Monday, June 26, 2017

Meat-Eater Monday

No. I'm not discussing steaks -- or cannibalism for that matter.

This blog may have seemed normal, and it will continue to be -- except on Mondays, at least for this summer. Mondays will be devoted to the discussion of carnivorous plants -- meat eaters (or more precisely, insect eaters.)

I really don't remember why I became fascinated with carnivorous plants. Or what made me want one.

All I know is once I got a Venus flytrap and a purple pitcher plant my fate was sealed. I was captured as surely as the flies in my plants.

However, it took me about a year to learn how to grow these strange plants properly.  I started off without having a clue as to how to grow my meat eating plants, but thanks to the Savage Garden by Peter D'Amato and Sarracenia Northwest, I've successfully been growing carnivorous plants for nearly a decade and now have 40+ in my backyard. 

For today's post, I'm going to give an introduction to the world of carnivorous plants.

Carnivorous plants are simply plants with very specialized, modified leaves which attract, trap, and digest bugs.  There are thousands of species, but I will only be discussing the 3 "cold hardy" (able to survive winters) species which I have experience with.

1.) The North American Pitcher Plant

This is my favorite type of carnivorous plant. Their leaves trap bugs by luring them to the lip of a tube and the foolish bugs, greedy for nectar tumble in. They are unable to get out because of the slick sides of the pitcher. These pitcher plants come in many colors and sizes. They range from 6 inches to 4ft tall and can be any color green to pink. Although there are only 8 species, they can be crossed again and again to produce stunning hybrids exemplifying the best characteristics of all parents.

2.) The Venus Fly Trap

The Venus flytraps are the most famous of carnivorous plants and the most interesting to watch. It traps its prey by 3 trigger hairs on each side of its leaf. When an insect brushes up against them several times, the trap snaps shut in a split second!

3.) Sundews

If you were looking for a plant that murders insects, it would NOT be this one. It's leaves with tiny tentacles tipped with a glistening droplet glue, which is easily mistaken for dew. These innocent little plants look life nothing more than blades of grass covered in dew and glittering in the sunlight. However, if you look closely, the black exoskeletons of its gnat victims mark out a graveyard on its leaves.

I hope you've enjoyed this little intro. All pictures are of my own plants.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Clearing Away the Dust

Can you hear the crickets chirping?

Crickets and dust bunnies have filled this blog for far too long.

Today, I'm sweeping them out!

My apologies for my long absence from blogging. The end of the semester is never easy, and summer is never quite as calm as one would like. As it is, I intend to keep up at least some sporadic blogging.
I have plenty of interesting things this summer to talk about, and there are yet untold stories from Ireland and Wales sitting in my cupboard.

After not blogging for so long, it is difficult to know where to start. But basically, my first year of college was more than I ever could have hoped for. Fulfilling once again the verses the Lord pressed upon my heart these past few years. "Now to Him who is able to so immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work in us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations for ever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21

When I think of all that I've seen and done and all the amazing people I've met, I'm overwhelmed.

Perhaps, some of the most exciting news -- and that which is easiest to share -- is the fact that I'm now published.

No. Not a book more even and article or short story, but I currently have two book reviews published online through the Evangelical Church Library Association.

My amazing professor provided me with books to read. I then wrote a review of each book which was submitted to the publisher and eventually posted on ECLA's website.

My first review was a biblical fiction novel by Tessa Afshar called Land of Silence. Set in Jesus's time, it tells the story of the woman who suffered from bleeding for 12 years and was healed when she touched the hem of Jesus' garment. It is well worth a read. You can view my entire review here:
 (Book Review) Land of Silence

My second review was a completely different type of book, but it was just as wonderful. When I opened Crossing the Waters by Leslie Leyland Fields, I no idea what to expect. I'd never read a memoir before. But it also proved to be a thought-provoking combination of the days Jesus walked the earth and the modern commercial fishing industry in Alaska. My review was published on Saturday: (Book Review): Crossing the Waters

So there you have it. A tiny glimpse at what I've been up to the past few months. I thank you for your interest. If you're only reading for gorgeous pictures and stories of Ireland -- no worries those will continue to make appearances -- since they are not only forever tied into my life, but also the heartbeat of this blog.