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05 February 2008 @ 08:30 am
Adventures In Ornithology, etc.  
This morning, while we were eating breakfast, we noticed a lot of very loud bird calls obviously nearby. ithiriel asked if we were hearing geese or crows and asked me to take a look outside. After listening for a while, I said I was sure we were hearing crows and offhandedly remarked that crows have been know to mob hawks.  When I opened the front door, stepped outside and looked up, I immediately saw a large redtailed hawk perched high up in a tall maple tree right next to my house with 8 to 10 crows perched on various branches well above him. I called ithiriel out and we watched the scene for a few minutes before the hawk became annoyed at all the racket and took off, swooping low over the roof of my house and over my head before disappearing with several crows in pursuit. All things considered, quite an exciting start to the day.

This last week has been eventful and a lot of fun. Last week , ithiriel and I  attended a prospective new members meeting at my church. She is United Methodist and I am ELCA  Lutheran. She has been attending services there with me lately and had already joined the choir, but was unsure about joining the church itself.  Although there are some differences in philosophy between our denominations, they do not appear to be major.  I was a little surprised but quite pleased after she got home from choir practice last thursday when she informed me that she had filled out and handed in the application to join. I have not been very active in my church in the 10 years since my Mom died of cancer. Now that I have someone to share and enjoy the experience with, it's looking like I will be getting back to attending church more often.

On Friday of  last week, ithiriel and I attended a concert by the rock group Kansas here in Milwaukee at the Pabst theater. We had excellent seats in the 1st balcony, center, 3rd row. She won the tickets by answering trivia questions on the website for a local radio station. On Saturday, we drove out to Orchid Quest 2008, an orchid show and sale at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison. It was as beautiful as always. I managed to limit myself to only buying 5 plants. We managed to get a little work done around the house before watching the Super Bowl on Sunday with friend. Last night I had my usual Monday night music practice with wilddandelion and things went reasonably well. At least I didn't fall asleep in my chair until most of the session was over! Tonight I have Anime night with friends where we will start catching up on what's going on with Naruto Shippuden. One of the bad guys Naruto's team is fighting is about to get what's coming to him. It should be interesting.

Have to put salt on the front sidewalk, hang up laundry and get out  the door to work withing the next 20 minutes. That's all for now.
 
 
 
Exapno Mapcase: a - meexapno on February 5th, 2008 04:07 pm (UTC)
Wow! Must be the day for hawks - I had a redtail swoop right past my hood and land on a nearby telephone pole while driving to work this morning.
*sigh* I do adore them :)
filkartfilkart on February 6th, 2008 11:09 pm (UTC)
Oh, That's Who You Are!!!
I noticed that you friended me but I couldn't figure out who you were from your user name. I expected it to be Z A P something. Now that I see the picture attached to your comment, I have it figured out. If I didn't friend you back yet, I apologize. I'll have to check to see if I did that or not. Am still trying to find my way around this silly place.
trektone: orchidOtrektone on February 5th, 2008 05:15 pm (UTC)
Kansas - how fun! Was it good? Was it loud? :)

Since you mentioned orchids ... what is the best transplant medium for the type in my userpic? My dad had planted some in small pots and it seems like there are some dead bulb-like things and the live ones are pushed to one side. Are they cymbidium? Thanks in advance for any suggestions/help.
filkartfilkart on February 6th, 2008 01:59 pm (UTC)
Orchid Identification
Hi Joey

Thanks for the comment. Yes, Kansas was LOUD!!! but enjoyable. They had a 32 piece symphony orchestra with them as well. There were times when the guitars drowned out the whole orchestra. We both got souvenier concert tour T-Shirts!!

It's hard to tell from such a small picture, but it does look like a Cymbidium. The flower shape and color seem to be about right. They tend to be large plants with yard long, thin leaves emanating from a central bulb-like structure at ground level. I would recommend taking the plant to someone who is knowledgeable to get a precise identification. Nothing will kill an orchid faster than giving it the wrong growing conditions and there is a lot of variation between species. Cymbidiums tend to need very cool night temperatures (about 50 degrees F) to set buds. There are thousands of species of Orchids and new hybrids being developed all the time so it's very hard to give advice. There may be some new varieties of Cymbidium that can handle higher temperatures. There are two main growing habits for orchids, terrestrial and epiphitic. Terrestrials have no psudobulbs to store mosture and nutrients and so need a slightly denser planting mix. Epiphytes have specialized roots that can absorb water from humid air and so need a very airy mix (usually made of chunks of tree bark, cedar I think) that drains well to help prevent root rot. I'm not sure which class Cymbidiums belong to, but I suspect they are terrestrial. Most greenhouses or garden centers will have "orchid bark" soil mix. Terrestrials also like bark, but with some other things thrown in to help hold water a little better. At Orchid Quest, there are vendors who package up special potting mixes for both terrestrials and epiphitics. I would recommend doing some on-line research on Cymbidiums and ask questions at your local garden center. The three most important things in taking care of orchids are 1) they like as much light as you can give them but NOT direct sun. Too much IR and UV will burn the leaves. Flurescent lighting is perfect for them. 2) They are VERY prone to root rot so DO NOT over water. Once a week is fine. Make sure the potting mx is light and drains well. 3) They are heavy feeders. You will need to research your particular type to find out what the best times to feed are. At the very least, you should repot your orchids once a year, because they will quickly absorb all the available nutirents from the potting mix. When you do that, water them first to make sure the roots are soft and pliable and will be less likely to break when you take the plant out of the pot. Hope that helps. Good luck!!!

Art
filkartfilkart on February 6th, 2008 11:11 pm (UTC)
PS
Forgot to mention that orchids don't much like chlorinated water. I fill up a large bucket with tap water and let it sit overnight to allow the Chlorine to difuse out before using it to water plants.
trektone: orchidtrektone on February 9th, 2008 07:23 pm (UTC)
Re: PS
Thanks for the info! Wow, lots to consider, but I suppose the other alternative is to nothing. Hmmmmmm.
wyld_dandelyonwyld_dandelyon on February 5th, 2008 06:59 pm (UTC)
Oh, dear, do ALL my names lead to misspelling?
...Wonder who this other dandelion is?
filkartfilkart on February 6th, 2008 11:05 pm (UTC)
Re: Oh, dear, do ALL my names lead to misspelling?
Oops!!! I guessed at the spelling and when it came up as a valid LJ user name, I thought I had the right one!!! Sorry, wrong dandelion!!!