Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Inside and Out

 Mr. and Mrs. Wood Duck
I actually managed to sneak up on this lovely couple today, they are normally quite skittish.

Foam mat today
I've been thinking about Carol's comment on the creek foam so did a bit of research.  I knew it was naturally occurring but wanted to know more.  Foam is caused by the presence of dissolved organic carbon (DOC). Basically DOC comes from plants and other stuff breaking down and decomposing in the water or washed into the stream from the land.  The DOC then changes the surface tension of the water allowing air to get incorporated into the surface.  That air at the surface makes foam which piles up against stream banks and logs.  A similar thing is happening at the ocean edge when you see foam in the surf.

Things that change surface tension are called surfactants.  Soaps and other pollutants can cause this to happen, but in that case the foam is everywhere and often has a scent like the soap that caused it. Fortunately our foam seems to be all natural.  And that is our science lesson for today!

Secret Agent Veggies-Under Cover
In other news.  The weather is capricious with below freezing temps forecast for the next few nights.  Many of the veggie seeds I planted began to sprout when it was warm over the weekend. I've now got everything tucked in and hoping it won't just die when the temp drops into the mid-20's tomorrow night. 

Inside, I had too many seed flats and not enough space or light so I developed the latest in seed starting technology.  Yes folks, those are seed flats and grow lights in the bathtub.  Sadly I don't take near enough bathes in our big beautiful tub so I got the notion that it would be a perfect spot to put more seed flats and suspend lights from boards across the top.  Tah Dah!  It's perfect.  It did require another $45 investment in the grow lights and bulbs, but should be worthwhile if I generate 200 herb, flower and veg plants in the deal.  The cost of a transplant these days can be as much as $3 or $4 each.  You can do the math.  And the original lights I bought for my older set-up have been in use for about 10 years now, same original bulbs.  I know these will help start many healthy transplants for years to come.  And if I really want a bath, I can move the plants out pretty easily.  They should be able to go outside in about 3 weeks.  In case you are wondering, we have a separate shower, so won't be going unwashed for an extended period.

Here's hoping the cold temps don't cause too much damage and that warm spring weather will come very soon.

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