Lisa Caulder – Connestee Falls Realty http://www.connesteefallshomes.com Brevard, NC - Live Where You Play! Wed, 29 Nov 2017 16:49:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.4 WINTER WEATHER IN WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/winter-weather-western-north-carolina/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/winter-weather-western-north-carolina/#respond Wed, 15 Nov 2017 17:09:15 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6277 Excerpted from a study initiated by the State Climate Office of North Carolina When people drop in at our office here in Cedar Mountain, outside of Brevard, NC, they often ask….”what is the winter weather like in this area?”  Anecdotal information aside (that we generally have mild winters these days), there is always someone who…

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Excerpted from a study initiated by the State Climate Office of North Carolina

When people drop in at our office here in Cedar Mountain, outside of Brevard, NC, they often ask….”what is the winter weather like in this area?”  Anecdotal information aside (that we generally have mild winters these days), there is always someone who has lived here most of their life, and reels off stories about what terrible winters they used to experience – especially in the Asheville area.

Here’s a more scientific look at the winter weather in our area.  Caveat:  this study was done in the early 2000’s.

“Winter weather (snow, sleet, freezing rain) occurs with the greatest frequency in the norther latitudes (e.g., New England and the Midwest) and higher altitudes (the Appalachians).  However, such weather regularly affects the southeastern US as far south as Georgia during each cold season.  In fact, the impacts of winter weather in the Southeast have been recorded as early as the first week of October and as late as  mid-April. ”  (This year, particularly mild fall weather and plenty of rain kept the leaves on the trees, many still green, way past the usual color peak here which usually occurs around the middle of October.   And the fall, once it got going, lasted longer.  The mild weather turned cool/cold rather abruptly in the beginning of November, and a big wind & rain storm took down most of our leaves in one day!)

“…Each type of winter precipitation brings with it unique hazards.  Each precipitation type occurs with some regularity throughout the Southeast, and is due mainly to the topography of the region as well as its geography.  Continental polar air masses from Canada typically supply the cold air necessary for snow, while cold, dry air form New England entering the region can become entrained against the east slopes of the Appalachian Mountains, forming a dome or wedge of near-surface cold air.  The moisture necessary for precipitation is brought in from the nearby Gulf Of Mexico, where the thermal contrast between the cold land surface and the relatively warmer gulf waters provides a favorable environment for storm development and intensification.  If a cold dome is already in place east of the mountains, the warm frontal boundary and moisture associated with the developing storm may migrate northward over the cold dome, setting the stage for mixed precipitation….”  (There  is often a temperature differential of anywhere between five and ten degrees Farenheit between Brevard and the Cedar Mountain/Connestee Falls area.  This  is caused by altitude differential.  In easier terms to understand, this means that often we get snow, sleet and frozen rain in Connestee Falls, while Brevard – about 1,000 feet lower in altitude, gets cold rain.)

Natives will tell you that winters are much milder, with less freezing precipitation, than the winters of their childhood.  Still,  there is often concern about how quickly roads are cleared and safe for travel after a snow storm.   The State Department of Transportation is right on top of snow removal on US 276, which runs past Connestee’s Main and East Fork Gates.  And Connestee Falls has its own snow removal equipment, including snowplows and snow blowers – and can stay on top of the snow removal situation on our private roads.

SOURCE:  State Climate Office of North Carolina

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WNC FARMERS OFFER CRUNCHY, JUICY, TASTY, FRESH SNACKS http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/wnc-farmers-offer-crunchy-juicy-tasty-fresh-snacks/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/wnc-farmers-offer-crunchy-juicy-tasty-fresh-snacks/#respond Mon, 31 Jul 2017 14:07:15 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6187 Excerpted from ASAP article in The Asheville Citizen-Times “Vegetables at market aren’t just good for making meals; they’re also great for snacking.  Stop by farm vendors of area farmers’ tailgate markets to discover your new favorite mid-afternoon bites. Beans are a great snack food that packs protein.  Haricot verts (“fancy”green beans), and similar varieties, make…

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Excerpted from ASAP article in The Asheville Citizen-Times

“Vegetables at market aren’t just good for making meals; they’re also great for snacking.  Stop by farm vendors of area farmers’ tailgate markets to discover your new favorite mid-afternoon bites.

