Hawks

August 20, 2014 — Leave a comment

Hawk is a common name for some birds of prey of varying size and distributed wildly. It is used to refer to various small to medium sized falconiform birds particularly those in the genus Accipiter (true hawks) including goshawks and sparrowhawks. It is a diurnal predatory bird (active by day) with approximately 720 species worldwide.

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All hawks have certain basic similarities such as keen eyesight, hooked beaks and taloned feet; however, diversity of forms and sizes exist between them. For instance the Bald Eagle weighs 13 pounds while the American Kestrel only weighs 4 ounces. Female hawks are bigger than male hawks and in some species can weigh twice as much as the male.

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Hawks known for their keen eyesight have four types of colour receptors in the eye. These receptors give the birds the ability to perceive a wide visible range and to see the ultraviolet range of the spectrum. They have the best eyesight in the animal world and their visual acuity is eight times better than humans. The curved talons of the hawks are used for capturing prey and their strong beaks for tearing flesh.

Most hawks mate for life however is a partner dies the remaining hawk will find a new partner immediately. Some pairs remain together even after the breeding seasons while others separate. They are partial to their breeding site, returning to it and to their mate after migration. Migration can start in the autumn and/or in spring, some migrate south and some north, and there are short distance travelers and long distance travelers.

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Hawks prefer habitats that are open like deserts and fields making it easier to find a prey. Hawks can easily live anywhere without any problems  They are easily found in mountainous plains and tropical moist areas in Central America, the West Indies, and even Jamaica. Hawks consume a variety of smaller animals including snakes, lizards, fish, mice, squirrels, rabbits and any other type of small animal found on the ground. The Red-tailed Hawk is known to consume rodents while the Red-shouldered Hawk likes to eat smaller birds like doves and bugs like grasshoppers and crickets.

Large hawks lay only one or two eggs per year while the small ones lay three to five eggs. Incubation takes about three to six weeks and after hatching the young hawks grow fairly quickly. They would stay with their parents for several weeks before attaining total independence and leave the nest.

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Three Blue Birds

August 18, 2014 — Leave a comment

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Succulents

August 17, 2014 — Leave a comment

Succulents also known as fat plants are any type of plants that are thickened and fleshy in some parts usually the leaves and stems. These fleshy or succulent parts are used to store water in arid climates or soil conditions. They are grown as ornamental plants because of their striking appearance and they are always considered to be in style. They are surging in popularity because they are rather low maintenance and are cool to look at and collect. They grow well in containers and even if you neglect them chances are they’ll be fine.

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The color variation of succulents is almost endless: blue-green, pink, red, white, burgundy, yellow, almost black, and more. The leaves may be needle like, spiky, berrylike, ruffled or rounded. Many succulents come from dry areas of the topics and subtropics such as semi-desert, desert and steppes. The high temperature force these plants to collect and store water to survive long dry periods.

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Here are common types of succulents that are easy to care and find:

Aeonium – it has rosette leaves on a basal stem and resemble big, fleshy-petaled daisies. It occurs in colors green, yellow and garnet. They are not frost-resistant and only require little water.

Burro’s Tail – is a succulent perennial producing long, with fleshy blue-green leaves and terminal pink to red flowers in summer native to Mexico and Honduras.  It prefers medium to high light for best performance.

Agave – it is a rosette-shaped succulent are native to the Americas. There are a dozen species of agave, most of them small and beautiful. The juice from many species of agave is known to cause acute contact dermatitis.

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Christmas Cactus – also known as Thanksgiving Cactus, Crab Cactus and Holiday Cactus. Its flowers occur in white, pink, yellow, orange, red or purple. Prefers medium to high light and fertilize three times in the summer to promote blooms.

Crown of Thorns – it is a succulent climbing shrub imported from Madagascar. It has long, spoon-shape leaves appear at the ends of spiky branches, along with clusters of tiny flowers.

Echeveria – popular ornamental garden plants, they are drought-resistant however they do well with regular deep watering and fertilizing. They are also ideal for planting in containers.

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Jade Plant – also known as friendship tree, lucky plant or money plant is a succulent plant with small white or pink flowers native to South Africa. It has thick branches and thick, shiny, smooth, leaves in rich jade green shade that grow in opposing pairs along the branches. It is an old-fashioned favorite simply because it is very easy to grow and very vibrant.

Aloe – known for its healing sap which has been used to treat wounds and sunburns for centuries. Any species of Aloe appear to be stemless, with the rosette growing directly at ground level.

Panda Plant – also known as pussy ears and chocolate solider. It is a popular houseplant on account of its small size, dark-red foliage and ease of care.

Pincushion Cactus – also known as foxtail cactus. They are the most common cacti grown in the home. They can remain small and may take the form of clumps, they are often flowering indoors.

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Gold that SPARKLES!

August 15, 2014 — Leave a comment

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Nacogdoches also known as Grandma’s Yellow is a real eye catcher!  The bright yellow roses appear throughout the growing season on an upright shrub and are excellent for cutting.  This rose is a modern Floribunda, but unlike its modern rose cousins, it has proven to be disease resistant.

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Nacogdoches Yellow Rose was discovered by that great Texas plantsman, Greg Grant. In Greg’s words Nacogdoches Yellow is the “Yellow Rose for Texas” and he’s right this is probably the best yellow shrub rose currently available. These large, double, bright yellow, lightly fragrant hybrid tea roses are born from spring to fall on this Texas tough and disease resistant old rose. Nacogdoches Rose is a spectacular landscape addition, due to the blooming period starting in late winter and continuing till the next freeze. Wild temperature fluctuations will cause it to stop blooming, but only for a short time.

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According to Texas Cooperative Extension, “Nacogdoches” was found in Nacogdoches, Texas growing under an abandoned motel overhang. Six plants were grown in the garden of Tillie Jungman, near Castroville, Texas. Two of the plants were clearly superior to the other four, being more vigorous and disease-resistant. The roses was tested for disease resistance and suitability for growing in Texas and subsequently renamed “Grandma’s Yellow” in honor of Miss Tillie, who died in 2005.

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Content Source: Antique Rose Emporium, Mortellaro’s Nursery, Almost Eden and Help Me Find.

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Blue Calico

August 13, 2014 — Leave a comment

The Calico pattern is a very popular and highly collected china pattern; it is a single color allover floral chintz pattern that is elegant and quaint at the same time making it a classic. The pattern was produced from the 1950s until the 1970s by several English potteries like Burgess Dorling & Leigh. The pattern was so popular that it was produced not only as traditional place setting and serving pieces but also as novelty and giftware items. The height of its popularity was in the 1950s and it started the creation of various Japanese go-along ceramic novelty items. Apart from traditional setting pieces several other items including canisters, trays and lunchboxes were also produced.

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The Calico pattern is commonly recognized in cobalt blue but it is also available in rich chocolate brown. Several pieces were also produced in avocado green but they are rare and they seem to appear only in novelty and giftware pieces and not in standard traditional pieces. It is not commonly collected by collectors though.

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What is commonly collected is the blue calico pattern and due to its popularity the pattern has been reissued under the trademark “Queen’s”. The new reissued pieces were more lightweight and the china blanks used are distinctly different from the 1950s pieces which are heavier and have a dense clay body.

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The newly reissued patterns are available for sale in shops and  online while the original ones from the early 1950s are harder to come by.

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Dahlias

August 12, 2014 — Leave a comment

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DAHLIA 'GRAMMA'S LEMON PIE'

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Tea Pots

August 11, 2014 — Leave a comment

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