Category Archives: Spring Flowers

Japanese Beetles

We are being attacked.  When the weather gets hot, Japanese Beetles come out and eat roses, hollyhocks, buckthorn, linden trees, and grape leaves.  The poor roses hardly have a chance.  The new flowers are ragged by noon.  All that is left on some of the grape leaves are the veins.  The hollyhocks lose their flowers as well.   

Japanese Beetle

Japanese Beetle

It’s war!  They are relatively new arrivals here in our neighborhood.  They showed up last year and this year they are all over our plants.  The evil little beetles come out and eat during the hot weather, lay their eggs in the lawn, the grubs hatch and eat the grass roots.  Next spring, the grubs become beetles, and the horrible thing starts all over again.   

When they hit the peach and vineyard area around Palisade, the chemicals came out and the infestation was stopped.  They don’t talk about the harm done to beneficial insects.  We try to be organic, so the poisons are out.   

The first tactic we adopted is to go out with a small pitcher with some dish soap laden water, find the bugs, and flick the bugs into the water with a table knife.  It goes on all day.  The grape arbor is high, and I am banned from going up more than two steps on the ladder, so some escape.  I am not big on killing living beings, but here is an exception.

They are fairly round with an iridescent shell.  Ugly little beasts.  At the end of the day we have dozens floating in the water.  With a lot of research, mostly on University Extension Service websites, we discovered neem oil with a tiny amount of azadirachtin kills and repels the little beasts. 

As the grubs get active in the turf, we are going to introduce some nematodes that attack the grubs.  With luck, we won’t have those dead spots in the lawn.  The nematodes stay around, so one time for them.  

On my bug hunt one morning, I didn’t find one beetle.  The fortified neem oil is working.  After a couple of days they are back and it’s back to work. The neighbors won’t be killing the grubs, so we will have an annual battle.   

If you have Japanese Beetles, neem oil with azadirachtin works.  Straight neem oil works on lots of harmful insects, but not without some azadirachtin for our little buddies.  If you need neem oil and don’t have Japanese Beetles, we have a couple of bottles we will give you.  Good hunting!

Weather

Climate Change

Climate Change

2013 Flood

There is currently a lot of controversy about climate change and whether humankind has a role in the warming trend.  While I think it is true that pouring huge amounts of sequestered carbon is the culprit, I don’t think it matters much for us here in Colorado and much of the west. 

We live in a land of extremes except for the rainy Pacific Northwest, but, they have their earthquakes and volcanos.  Here in Colorado, we dwell in a land of extremes.  The west is dry, it snows in the mountains, the Front Range is kind of a mix, and it is pretty dry in the east.  That varies from year to year.  It varies a lot.   

In the late nineteenth century it was a wet cycle in the eastern prairie, and the railroads made millions enticing settlers to buy their land and get rich farming.  The population in eastern Colorado peaked then and has been declining ever since.  The mountain ski areas have lots of snow some years and almost no snow other years.  The western desert country looks dry and desolate most of the time, but I have seen it bloom in a stunning variety of color.   

Then there are the floods, blizzards, and tornados, often followed by drought.  The one thing we can count on is change.  There are long term trends.  Most archeologists think one reason the ancestral Pueblo Indians left southwestern Colorado was a prolonged drought cycle.  Anyone who tries to raise dry land beans in that country can tell you not much has changed. 

2013 Flood

2013 Flood

Here along the base of the mountains we have the extremes as well. There was the drought of 2002, and the floods of 2013.  The mountains create an unusual weather pattern that stalls along the mountain front, bringing more moisture than the land can handle.  That is when lots of the mountains wash out into the flat country.  It has been going on for more than sixty million years.  The gravel in the Platte River in Nebraska is Rocky Mountain gravel.  Some of the Louisiana mud is Long’s peak mud.   

Some climate models say climate change is going to dry Colorado out, other models say it will be wetter.  My money is on more extreme weather.  Longer, more violent wet periods and long droughts.  Look for more frequent floods, not the thirty or forty year cycle we have had since the first European-American settlers and miners arrived.  Think about the tornados and hailstorms recently.   

I like the extremes.  We have our regular four seasons here but the winters are milder than in Iowa.  It can get hot but there are few days over one hundred degrees, but not like southeastern Utah.  I think that may change, hotter in the summer.  I don’t think the winters will be colder.  I can remember forty below in Boulder when I was flunking out of CU.  Twenty below seems to be more the cold winter norm now.  What I do not like is the hailstorms.  I don’t think the insurance companies like them much either.  Homeowners insurance costs keep rising.  That hail is hard on the garden as well. We had only one tomato plant survive last year. 

