Showing posts with label Nature. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nature. Show all posts

May 27, 2013

Indoor Plants for Positive Energy & Clean Air

House Plants For Clean Air & Positive Energy

Awhile back I posted about my Tillandsia Air Plants, and since I recently got another one, in addition to several other plants, I decided to write about indoor plants and share with you some photos of my little collection of indoor plants, which I do hope to grow as there are several more plants I want to have, and since I'm nearly out of sunny space in my home, I need to acquire plants better suited for shade although I am supplementing available natural light with artificial light.

Plants inside the home provide not only color, & decor, but promote the flow of positive energy as well as having the benefit of providing clean air.    All plants provide oxygen, however, some remove toxins from the air, and some even clean the air, removing carbon dioxide, dust particles, etc and then releasing fresh, clean oxygen.    Plants are also an excellent form of the elements wood, water & earth in Feng Shui.

This is my latest Tillandsia Air Plant acquisition, however, at this time I have not been able to positively identify it, but think it is most likely to be Capitata Red.

Red Tillandsia Air Plant

Since I mentioned Feng Shui in this post, perhaps I should add that my living room is Japanese in style and decor, with some Chinese in there as well.  The overall design and theme of my living room is that of Washitzu, a traditional Japanese room.   Thinking of Feng Shui, or the Japanese version, Fusui, It's only natural that I would have some Lucky Bamboo in my home, which isn't even Bamboo at all, but one of several variations of Dracaena plants.

The Lucky Bamboo isn't the only "Feng Shui" plant in my house, as I also have a Pachira Aquatica, better known as the "Money Tree", which is said to bring good fortune and wealth when placed in the wealth baqua of the home.

  My interest in this particular tree however, was the thought of it as a candidate for Bonsai since I am interested in Bonsai, however, Bonsai trees are very expensive, so I thought about experimenting and attempting to grow and train trees on my own for creating Bonsai, however, have changed my mind as I have no interest in screwing it up and losing a lovely tree, so, my Money Tree is one of several trees I own, which was purely by accident because some plants I bought not knowing that they grow into full size trees.

Hopefully some day I can afford to buy myself some really nice Bonsai trees.  I'm hoping for a Bonsai Cherry Blossom.

Since I'm already started on trees, I also have a Dracaena Marginata Magenta, aka Madagascar Dragon Tree, as well as an Areca Palm, a Dwarf Schefflera, better known as the "Mini Umbrella Tree" even though it can reach 5 to 6 feet indoors if allowed to, but is still smaller than the standard "Umbrella Tree", and I also have a Coffee Arabica Plant, which at the time of purchase, had no idea that it could become a 6 to 10 foot tree.   Here's the photos of my trees, although they're still tiny trees.

Dracaena Marginata Magenta Areca Palm
Dwarf Schleffera, aka Mini Umbrella Tree Coffee Aribica

I also have Succulents.   My initial interest in these was for miniature gardens, or what some call "Fairy Gardens", but frankly, I just don't have the money to spend on accessories, etc to build a tiny little village with houses, fences and decorations, etc on top of whatever the plants themselves cost, so I skipped doing the mini gardens and decided to not seek out the diminutive succulents for this purpose.

At the greenhouse where I purchased all my trees, I came across a Rhipsalis Heteroclada, and I love this plant, which is not only a Succulent, but also in the Cacti family as well..  All Cactus are Succulents, but not all Succulents are Cactus...  As soon as I got home with m strange and weird plant, the Rhipsalis, I went to Google and began researching it, and learned that this plant can become MASSIVE, and that I can create numerous additional plants via propagation of cuttings, so, I am very happy about that, because many people collect these as well as other Succulents, so, having such a large plant enables me to trade cuttings for different varieties, and besides, I really LOVE this plant, and it was the first Succulent for me.