Beans are a great snack food that packs protein.  Haricot verts (“fancy”green beans), and similar varieties, make for a crisp snack eaten raw.  Other beans, such as greasy beans, edamame and others are a great snack once they’re cooked, which need not take long.  Boil them in salt water for 5-10 minutes, depending on the texture you want).  Drain them, and then add a little butter, a pinch of salt, and you have a perfect quick snack.

Beans are good cold, too.  You can cook them the night before and eat them on the go the next day.  Stop by Dreamy Bean Farm (West Asheville Tailgate Market, Asheville City Market) to learn more and pick up the beans of your dreams.

Mexican sour gherkins (tiny cucumbers) are a great snack ready-to-go…they’re bite-sized and wonderful for crunching down on between meals. Sleight Family Farm (at West Asheville Tailgate Market, Asheville City Market) has these gems now.

Watermelons and other melon varieties have made their debut.  A quintessential summer treat,  melons can be a great thirst-quenching snack in the middle of a hot  afternoon.  Orchard fruits are always a classic snack to fall back on, and right now Asian pears as well as plums, doughnut peaches, white and yellow peaches, blackberries and early apples are making their appearance.

Area farmers tailgate markets take place throughout the region.  As always, you can find information about farms, tailgate markets and farm stands, including locations and hours, by visiting ASAP’s online Local Food Guide at appalachiangrown.org.”

SOURCE:  ASAP/Asheville Citizen Times  IMAGE:  thefitfork.com

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PROGRAM TO FOCUS ON COUNTY GEOLOGY http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/program-focus-county-geology/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/program-focus-county-geology/#respond Fri, 28 Jul 2017 13:47:04 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6184 Excerpted from an article in The Transylvania Times –  July 27, 2017 “The August “Discover Natural Transylvania” program at the Transylvania County Library will explore the billion-year-old geologic  history of Transylvania County.  Geologist Rick Wooten’s presentation, “The Geology of Transylvania County and Vicinity:  Mountains, Faults, Waterfalls, Landslides and More.” will highlight mountain geology within the…

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Excerpted from an article in The Transylvania Times –  July 27, 2017

“The August “Discover Natural Transylvania” program at the Transylvania County Library will explore the billion-year-old geologic  history of Transylvania County.  Geologist Rick Wooten’s presentation, “The Geology of Transylvania County and Vicinity:  Mountains, Faults, Waterfalls, Landslides and More.” will highlight mountain geology within the framework of plate tectonics on Thursday, August 3, at 6:30 pm. in the Rogow Room.

Wooten will discuss nearby scenic geologic features that help people understand geologic process past and present.  He will also cover the connectivity between landscape, ecosystems, weather, local history and geology.

Wooten has both a B.S. and M.S. in geology from the University of Georgia.  He served as an aircraft maintenance officer in the US Air Force between obtaining the degrees.  He worked as an engineering geologist on the Gifford Pinchot National F in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State from 1980-1990.  Since 1990 he has worked for the NC Geological Survey as the senior geologist for Geohazards and Engineering Geology.  Duties with the NCGS include geologic mapping and landslide research.

The program is approximately one hour and light refreshments are provided.  Discover Natural Transylvania programs are supported by the Friends of the Library.

For additional information, contact Marcy at 828-884-1820 or marcy.thompson@transylvaniacounty.org.”

