Friday, March 30, 2012

Beetle Kill

The one thing I've noticed on my recent trips to "The Top of the World" where Hubby lives and works (Silverthorne, CO), are the number of dead trees.

I know what you're thinking! How can I tell if a tree is dead in the middle of winter! In the higher altitudes of the Rocky Mountains of Colorado there aren't that many varieties of deciduous trees. And I can recognize the ones that are there by either their bark or the location where the tree is growing (I grew up in the Colorado Rockies and my Father worked for the US Forest Service). So when I saw all the stark, skeletal remains of trees I knew that they were dead evergreen trees. I did a little research and discovered that these trees had fallen victim to the Pine Beetle.

Pine Beetles are an insect native to the forests of western North America. Under normal circumstances these beetles play a role in maintaining a healthy forest - they attack old and sickly trees. But the unusual weather patterns of the last few years - overly hot, dry summers and extremely mild winters - have caused the pine beetle population to explode and the beetles are now attacking healthy trees. The pine beetle lays its eggs under the bark of pine trees and at the same time introduces a fungus into the sapwood of the tree to prevent the tree from repelling and killing the attacking beetles with tree pitch. The fungus also blocks the transport of water and nutrients within the tree. The tree will be dead within a year of the attack. Recent studies have found that the beetles are now breeding twice a year instead of only once.

Large Pile of Timber waiting to be burned
There are various forms of control but when vast expanses of forests are affected it is hard to eradicate the insect, especially when they have begun to breed prolifically. Large stretches of dead and dying trees are now being cut down (main form of insect control). Huge piles of timber can be seen waiting to be burned. While beetle killed timber still retains its commercial value for 8 - 12 years, it seems that not a lot of it is making its way to the sawmills. Some of the dead timber is being turned into wood pellets for pellet (heat) stoves, but pine is not as desirable as harder woods for a heat source. What is needed are several extremely cold winters in a row to knock a dent in the population (I know, I know! Better watch out what I wish for!) 

While all the dead standing timber can be unsightly, the trees still serve a purpose. Dead trees provide shelter for over 1,000 species of wildlife - raccoon & squirrels, innumerable bird species, and many insects call dead timber home. One species of lichen which is food for deer prefers to grow on dead trees. As dead trees decay, they will fall to the forest floor and provide nutrients for the plants around them. These deadfall trees also provide  a perfect growing environment for young seedlings. Nothing goes to waste in Nature.

The local town of Frisco has embraced the Mountain Pine Beetle by holding a festival. This event serves to educate the public about the impact this insect has had on the area. Maybe their celebrating will help scare away those 'evil little bugs'!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Weird Wednesday ~ Denver Int'l Airport

Rumors and speculation abound about anomalies that occur at Denver International Airport.

Let's begin with the horse statue that greets visitors outside DIA. The Mustang has glowing red eyes - quite an eerie site for unsuspecting travelers. Red lights were installed in the eyes so that they might always glow - "to ward off evil spirits" according to airport spokesmen. During the construction of the Mustang, a broken cable caused a piece of the horse to severe an artery and pin the artist to his studio floor where he bled to death.

Then there are the Gargoyles that watch over the Baggage Claim area - to ensure that baggage arrives safely.

Many people believe that the airport in Denver (DIA) is the home base for the New World Order  and it sits upon a giant tunnel network. Other conspiracy theorists believe that these tunnels are  part of a FEMA concentration camp or possibly a home base for an alien Reptilian race. Strange electromagnetic pulses have also been known to generate from the area.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Dark Shadows

Suzie over at Cat In The Pumpkin Moon recently posted a clip from the upcoming movie Dark Shadows.
The original show was an ongoing soap opera. I can remember rushing home from school every afternoon to watch it - never wanting to miss a second of it. And even though this movie isn't quite like the original show, I do believe Tim Burton and Johnny Depp will make it a MOST AWESOME viewing experience. 
{{sigh}} Why can't I have a demon in the family like Barnabas?    

Monday, March 26, 2012

Cat Tales ~ Siamese Cat Facts

Mes a Lynx Point Siamese Kitty.
The Lynx Point Siamese is also known as a Tabby Point Siamese because Wes have the same stripes as Tabby Kitties. In fact the Lynx Point Siamese came from the breeding of a Tabby Kitty and a Siamese Kitty. Personally, Me prefers to be called a Lynx Point Siamese 'cause it reminds Me of Mes wild cousin the Lynx, which has markings very similar to Me!
See Mes stripes?

All Lynx Point Siamese will have an "M" on their forehead.

  • Siamese Cats are easily trained and can readily learn to walk on a leash. (Ssshhhh! Don't tell Mommy that part!)
  • Siamese are also very vocal and the more their Human talks to them, the more they will talk back.
  • Siamese will often choose one Human as their own (Me chose Mommy!). But they are also great family pets because they will keep their claws sheathed when playing with kids! 
  • Siamese can be very jealous Kitties and will often do something naughty out of anger if they get jealous.
  • Siamese Kittens are often born white and will change color as they age. Even adult Siamese will continue to darken as they grow older.
  • Siamese have a heat-sensitive gene - a Siamese's coat will be a darker color in the cooler areas of their body (head and legs) and a lighter color in the warmer areas like the body.
A Brief History - Some people believe that the Siamese originated in ancient Egypt because many of the sculptures of the Goddess Bastet look very similar to a Siamese. 

This is ME!
This is Bastet. See the resemblance? 