Rhipsalis Heteroclada
Anyone interested in trading cuttings?  I'd love to have fire sticks, properly known as Euphorbia Tirucalli, and it's high on my list of plants to get, so, if you have one and would like to trade for some of my Rhipsallis cuttings, let me know. :)  Of course I'd trade for other Rhipsalis, other succulents, etc, etc.
One species of Succulent plant I really wanted was a Haworthia Attenuata, which looks like a prehistoric and diminutive, zebra striped and spiky Aloe, and yes, Aloe is a Succulent.    I also wanted very badly what is called Lithops, better known as "Living Stones" because they look like rocks until they bloom and a flower grows from the center, however, my seven year old daughter calls them the "Butt Plant" because she says they look like "little butts"...meaning asses, not cigarette butts, not that I needed to tell you that, but you never know.. I've had more than a fair share of illiterate readers here before, so.....

So.. one day I was in CVS and discovered that they were selling little Succulent plants, however, the selection was poor, and they were in terrible condition, mostly dead,  but I did however buy one since they were only $2. however, have no idea what it is, and am not too interested in this one... BUT, when I crossed the street and went into Walgreens, I found that they too were selling them, but as mini greenhouses featuring a six pack of little succulents in a little clear plastic greenhouse shaped container, and lo and behold, there in one of the packages was a Haworthia Attenuata that I desired, and in another package, a pair of Lithops...  So, I opened up both packages, and made sure the package I bought had both of these. :)

In addition to the Haworthia, and the Lithops, the only other of these Succulents I'm able to identify is the one I believe to be a Crassula Ovata variety, but at this time am not certain which variation.  There was one of the Echeveria variations, but I squashed it by accident and it's not in this photo.  I'm hoping that the dropped leaves I saved will root and that I can generate more Succulents via propagation.

I don't know what kind of Lithops I have, but there's hundreds of varieties out there, and I can't wait to find more, although trying to shop for Lithops online is a pain in the ass due to all the shady seed sellers who make it difficult to find actual plants because of all the goddamn seeds spam listed on ePig.

I did want to write about several plants I want to have, most of them unusual, weird and odd, but suppose that can wait for another day.

Oh, and since I mentioned my living room being Japanese, & Chinese, perhaps some day I will post some photos of my Washitzu, and some of my Japanese and Chinese art.

May 2, 2013

Itadori Tea from Japanese Knotweed


Since I recently plucked some Japanese Knotweed from my neighbors yard to make Itadori Tea, I decided to post and share this with you.

 Japanese Knotweed is an invasive weed, but many people don't know that it's edible, and can also be used as a tea. It grows everywhere.  

Itadori Tea is used in Japan and China as a traditional herbal remedy for the prevention of heart disease and strokes. It contains resveratrol, consequently, The Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry studies state that, ”For people who do not consume alcohol, Itadori tea may be a suitable substitute for red wine.” 

Japanese Knotweed is also edible and tastes like Rhubarb, and can be used instead of Rhubarb in recipes that call for it. There's also medicinal uses for Japanese Knotweed as well. 

 To make Itadori Tea, pluck some young shoots, wash, put in pot, cover with water & boil. Turn down heat to simmer and simmer for 20 minutes. Add sugar or other sweetener to taste. 

WARNING.. Drinking large quantities acts as a laxative. 

 Japanese Knotweed is an excellent source of vitamin A, along with vitamin C and its cofactor, the antioxidant flavonoid rutin, Japanese knotweed also provides potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and manganese. Itís also an excellent source of resveratrol, the same substance in the skin of grapes and in red wine that lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart attacks. 

 Resveratrol may delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease or slow its progression. Normally, glial cells in the brain support the neurons (nerve cells) and apparently modify the way they communicate, but in Alzheimer's disease, an accumulation of gunk called amyloid plaques signals these helper cells to kill the neurons instead.

April 27, 2013

Tillandsia Air Plants

Collecting Tillandsia Air Plants

Due to moving into my new apartment and having an extremely poor internet connection over the past few weeks, I have been unable to update this blog, but now that my mobile broadband connection seems to have improved, I'd like to share with my readers about these beautiful and interesting plants I recently just found out about these cool little plants called Tillandsia, known as Air Plants, because they live in the air, not in soil.  They're from the Bromeliad family & get their nutrients from the air & water.

Shortly after moving into my new home I was walking around town when I discovered a new shop that wasn't here when I lived here before, so I decided to check it out, and it was there that I first saw the air plants, but at the time I was just looking around as I had no money to spend.