SOURCE:  The Transylvania Times

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CATAWBA RHODODENDRONS ARE GETTING READY TO BLOOM http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/catawba-rhododendrons-getting-ready-bloom/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/catawba-rhododendrons-getting-ready-bloom/#respond Mon, 05 Jun 2017 14:49:58 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6106 Excerpted from an article by Karen Chavez, Columnist for the Asheville Citizen-Times “It’s almost Catawba rhododendron time in Western North Carolina…..I’m sorry to play favorites with flowers, but these have to be the best.  Not only are they my favorite purple-lilac color, you don’t have to hike with your nose to the ground to scout…

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Excerpted from an article by Karen Chavez, Columnist for the Asheville Citizen-Times

“It’s almost Catawba rhododendron time in Western North Carolina…..I’m sorry to play favorites with flowers, but these have to be the best.  Not only are they my favorite purple-lilac color, you don’t have to hike with your nose to the ground to scout them out – they are right up in your face!

The large, fluffy pink-purple flowers make their showy debut at the high elevations in the second the third week of June.  The flowers, which bloom on these hardy, evergreen trees have such a pretty pop they are know to lure people from all across the world.

In honor of the flowers, which look almost like manicured gardens where they grow in clusters, Grandfather Mountain will hold the Remarkable Rhododendron Ramble June 1-11.  “”These remarkable shrubs in the heath family are one of the brightest gems on the mountains,” said Frank Ruggiero, of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation.  “With their distinctive and bright blooms, the rhodos practically dare folks not to look at them.””

Grandfather Mountain naturalists will host a series of short guided strolls at 1pm daily, allowing visitors to observe the blooms and learn from naturalists about their history, characteritics and roles they play in the mountain’s ecological communities. The programs are free with regular park admission.  (Another popular viewing area for the rhododendrons nearer to Brevard is at the Graveyard Fields area on the Blue Ridge Parkway.)

Blue Ridge Parkway botanist Chris Ulrey said the Catawba rhododendron have already bloomed at lower elevations, but are mostly found now in the upper elevations, such as the Craggy Gardens area.  The rhodos in this area of the parkway, about 20 miles north of Asheville, are at more than 5,000 feet in elevation.  They start to pop around the second week of June and tend to grab all attention from the Rosebay rhododendron, which have white fluffy flowers that bloom later in the summer, starting at the end of July.

Also, the mountain laurel and flame azalea, which also have bright, eye-catching colors, are beginning to bloom now.  The Craggy Pinnacle Trail, just north of the Craggy Gardens Visitor Center on the Parkway , is popular for a tunnel-like path of rhododendrons.

Park Ranger Gail Fox said the Catawba rhododendrons have already started to peak out in the Mt. Pisgah area south of Asheville.  Another great place to catch the show is at Roan Mountain in Mitchell County.  The town of Bakersville, in the shadow of Roan Mountain, pays homage to the flowers with the two-day Rhododendron Festival June 16-17, with crafts, music, the NC Rhododendron Pageant, the Ducky Derby and the Rhododendron 10K Run .  But the real show is up on Roan Mountain, part of the Pisgah National Forest about 13 miles north on NC 261.  The Appalachian Trail runs across the grassy balds near Carvers Gap, where rhododendron are scattered – but for the Big Bang, head out to the Rhododendron Gardens Trail, which climbs to more than 6,000 feet.  An accessible paved figure eight path allows everyone from those not up to a hike, to those in wheelchairs or pushing strollers to get right up close to one of the best shows of the mountains!”

SOURCE:  Karen Chavez/Asheville Citizen-Times   IMAGE: cartercounty.com

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THE END OF THE ALL-WHITE KITCHEN? THE CASE FOR NATURAL WOOD http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/end-white-kitchen-case-natural-wood/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/end-white-kitchen-case-natural-wood/#respond Wed, 24 May 2017 14:55:33 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6076 Source:  Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.com “A funny thing happened while everyone was obsessing over white kitchens:  Natural wood sneaked back in, creating some of the chic-est spaces around.  For many, natural wood evokes a country feel.  Or perhaps something ultra-traditional.  But today’s natural wood kitchens are modern showplaces that mimic the newest trends we’ve been…

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Source:  Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.com

“A funny thing happened while everyone was obsessing over white kitchens:  Natural wood sneaked back in, creating some of the chic-est spaces around.  For many, natural wood evokes a country feel.  Or perhaps something ultra-traditional.  But today’s natural wood kitchens are modern showplaces that mimic the newest trends we’ve been seeing in wood floors.

