Saturday, August 15, 2009

Cash for Clunker

Big Blue Van, you served us well.  Yes, you achieved 12 MPG on a good day, and yes, I worried that a tire might explode at any moment, and yes, you scared little children as you drove by the bus stop, but you performed admirably in your tasks.  You helped restore our house, hauled a piano, served as a dump truck, pulled down a barn and miraculously increased in value.  Thank you BBV and goodbye...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Spanish Moss

Tillandsia usneoides

Description: Spanish Moss is neither moss, nor lichen. It is a bromeliad with ariel roots and small inconspicuous flowers that propagates through fragmentation, seed dispersal and by birds using it as nesting material. One strand can grow up to 7 meters in length. It is not parasitic, but can obscure sunlight to host trees and can increase wind resistance during hurricanes. It grows primarily on live oak, bald cypress, crape myrtle and sweetgum because these trees leach nutrients which aides the moss' survival. It is home to several creatures including: bats, rat snakes and a species of spider found only on the moss. It is often associated with Southern Gothic imagery, as are several unpleasant aspects of Southern US history...the moss is a lovely silvery green and appears mysterious in the morning fog!

Range: Spanish Moss can be found from the Southeastern US to Argentina. In our yard, it is primarly found in the live oaks on the southern side of our property. It grows abundantly during the humid summer, but thins out during the dry winter and spring.

Human Uses: It was once used as mattress stuffing and is still used as mulch in floral arrangements. It is also used as a textile by some folk artists. It is dried, spun and used in knitting (this art form is almost lost.)

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