I didn't think too much about the air plants again until I had some spare cash, and ended up going back there to buy some, and came home with three of them.   When I was back at home, I searched on Google to get information on how to care for Tillandsia Air Plants and it was then that I learned that there's 540 different varieties.  I love these cute little plants and decided that I want a small collection of air plants of various varieties, and so, roughly a week or so later, I was back in the shop and picked up three more.

After I decided how I wanted to display my cute little air plants, I couldn't wait to photograph my new Tillandsia collection & show them to my friends and family on Facebook, and now here I am sharing them with you.

Tillandsia Air Plant, Capitata Peach
Tillandsia Air Plant, Capitata Peach, on a glass container I found for free outside, filled with sea glass, rocks & oyster shells my daughter & I picked up at our local beach. Capitata Peach Tillandsia is a native of Dominican Republic, Cuba and Mexico and grows mainly on rocks.

Bulbosa Belize Tillandsia Air Plant
Tillandsia Air Plant, Bulbosa Belize sitting on an oyster shell.  When the Bulbosa Belize Tillandsia blooms, there will be a bright red flower.  This variety is a native of Belize in Central America.

Ionantha Mexican Tillandsia Air Plant
Tillandsia Ionantha Mexican, mounted by making a hole in wine bottle cork I scavenged out of a recycling bin.  There are variations of the Ionantha Tillandsia, this variety being a native of Mexico.

Harrisii Tillandsia Air Plant

Harrisii Tillandsia Air Plant
These two photos are of the same Tillandsia Air Plant, Harrisii, mounted on a piece of Atlantic ocean driftwood bark.  Harrisii Tillandsia was named after an American air plant enthusiast, Bill Harris, that was murdered in 1985 in Guatemala where the species is a native plant.  Harrisii is an endangered species in Guatemala.

Tillandsia Air Plant Ionantha
Tillandsia Air Plant I haven't positively identified as of this posting, but believe to be Ionantha Guatamala, mounted on a piece of Atlantic ocean driftwood.  When mounting Tillandsia Air Plants on ocean driftwood, you must make sure that the driftwood has had all salt removed, usually by soaking it for a couple weeks with several water changes.  Salt will kill a Tillandsia Air Plant.

Juncea Tillandsia Air Plant
Tillandsia Air Plant, Juncea, mounted on a piece of Atlantic ocean driftwood.   Juncea Tillandsia is a tall, grassy air plant.   Juncea Tillandsia is native to Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico and Venezuela.

I hope you enjoyed this post on Tillandsia Air Plants.  If you're interested in getting air plants of your own, considering buying air plants on Amazon & I'll earn a small commission when you buy via my links.

May 27, 2012

Adventure at Lorraine Park Campground in Harold Parker State Forest

Adventure at Lorraine Park Campground in Harold Parker State Forest

  As a prepper and survivalist, a friend and I have been wanting to go camping for some time so that we can do a dry run on bugging out as well as test our skills in such things as water filtration, identifying, preparing and eating wild edible plants, fishing and more.  We also hoped to create videos on survival and various other related topics.  We chose to camp at Lorraine Park Campground in Harold Parker State Forest, Andover, Massachusetts. Since we could only camp for one night due to lack of transportation as well as funds, we decided to arrive early and got to the campground office at 8:30am hoping to secure our camp site early so that he and I can go off into the forest while the girls were set up and left at the camp site, however, we were very disappointed to find out that the park does not open until 1pm, so, a huge dent was put into our plans.
Frye Pond, Lorraine Park Campground, Harold Parker State Forest, Andover, Massachusetts
Frye Pond, Lorraine Park Campground, Harold Parker State Forest, Andover, Massachusetts
 We decided to go for a hike deep in the forest, our gear left behind, tightly packed into the back of my friend's car that was left in the state park's headquarters.  My wife constantly complained, so, there were repeated trips back to the car for food, water, bathroom visits, etc which made our hiking rather chaotic.