” “We predicted that natural materials and warmer finishes would rule the kitchen in 2017.  One way we’re seeing this natural material trend play out. thanks in part to the popularity of minimalism, is with unpainted, unfinished wooden cabinets.” ” said Apartment Therapy…. ” “The casual look combines the sleek style we expect in contemporary kitchens with the natural warmth of wood…” ”

…You know when you’re watching House Hunters Renovations and the couple looking for a home to buy and redo always has diametrically opposed styles?  We could see a stunning kitchen with natural cabinets as a beautiful compromise for a couple who wanted some traditional details like verticle shiplap look on islands and drawer handles…even if just one spouse is insistent on commercial appliances (stainless range & hood), and luxe materials (marble countertops and backsplash), the wood cabinetry brings it all together.

…For a minimalist, modern look, why not run the wood right up the backsplash?  (I think painted or stained wainscoting backsplashes are pretty as well – in the kitchen AND in the bath).

Even a mis-matched look – for example – with wood cabinet on two sides of an island, mixed with two sides of marble.  The texture of the wood sides on the bottom cabinets or drawers is the perfect way to show them off.

Natural wood in a mid-tone brown is also a great counterpoint to an all-white kitchen if you’re not ready to take the plunge all over….for instance, a more traditional island juxtaposed against modern white cabinetry.”

(My Note:  I, for one, am getting tired of keeping my all-white cabinets clean – constantly!  They show every spot and splash – and though, of course, you want to keep a clean kitchen – having to touch-up- clean white cabinets every week gets old after a while!)

SOURCE:  Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.com  IMAGE:  realtytimes.com

 

 

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THE ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK IS A FEISTY BIRD… http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/rose-breasted-grosbeak-feisty-bird/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/rose-breasted-grosbeak-feisty-bird/#respond Wed, 17 May 2017 14:27:19 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6068 Source:  George Ellison for the Asheville Citizen-Times Excerpted from a recent article by our favorite Bryson City-based local naturalist and philosopher, George Ellison. <<< “Here a rose-breasted grosbeak.  At first I thought it a tanager, but soon I perceived it more clear and instrumental…It is not at all shy, and our richest singer…the strain perfectly…

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Source:  George Ellison for the Asheville Citizen-Times

Excerpted from a recent article by our favorite Bryson City-based local naturalist and philosopher, George Ellison.

<<< “Here a rose-breasted grosbeak.  At first I thought it a tanager, but soon I perceived it more clear and instrumental…It is not at all shy, and our richest singer…the strain perfectly clear and sweet…rising and swelling to the end, with various modulations.” – Henry David Thoreau, “Journals”.

…Those birds that migrate hundreds of miles across the Gulf of Mexico from Central and South America to next in the United states and Canada are know as neotrop0ical migrants or trans-gulf migrants.  One of these is the rose-breasted grosbeak.  No other bird in our avifauna is more striking in appearance, distinctive in its singing or downright feisty to deal with.

Adult males in breeding plumage have shiny black heads and throats and boldly patterned black and white wings, while its underparts are white.  But what’ll catch your eye is the triangular carmine-red breast.  Farmers used to call the bird “throat-cut” because of this vivid and somewhat irregular marking.

I like the way Roger Tory Peterson describes the rose-breasted’s voice:  “Song, rising and falling passages; resembles robin’s song, but mellower, given with more feeling (as if a robin has taken voice lessons.”)

For the most part, rose-breasted grosbeaks breed up  north.  But somehow or other they have also discovered there’s suitable northern habitat in the higher elevations of the southern mountains, which saves a lot of flying time and energy.  When they’re migrating north in early spring, you’ll frequently spot them at bird feeders in the lower elevations.  But by May, they’ll be established at nesting sites between 3,200 and 5,000 feet.  Should you find  yourself in Highlands, find the Nature Center and go around back to the little amphitheater.  Sit down.  Focus your binoculars and wait for the first RBG to commence singing.

There’s no mistaking the male, and while his mate is less grandly marked – having brown upper parts with a striped crown and streaky underparts – she too has the same bustling vitality and mannerisms.  There’s a sturdy dignity and forcefulness about this species.  They always seem to be going about their business in a workmanlike, cheerful manner.

But don’t be beguiled – they also have vile tempers when disrupted.  Elizabeth & I used too spend a week or two each April assisting with the migrant bird study being conducted by grant bird study being conducted by the national park service (with Nat Geo funding) on East Ship Island about  10 miles off the Mississippi coast from Biloxi.  We helped net, weigh, measure, band and release maybe 300-400 birds each spring, mostly warblers.

Netted birds are generally docile, even when in hand.  Rose-breasted grosbeaks become positively livid from the moment they hit the net until well after they’re set free.  They take the whole business personally, fighting back with every weapon at their disposal.  And the bird is well-armed.  The powerfully stout beak – normally utilized to break open seeds – clamps down on a careless worker’s finger with he force of a pair of vise-grip pliers, bring blood and yelps of pain.  You have to pry or tear them loose.  After just one encounter with an angry RBG, you learn to handle this species with circumspection.

Checking the nets after Elizabeth had been along before me, I would often find them bare except for a screaming red-breasted.  That we her way of dealing with the grosbeak problem.  Leave it to me.

SOURCE:  George Ellison for the Asheville Citizen-Times.  IMAGE:  National Audubon Society

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THE CRADLE WILL ROCK http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/cradle-will-rock/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/cradle-will-rock/#respond Wed, 10 May 2017 13:53:28 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6048 Excerpted from an article by Robert Beanblossom for the Asheville Citizen-Times. “FORESTRY SITE IN PISGAH NATIONAL FOREST IS STEEPED IN WNC HISTORY… …Nestled in a mountainous valley know as the Pink Beds (for its dense rhododendron growth) is the Cradle of Forestry in America, a national historic site.  This  spot in the heart of the…

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Excerpted from an article by Robert Beanblossom for the Asheville Citizen-Times.

“FORESTRY SITE IN PISGAH NATIONAL FOREST IS STEEPED IN WNC HISTORY…

…Nestled in a mountainous valley know as the Pink Beds (for its dense rhododendron growth) is the Cradle of Forestry in America, a national historic site.  This  spot in the heart of the Pisgah National Forest in Western North Carolina is aptly named for it is the birthplace of scientific forestry in the U.S.

The intriguing story begins in early 1888, when a very wealthy young man, George Washington Vanderbilt, came to Asheville with his mother, who sought relief form malaria-like symptoms.  Dr. S. Westray Battle provided Mrs. Vanderbilt’s medical treatment while she and her son stayed at the posh Battery Park Hotel.  The clean air, scenic mountains and natural beauty of the area quickly captivated Vanderbilt, a widely-traveled individual who considered  himself a poet at heart.  He fell in love with this land and immediately decided to building a luxurious mansion – he later named Biltmore – and to purchase property.

By 1895, he could claim ownership of more than 125,000 acres of forest land – much of it heavily damaged by fire, grazing and poor logging practices. But there were virgin stands of high quality trees, especially in the coves and on north and east slopes of his holdings.  Vanderbilt employed the foremost architect of the day, Richard Morris Hunt, to design his 255-room mansion, but also hired an equally famous landscape architect, Fredrick Law Olmsted, to design the grounds of the estate.  And – he hired one of the only two foresters in the country at the time, a 27-year-old Pennsylvanian named Gifford Pinchot.

Stands not adequately stocked with trees were planted with hardwoods and pine.  Thus, Biltmore because the beginning of practical forestry in America.   It was the first piece of woodland to be put under a regular system of forest management whose object was to pay the owner while improving the forest.  Pinchot was employed at Biltmore for three years, eventually serving as the first chief of the US Forest Service, and later was elected Governor of Pennsylvania.

Pinchot recommended his successor, Dr. Carl A. Schenck, a German forester who knew little of American tree species or forestry of Appalachian mountain culture.  Schenck urged the construction of permanent forest roads to facilitate management activities, took steps to improve water sheds, and created a tree nursery.  He undertook several projects to improve game and fish populations on Vanderbilt’s lands.  Eventually he was approached to teach the new concept call “forestry.”  He opened a forest school in 1898 on a site 100 yards from the present-day Cradle of Forestry in America’s Forest Discovery Center, the first forestry school in the nation.  His 12-month curriculum was intense.  Mixed in with his forestry lectures were lessons in art, music, history, literature –  and life.  Classes included silviculture, surveying, forest protection, logging, tree and plant identification, forest mensuration, forest policy and forest management to name a few.

The Biltmore Forest School closed in 1913.  Out of more than 365 students, 300 completed the coursework and over half went into forestry.

Vanderbilt’s widow, Edith, sold the 87,500-acre Pink Beds tract to the Forest Service in 1914. It ultimately became part of the Pisgah National Forest.  Congress carved out a designated 6,500 acres as a national historic site in 1968.  Today this historic site is jointly managed by the Forest Service in a cooperative partnership with the Cradle of Forestry in America Interpretive Association, a nonprofit foundation, and is open to visitors from mid-April to early November.  Visitors can explore the past, present and future of environmental sustainability and stewardship – brought to visitors through paved interpretive trails, interactive exhibits, film,. music, drama, guided tours, nature programs, craft demonstrations and special events.

The Cradle Of Forestry is located four miles south of the Blue Ridge Parkway, along the Forest Heritage National Scenic Byway (Route 276).  The surrounding Pisgah National Forest is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering hundreds of miles of hiking and bicycling trails, waterfalls, scenic overlooks and camping.

This historic site is truly a national treasure and a must for anyone with an appreciation of our outdoor heritage.

SOURCE:  Robert Beanblossom for the Asheville Citizen Times.

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DON’T FORGET TEXTURE WHEN PLANNING YOUR GARDEN http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/dont-forget-texture-when-planning-your-garden/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/dont-forget-texture-when-planning-your-garden/#respond Mon, 17 Apr 2017 14:00:20 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=5995 Excerpted from an article by Dean Fosdick/Associated Press “The most popular element in landscape design is color, but texture is another important building block. Texture in gardening can be seen as well as felt, and is used primarily to provide contrast. Color lacks dimension without texture, which can soften spaces, provide visual interest, fashion backdrops…

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Excerpted from an article by Dean Fosdick/Associated Press

“The most popular element in landscape design is color, but texture is another important building block. Texture in gardening can be seen as well as felt, and is used primarily to provide contrast.

Color lacks dimension without texture, which can soften spaces, provide visual interest, fashion backdrops and set moods.  “It takes a different kind of eye to appreciate texture in the garden,” said Susan Barton, a University of Delaware horticulturist.  “We’re all programmed to recognize color, but once you start looking for texture, you can appreciate it.”

Landscape design comprises five basic principles:  scale, balance, repetition, dominance and unity, said Rebecca Finneran, a horticulturist with the Michigan State University Extension program.  “The tools we use to achieve these are use of line, form, color and texture,” Finneran said.  “Leaves, flowers, stems and bark can add “texture” to the visual.  Certain times of the year or day will accentuate this.  Even a pot or paving material can add textural difference.”

Plant texture varies from coarse to fine.  Coarse-textured favorites include cannas, elephant ear, coleus, hydrangea and horse chestnut…all are dramatic and bold.  “They draw the eye because of their differences or contrast in shape or appearance,” Finneran said.  “They dominate groupings.”

Most plants are said to be medium in texture, and generally are used to link fine and coarse arrangements in large settings.  Examples include impatiens, daisies, camellias and viburnum.  Fine- textured plants generally have smaller foliage.

The subtle use of texture also can create a sense of scale and distance.  Placing coarse-textured plants closest to the observer with medium plants in the middle and fine-textured assortments in the rear makes the settingssappear more distant.  Reversing that, with coarse-textured plants in the background and fine-textured varieties up front tends to make gardens look smaller.”

SOURCE:  Dean Fosdick/Associated Press     IMAGE:  diynetwork.com

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THE US GEOLOGICAL SURVEY HAILS AN EARLY SPRING… http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/the-us-geological-survey-hails-an-early-spring/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/the-us-geological-survey-hails-an-early-spring/#respond Wed, 01 Mar 2017 15:40:13 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=5962 …AND TIES IT TO CLIMATE CHANGE. Excerpted from an article for The Washington Post/Energy and Environment by Chelsea Harvey – Feb. 24, 2017 “As the nation basks in some of the warmest February weather it has seen in decades, the US Geological Survey (USGS) has been quick to point out that the early spring conditions…

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…AND TIES IT TO CLIMATE CHANGE.

Excerpted from an article for The Washington Post/Energy and Environment by Chelsea Harvey – Feb. 24, 2017

“As the nation basks in some of the warmest February weather it has seen in decades, the US Geological Survey (USGS) has been quick to point out that the early spring conditions are another symptom of climate change.

On Thursday, the USGS shared a new analysis just released by the USA-National Phenology Network, which the agency helps to fund, showing that an early spring has already swept through the Southeast and is continuing to work its way across the country.  As the agency points out, the new analysis reaffirms a fact scientists have know for at least a decade now — that “climate change is variably advancing the onset of spring across the United States.”

The analysis relies on a special “spring index,” which defines the start of spring as the point when temperatures allow for certain early-season events in plants, such as the emergence of leaves and blooms.  The index was created using data that has been collected for a citizen science project over the past few decades, according top Jake Weltzin, executive director of the USA-National Phenology Network and an ecologist with the US Geological Survey (USGS), which helped fund the project.

Since the 1950’s volunteers have been collecting information about the leafing and blooming of certain plants, such as lilacs and honeysuckle, Weltzin said.  More recently, climatologist Mark Schwartz of the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee used this information to develop and algorithm that can be used with national temperature data to determine where and when “spring” has arrived across the country.  By comparing this year’s temps with data from previous years, the scientists are able to determine which locations are seeing an unusually early spring, compared with the average.  Washington D.C. for instance saw its spring arrive a whopping 22 days early, according to the analysis.

In general, the new season has already made its appearance throughout most of the Southeast and as far north as southern Illinois and Indiana.  It’s now starting to show up scattered locations across the Western states, including in parts of Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona, and has begun to creep into California.

The same index was also used in a recent study that demonstrated that spring is arriving earlier and earlier in many national parks throughout the US.  Looking at data spanning the past 112 years, the study found that spring has been advancing in 76% of t he nation’s national parks.  More than half of all parks are experiencing extreme early springs, compared with 95% of the historical record.  These findings, along with the newly released maps of this year’s springs, are just another way of pointing to the progression of climate change, Weltzin noted.  Although the balmy conditions this February may seem nice on the surface, an early spring can come with all kinds of downsides.  For one thing, the onset of warm weather is also associated with the reemergence of disease-carrying parasites and insects such as ticks and mosquitoes.

It can also carry agricultural risks, because early springs are sometimes followed by sudden frosts or droughts later in the summer, which can be devastating for crops that have already begun to grow…in 2012, the grape harvest in Southwestern Michigan was ravaged by a sudden cold snap following an early spring, and a similar incident hammered the tree nut harvest in Southeast in 2007, he said.

As far as the latest climate news goes, there are other indicators of the long-term climatic changes that are happening in the US, Weltzin noted.  But the onset of spring remains one of the more dramatic red flags.  “There’s actually some evidence that suggests that the timing of fall is changing as well,” he said.  “That’s a more complicated season, we don’t have as much data, but we are seeing some changes and we are trying to better understand and describe what those are.”  Butt he added, “Spring is really the big one — it comes in with a bang.”