One of the big impacts of climate change will be on water supplies.  The amount of precipitation may not change, but if it is warmer, the snowpacks will not last as long in the spring.  That means more spring floods and a shorter runoff period, which will impact water storage.  That could be bad news for the populated Front Range.  People keep coming, but there will not be more water, and a lot of the big spring runoff will go out of the state.  That will be good for the Sandhill Cranes in Nebraska, but bad for Parker and Highlands ranch. 

I spent a long time in the water business, and it always disturbed me watching all that high quality drinking water being used to attempt to replicate Surrey or Connecticut foliage in the Great American Desert.   All that bluegrass will have to go. The urban forest will have more drought-hardy trees.  Denver Water’s customers have done a good job of conserving since the big drought of 2002, but the bluegrass model of landscaping continues.  In Denver, daily water consumption is about 110 million gallons per day in winter.  I the hot part of summer, it’s over 400 million gallons per day, most of it run out onto the ground. 

At our house, we have significantly reduced the size of our lawn, but we still have a lot of crabgrass.  It should be buffalo grass and blue grama, both native drought-resistant grasses.  They don’t stay green all summer, so we are stalling and paying the water bill.  Marijuana legalization is bringing lots of people to Colorado, and the economy is booming.  Those people use water, and lots of water is used growing the stuff.  One of the unintended consequences of legalizing pot is increased water consumption. 

Myself, I am not too concerned about climate change for myself.  After all I am 73 years old and don’t live on the coast.  Long term change is a reality, but as John Maynard Keynes said, “In the long range we are all dead”.

 

Spring and the Spirit

Spring!

Spring!

Spring is the time of renewal.  Life returns to the land, the daffodils and the tulips emerge.  The people celebrate.  In the Middle East long ago, as it is now, Passover was one of the celebrations.  That holiday brought a teacher to Jerusalem, and the Western world changed.  The teacher was a threat to the local leaders, who were anxious to not stir the Roman occupiers up.  The Romans wanted stability to release the Legions to continue conquest, and stability for the tax collectors.

They crucified the teacher.  That did not end the movement Jesus started.  The believers grew in numbers, and began to realize that the crucified one was more than a teacher.  His ministry continued, and we celebrate Easter.  At Pentecost, the cycle became complete.

Torah

Torah

Many centuries before, the Hebrews encountered the One God.  This changed their world view, as they were surrounded by people who had gods for every occasion.  The One God gave the Hebrews the Law.  They had Torah, the written record of God choosing his people and instructing them on how to comport themselves.

The intervening centuries brought much conflict and turmoil, as human affairs do.  The people mostly persevered with their God.  There are written records of that journey with God, and they still instruct us.  They fell away, they returned, they went into captivity, and they returned. Their prophets had the spirit, and many others probably did also, we just do not have the record.

Then, the most miraculous thing happened.  God became man and walked among his people, calling everyone to be His people.  He was killed for it, but his message rose with Him and became stronger.  Then, at Pentecost, came the Holy Spirit.  God no longer walked among us or sent His prophets, but we received a great gift.  The Holy Spirit can dwell within us.

Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit

I am not one to live by faith alone.  I have to have evidence.  Science works for me, because it is evidence based.  My faith works because the Holy Spirit came, and it was the most profound experience of my life.  Now, the spirit blows where it will, and it does not often blow toward me.  That is all right, because I always have the spirit when I need it.  The spirit comes when I need it, not when I want it.  At first I had trouble with that, because I wanted to be plugged in all the time.

There is a problem with being in the Spirit all the time.  There is no time for anything else, and the need to keep the body going intrudes.  I thought about being a monk, but I find that I belong in the world.  So, I have my spiritual times, and long periods when all I do is pray every day.  I feel myself being moved into a spiritual time.  I don’t know where it will lead me, but I am ready.

Remember those words, “Seek, and you will find.”

Carol’s Haiku

 

  1. Briefest Season

Time of green lace leaves:images

Magenta bloom fills the boughs

The season reborn.

 

4/1/15

 

 

  1. Passing by Forsythiaixmages

Wooden fence.  Old. Grey.

Brilliant spires of yellow

Peek out from behind.                                                                4/1/15

 

 

 

  1. Morning Ride

Bridal white wreathes trees.imaxges

Lowering skies promise rain.

Errands.  Beauty’s day.

4/2/15

 

 

  1. We Need the Moisture

Fierce snow flakes hide moon:

A return to winter’s chill.

Leaf uncurls below.          imazges                                             4/3/15

 

 

  1. Morning Dawns

Slashes of crimson:

Tulips, snowy footed, sway.

Green and white the grass.