Winter Security

Cross country skiing in Perrysburg this winter has been on thin snow, but there have been four good days so far. The key to a good trail is enough snow and preferably have it frozen into good grooves.


We had thin powdery snow which barely covered the grass and gave NO directional Security (unlike this photo from a few years ago). Down on the bayou the bare ice there also provided no security and led me into another crash, this time with a tree stump, resulting in another bump.


The interesting thing is the damage was surprisingly detected a week later by the millimeter full body scanner


at Detroit airport where I was taken aside for a pat-down, right on my sore spot.   In this country of very expensive medical treatment here is an interesting almost-free one available to all. Don P. is investigating for me how deep it can measure.

 I was flying to Montreal where the students happened to be protesting their first fee hike in 40 years, not appreciating that 40 years inflation had reduced their fees to ridiculously low amounts.

The pepper spray (from the Globe and Mail paper next day) looked serious. I only saw scary Security police and heard much shouting.


Back home the strange weather has given my snowdrops a snowy Security blanket


 which shielded them from the coldest temperatures.  They happily opened up fully the next time the sun shone. (they’ve been in flower for 4 weeks now).


Unlike our poor rhubarb which got badly bruised by the frost when it came up too soon in the unusual warmth of this year’s January. 

Meanwhile Mr. Pinot never tires of performing with no Security net (and he has no front claws!), walking the rail of near-terror, in return for just a little well earned reckognition and admiration.

Aphids, Fruit Flies, Bees & Meteorites – Errata, Omissions & Addenda

1.  I used insecticidal soap which wiped out the tiny black aphids (in my “Jungle In Here” blog) but unfortunately it also eliminated all the orchid blossoms.

2.  For the yellow aphids on the Oleander

 I’m now brushing them off with a fine brush and I have 2 good looking buds.

3.  I’d wrongly blamed my little red wiggler worms for creating the large wine-tasting fruit fly population. I seems that open wine bottles, even with surfactant detergent to discourage water walking, starts an orgy. I’ve no idea where they do it but next day there are hundreds more fruit flies, and all are thirsty.  Simply terminating the test eliminated them all, except for one or two teetotallers on a vase of cut flowers.

4.  One amazingly warm (7 C (45 F)) day last month (Jan.) allowed me to quickly opon the hive to check that the bees still had food:

Now I see I’ve left them too much and could have harvested more but they are all happy, even hatching a few eggs,

and I hope they were glad to see me evict one clump of about 20 small hive beetles.

Now (Feb 11) it’s below freezing, as normal for this time of year, and yesterday they licked, fanned or shoveled the snow out of their doorway all by their sweet little selves.

Meanwhile, last week in down-town Phoenix, I carefully examined street flowers and had only found one single insect, until I discovered white flowering Pear trees with many happy, pollen laden honey bees.

5.  Trying to walk to the Phoenix Botanical Gardens I saw a map location which said “U of Arizona Meteorite Collection”. There I learnt that the body of a meteorite coming in from deep space is very cold despite having a momentarily hot skin for the short time while it hits our atmosphere.  To prove it, the U of A collection has one with unsinged grass stuck to it. So that nullifies the hot rock experiment in my recent “Winter Works” blog, but it does improve the chance of finding one on cold clean frozen lakes because it won’t be hot enough to melt its way through the ice.

And as to their value: the last one above is a ‘Carbonaceous Chondrite’.  Bruce Draine’s “Physics of the Interstellar ..Medium”, p. 267, says that about 1/10 of 1% of the weight of that type is composed of Nanodiamonds! Unfortunately a nanodiamond is only about 2 nanometers across (about 1/200 the wavelength of blue light) so don’t expect to see any sparkle.

Scott F. has a good idea for finding meteorites: watch for a-typical stones when snorkling over flat sandy sheltered bays. They might lie there for a long time before getting covered.

Meanwhile I continue to check flat roof tops of taller buildings. These days they are often covered with light grey sheet plastic roofing material rather than the asphalt of old. Apart from bird droppings there is very little granular material up there.

Please let me know if you find one?