Source:  Chelsea Harvey is a freelance journalist covering science.  She specializes in environmental health and policy.  Image:  USGS

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PREVENTING BIRD STRIKES ON YOUR WINDOWS http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/preventing-bird-strikes-on-your-windows/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/preventing-bird-strikes-on-your-windows/#comments Mon, 02 Jan 2017 15:37:32 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=5897 Excerpted and adapted from an article by Connie Adair for realtytimes.com In the winter in Connestee Falls, homeowners who have big windows that bring light, views and the outdoors into their homes also experience the sad event  when birds are attracted to and strike their windows.  Every year, millions of birds die when they fly…

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birdimagesExcerpted and adapted from an article by Connie Adair for realtytimes.com

In the winter in Connestee Falls, homeowners who have big windows that bring light, views and the outdoors into their homes also experience the sad event  when birds are attracted to and strike their windows.  Every year, millions of birds die when they fly into glass.

“…Recent research shows that one and two-storey homes and cottages are to blamer for the majority of bird strikes, most of which happen during daylight hours.

…Most people have experienced the heartbreaking thud of a bird hitting a window.  Environment Canada biologists have concluded that collisions with windows on small buildings are a leading cause of bird deaths…” says a FLAP (Fatal Light Awareness Program) brochure.  Windows deceive birds: reflected trees or sky, a tempting potted plant seen through glass or a view straight through the building or  glass balcony railing can trick birds into thinking they can sail right through to the other side.”

Along with large windows used to provide lake views at cottages, the popularity of transparent balcony railings has also proven to be deadly.  To see for yourself just how reflective the glass on your house is, go out six or seven times in a day, on the hour, and take picture of the window to see what different environments are reflected as the sun moves.

There are simple steps homeowners can take to make their homes safer for birds.  Create “visual noise” by using decals and dots on the exterior glass surfaces to make it more visible to birds.  You can hang ribbons or strings outside the window, draw patterns on your windows with a bar of soap, install externally mounted window screens or apply a special film on the outside of your windows.  Putting visual markers on the exterior of the glass is more effective than pulling down blinds or closing curtains.  Hawk silhouettes don’t work well – birds know it’s not a real hawk.

Residential tape or dots placed on the outside surface of windows is more effective.  Spacing dots in 2×2-inch or 2×4 inch patterns is enough of a visual cue.  Pick a contrasting color, for example, white dots on a window shaded by overhangs.

During mating season, aggressive male robins and jays tend to bump against the window, thinking their own reflection is another bird.

Applying soap to windows will help – and on the bright side, when it rains you’ll have clean windows, but of course you’ll have to reapply the soap.

An exterior-mounted bird screen is another option.  If birds hit it, they bounce off like a trampoline.  Netting is not recommended – it can become loose and entangle birds, and end up doing more harm.

Winter (and migration times) are bad times for bird strikes.  (Early fall migration is the worst time in Connestee Falls,  especially for young Wood Thrushes & Worm-Eating Warblers).  Position bird feeders less than 1.5 feet from your windows, or more than 30 feet away to prevent birds from flying into feeder reflections.

FLAP Canada advises that Ii you find an injured bird, place the bird gently inside an unwaxed paper bag or cardboard box, and place the bag or box in a quiet location away from people and pets.  Do not give the bird food or water.

(In Connestee, I have had many bird strikes.  For birds that are just stunned, you will see that they are still moving or breathing if they are alive.  I have had success in gently setting the stunned bird upright in a foliage planter on my deck, or carrying them out to a protected sight in the yard or woods where I can watch them, preferably under a shrub or foliage, where they can recover safely.  I find that when they “come to” in an upright position in a familiar environment, away from predators, they often recover and escape to live another day.)

SOURCE:  Connie Adair for realtytimes.com

 

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