Finally we got our camp site registered and by the time we had the tents set up, a fire going and lunch prepared, it was no around 3pm and we were all just too damn worn out and disorganized for doing survival related stuff and making videos.   Since checkout was at 11am, I had hoped to be up at the break of dawn to head out deep into the forest with my gear, wild plants book and camera, however, I was not expecting to be awaken by rain at 4:30am as the roof of my bivy tent is screen and was not covered with the rain fly so I could see the sky and stars as I lay inside, so, I was woken up as the rain fell on me.  By the time the sun was up shortly thereafter, I was in no mood to go hiking and make videos, etc.   The girls were miserable and cranky due to unexpected arrival of menstruation, and we ended up calling our ride to pick us up early.
Angel Silver Moon, Fapper666, & Asshole Blogger with wife and daughter. at Lorraine Park Campground
Angel Silver Moon, Fapper666, & Asshole Blogger with wife and daughter. at Lorraine Park Campground

Next time, we will have to make arrangements for a whole weekend.   Although it was only a single night, we did have alot of fun exploring the trails within the forest with all its various ponds.  We found frogs, toads, turtles, snakes and various interesting plants.   At our camp site, a beaver come up to us, as well as a family of Canadian Geese which remained the rest of the night.   Our camp site was directly in front of Frye Pond, so we had to listen to the constant chatter of bull frogs and other pond creatures.

I took some photos and video footage, so thought I would share some of them here on my blog.  The videos were pretty much random and chaotically crazy, so I edited them together in a montage to put up on my YouTube channel since I promised my BlogTV viewers that I would bring back some video footage of our camping adventure at Harold Parker State Forest.

With Fapper666 and I splitting the $12 fee to camp for one night, it was definitely worth the $6 I spent to have so much fun with not only my family, but great friends.  I can't wait to do it again.

April 15, 2012

The Best Fun for the Family is Free Fun

The Best Fun for the Family is Free Fun

An Adventure at Clipper City Rail Trail.

Clipper City Rail Trail, Newburyport, Massachusetts
Clipper City Rail Trail, Newburyport, Massachusetts
As a parent, I am constantly on the lookout for fun things to do with my daughter, and to be frank, sometimes things just cost way too much, and considering my financial distress, money is tight, therefore, can not be spent on leisure or entertainment.

My daughter, like her dad, is an explorer and an adventurer who loves to learn new things and see new places and things, so, I'm always on the hunt for interesting places to take her for some fun as well as for education, and since I am often broke,  I look for fun things to do that are free, or things we can do together that are very inexpensive.

On Saturday morning, as usual, my daughter stated that she was bored, something she says quite often, so, knowing that she loves riding on the trains, I decided to see what was around that we could do for free that was conveniently located near any of our local MBTA commuter rail stations and that's when I discovered the Clipper City Rail Trail in Newburyport, Massachusetts.

The Clipper City Rail Trail begins just across the street from the Newburyport MBTA commuter rail station and ends at the Merrimac River and downtown Newburyport is just a short block away for strolling through Newburyport's old New England downtown for eating, entertainment and shopping, although to do these three things, one must have tons of cash, because Newburyport is excessively expensive.

The Clipper City Rail Trail is paved and is 1.1 miles long, offering beautiful scenery, nature, art and fun, all for free. My daughter and I had a great time as my friend and I walked as she roller skated up and down the pathway.  We stopped at all the various public art and sculptures, took tons of photographs, smelled the flowers, and even spent a little while sitting in the sun on a nice bench with a beautiful view.

There are a few additional paths on this trail we haven't explored, so, knowing how much my little one enjoyed it, we will go again, because after showing my wife the photos, she too is interested in going.   I am also hoping to make a group thing of it and invite along several friends for a free fun filled day they can bring their kids to.

The photographs to the left are just a small sample of what Clipper City Rail Trail has to offer as well as being only a fraction of the photos I took that day.

If you're interested in knowing more about Clipper City Rail Trail, the City of Newburyport has a page on their website with details and information on the Clipper City Rail Trail as well as several photographs.

Next time I go, I'll be sure to have some cash on me so we can enjoy an ice cream cone from Haylees Ice Cream which is close to the entrance of the trail, and they have outdoor seating, or, you can head back to the trail and sit on the benches made out of hay bales.

Summer is right around the corner and knowing how easily my daughter gets bored, I'll be looking out for more fun and exciting things to do that are free, or very cheap, because $100+ days of fun are way out of my damn budget.   Everything is so damn expensive these days.

Download A Walking Tour of Newburyport: by Doug Gelbert , available for Kindle, iPad, and iPhone.