Thank You, Fellow Birders

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There’s something about a bunch of birders (or do birders come in a flock?) all fixated on the same rare bird. The smiles, the lifer dances, the high fives and slaps on the back. We may be perfect strangers, but the shared excitement overcomes all barriers.

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Starting Seeds: Containers

I first posted this about ten years ago. Since my husband had unexpected bypass surgery today, I don’t have the time (or the concentration!) to write a new post. I hope you find this flashback to be a helpful reminder as we start our seeds for the upcoming growing season.


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Raise your hand if you remember starting seeds in elementary school. Perhaps they sprouted in the cells of a cardboard egg carton. Sound familiar? Now, did your seedlings grow and thrive? Hmm, thought so. Granted, you probably forgot to water them, or you dropped the whole shebang on the way home from school. But it wasn’t all your fault. Egg cartons make awful seed starting containers.

What should you use to start those little seedlings? There are a number of excellent choices. Suitable containers share several attributes.

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Meet the Apiaceae

Heracleum sphondylium ssp montanum - Cow parsnip_DBG LAH 058What do carrots, cilantro, celery, and poison hemlock have in common? Think like a botanist. How do the leaves look? What shape is the root? What about the flowers? Yes, they’re all members of the Apiaceae (aka Umbelliferae) family of plants. So are caraway, anise, parsley, parsnips, and a whole host of other familiar species.

Members of this family are relatively easy to distinguish. The most obvious feature is in the way their flowers are arranged—like an umbrella, with a stalk and a cluster of flowers on stems all springing from a central point.

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Savannah NWR

Great Blue Heron_SavannahNWR-SC_LAH_1539rOne of my favorite parts of any road trip is stopping at the national wildlife refuges along the route. In this case, we were heading from Columbia, South Carolina, where we’d visited family, to a vacation with friends on the east coast of Florida. And it just so happens that there is a series of refuges running from Pinckney Island NWR near Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, to Wolf Island NWR near Darien, Georgia. As we only had time to stop at one of those, we chose Savannah NWR, on the South Carolina – Georgia state line.

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