But it is known that the Siamese lived in Siam (now known as Thailand) as far back as the 1600's - possibly even earlier than that! Siamese Cats were used in the palaces and temples as watch cats. The Kitty would yowl (and We Siamese do have a YOWL!) when a stranger came around. Only noblemen were allowed to own and raise Siamese Cats. When someone of importance died, a Cat from their household would be chosen to receive the dead person's soul. That Kitty would then be pampered for the rest of its Life.

Purz and Catnip Dreams ..... Gomez

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Friday, March 23, 2012

Step away from the Cauldron...

Hubby has a new saying...

"If you can't stir with the Big Girls, step away from the cauldron!"

image source

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Weird Wednesday ~ Evidence of Time Travel

Metal Spheres showing signs of machine tooling found in South Africa. The age of the rock in which these spheres were found has been dated to 2.8 Billion years old!  Read more here!

Shoe sole imprint in One Billion year old granite.     Read more here!

Human footprint found in rock - 248 Million to 290 Million years old!              Read more here!

Human tracks found next to Dinosaur tracks!

To read more about the possible evidence of Time Travel, click here!  And here!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Cat Tales ~ Jane, cont.

Me takes offense at some of the comments left about Me's previous post about our new Roomie - Cousin Jane.

Me's nice to Cousin Jane, even if she is a cranky old lady! Jane fusses at Me and she fusses at Goliath too. But Jane likes Sylvester. They run around the house and play together. But Me doesn't fuss back at Jane cause Me knows that she is an old Kitty and old Kitties can sometimes be FUSSY! (And Me may be mischievous but Me isn't mean!)

That's Jane sitting on the placemat on the table
Me shares Mes sun puddles with her 'cause Me knows that warm sun puddles make old Kitties feel good. And Jane is really cranky so Me figures that Jane needs all the sun she can get so she'll be happier.

Me has a special request for Me's Readers today. If you are out Blog-hopping, please stop by Rue's blog (click here!) - Rue lost a dear friend and could use a {{HUG}} 

Purz and Catnip Dreams ..... Gomez

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Friday, March 16, 2012


Art-O-Mat ~ a rehabilitated cigarette vending machine which dispenses Art

This is the brainchild of North Carolina Artist, Clark Whittington. In 1997, Whittington converted a cigarette vending machine into a unique method of selling and dispensing palm size art. 

Each machine has been carefully given a new lease on Life.

Most Artwork sells for $5 each and each piece of Art is wrapped in cellophane and may include anything from earrings to beaded key-chains to illustrations to collages.

Approx. 400 Artists from 10 countries participate. Currently there are 100 Art-O-Mat machines across the US.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Weird Wednesday ~Leprechauns

I'm going to start a new feature on my blog - Weird Wednesday. Every Wednesday, my post will be about something Weird! Something Odd! Something Unusual! Something Strange! 

Since St. Patrick's Day is fast approaching, I thought I'd do today's post about Leprechauns.
According to Wikipedia, Leprechauns are a mischievous, prank playing Irish Fairy. They are a solitary Fairy known for making shoes. And as legend has it, if a Human were to catch a Leprechaun then three wishes can be granted to the Human by the Leprechaun in exchange for the Leprechaun's release. Want to make your own  Leprechaun trap? Check out this site! 
Click Here!

And did you know that there is a  National Leprechaun Museum  in Dublin, Ireland? 

And better yet, there is a Leprechaun Webcam at an undisclosed location in Tipperary, Ireland. You can read about some of the sightings that have occurred on the Webcam website. Who knows? Maybe YOU will be the next person to see a Leprechaun! Watch the video below - approx. 8 seconds into the video, there will be a blur in the trees in the upper right hand corner.

The European Union has granted Leprechauns a protected zone on Cooley Mountain in County Louth in Ireland. It is supposedly the only part of the County where Leprechauns have been seen.

image source

And Leprechaun sightings are not confined to the Emerald Isle!  The  Boulder, Colorado police searched for a mischievous Leprechaun (Click Here to read about it!) and a Leprechaun has been sighted in Mobile, Alabama of all places! (Click Here to watch that story!)

Do you have any Leprechaun stories (or encounters) to share???

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spring is in the Air

Spring has been trying to make an appearance here for several weeks. The unseasonably warm temperatures are not only bringing people out of their Winter hibernation but the plants are emerging as well. 

The daffodils that I dug up before I left Arkansas are up and beginning to bloom. 

The rose bush's leaves can be seen. And even the plants in the house are showing signs of Spring. 

My Clivia is blooming and has sent up an offshoot.

My Staghorn Fern has a new baby.

I do believe I see a rake and shovel in my future...

Monday, March 12, 2012

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Dye Job

The Cotton Candy bouquets need to be blue. I thought about using food coloring but wasn't sure if the fiberfill would 'hold' the color so I decided to use fabric dye, aka RIT. My first attempt at coloring the fiberfill was with straight RIT. Unfortunately the color washed right out. So I decided to try 'cooking' the fiberfill in a solution of 1/2 water and 1/2 RIT.

I layed the fiberfill sheets in the dye solution, brought it to a boil and simmered the concoction for about 5 minutes. This worked out well. Not only did the color stay in the fiberfill but it also stayed in the handle of my wooden spoon as well as my hands.

But the finished product is a pretty blue. 

I then reassembled the Cotton Candy using heavier paper for the center of the Candy as well as for the cone which holds the Cotton Candy. I trimmed the upper edge of the fiberfill after I took this picture to give it a more rough look. Personally, I think I need to add another layer or two of fiberfill to make the candy part a bit 'fluffier' (I think the fiberfill compacted a bit during the cooking process) but I shall let the bride make the final decision. I'll keep you posted.....