Daucus carota ~ Queen Anne’s Lace
© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl