Finally, Summer Has Arrived

It’s been a strange spring season. That’s become the norm with global warming. I planted cold weather seeds and none but the radishes and wheat are up. Leaves were either killed or ripped right off seedlings in pots by strong cold northern winds. Nature has finally become serious about summer. The poplars and willows are in leaf. Various cherries and columbine seeds have sprouted. The Nanking Cherries still have not opened but the buds continue to swell. A pair of tree swallows are vigorously defending the birdhouse in the green ash. This morning when I went out to check on pots one was poking her head out the box to catch the morning rays of Sun. Her mate was sitting on a steel frame above some seedlings within a couple of metres of me. He never flew. I guess we’re becoming familiar or he figures a guy who moves this slowly is not dangerous. It’s all good. I’m running out of pots and garden spaces. Some of these seedlings will go directly into the ground.

Speaking of ground, the weeds are awake and I spot-sprayed dandelions with 2,4-D yesterday. This year, I will win!

UPDATE Winning may not be as easy as I hoped… A sparrow took over the swallows’ box. The sparrows are an invasive species which is much stronger and more aggressive than the swallows. I may try a tip given here to discourage the damned sparrow…

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The Last Last Last Late Frost

Twice we’ve had what I thought was the last late frost of the winter. Well, we’re having another one tonight. Temperature is just above freezing, the sky is clear, the wind is light and there are hours to go before sunrise. Temperature is falling 2°C each hour…

I went out and hosed down all my potted plants that are fragile, put 20L pails over some new Amelanchier alnifolia seedlings that have flower buds, and threw a blanket over some chokecherries. I brought in all the pots on the veranda. Now, I’m going to bed. I may hose things down again in a few hours… Sigh…

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Conservative? Conserving What?

It’s hard to believe the leadership of the so-called conservative party of Canada would push the idea that EVs produce more CO2 than gas-guzzlers. Obviously, they can’t do the maths, like weighing the mass of gasoline that goes into the fuel tanks of gas-guzzlers. My last gas-guzzler eats its weight in gasoline every four years. It’s 13 years old… Some of that ends up as CO2… None of what my Solo EV will eat comes from hydrocarbons. My Solo also weighs a fraction of what my gas-guzzler weighs so the energy/carbon cost of its manufacture will be tiny.

Another reason not to vote PC next election… I just don’t want stupid people running my government. Oh, “Conservative”, means trying to conserve something. Are they trying to conserve the oil-industry which is trying to undo millions of years of carbon sequestration in a century? Are they trying to maintain levels of pollution in cities? Are they trying to waste energy? That’s not very conservative. The PCs are liars.

Then there are the Lieberals. They lie about lots of stuff too. They were years late bringing forth the carbon-tax and promoting EVs. They certainly are not leading the charge to save my planet’s ecosystem. The NDP want my banks and my firearms. They used to be looking out for the little guy but now they just want the power to control my life. That leaves (you know, the green things on trees that are actually doing the work of saving the planet…) the Greens. While I disagree with them about firearms. I think they give higher priority to keeping Earth livable for my descendants and other humans than the other parties.

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It Just Got A Whole Lot Easier To Buy A GNU/Linux Notebook…

“In case you’ve missed it, last year, Google started making it possible to run desktop Linux on Chrome OS. Since then, more Chromebook devices are able to run Linux. Going forward, all of them will be able to do so, too. Yes. All of them. ARM and Intel-based. …Now? It’s as simple as simple can be. Just open the Chrome OS app switcher by pressing the Search/Launcher key and then type “Terminal”. This launches the Termina VM, which will start running a Debian 9.0 Stretch Linux container.”
 
See All Chromebooks will also be Linux laptops going forward
I’ve checked out what’s on Amazon.ca and there are a bunch of ChromeBooks offered but it’s a bit of a challenge to sort out the ARMed from the Intel. I hate Intel because they are part of the Wintel monopoly and I hate AMD because it’s the same bloated instruction-set. Unfortunately, all the ARMed models I could find were very pricey and/or using very old CPUs like the year before last year. Still they are ARMed notebooks in every price-range and some are 28nm with 4 to 6 cores and 4GB RAM. They make a decent desktop computer for one. They should leave my old smartphone in the dust. Lightweight and portable they are too. Most of all, they are widely available. Is anyone in the retail sector not selling them?

I still have to find such a system that can replace my old Beast with all its drives and interfaces. Such systems are available for the price of an old used car…

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Getting Over The Hump Of EV-mindshare

Apparently, we are there. Clean Energy Canada reports that the majority of Canadians welcome the future with a majority of electric vehicles. They want more economical transportation and fewer emissions. Amen.

There are some holdouts though, the “Progressive” Conservatives… Just about every region and citizen wants to embrace the future except those guys. So, let’s see democracy in action as even the stodgy adapt to change.

See Planning For A Plan

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More Reasons To Keep Living

Out of the blue, a relative sent me this link. It’s to a database of trees in Winnipeg, a nearby city. I knew Winnipeg had a large inventory of trees but I did not know how diverse it was. For instance, there are 6 Saskatoon bushes in it and one is supposed to be 10cm in diameter at “breast height”. That would be the biggest, baddest, oldest Amelanchier alnifolia I’ve ever seen. Most are just sticks in the forest around here up to about 4 or 5 cm. Also, there are 23 Quercus ellipsoidalis, Northern Pin Oak. That’s a species I could grow in my yard but I opted for larger specimens…

There are some very interesting trees around here. In La Barriere Park there is supposed to be a Quercus macrocarpa, bur oak, 627 cm in dbh. That would be a world record… 62.7 cm perhaps, I would believe. There are supposed to be 74 oaks larger than 100 cm dbh… Anyway, I now have another reason to live to drive my Solo EV, just to tour the interesting trees of Winnipeg.

More searches:
select count(scientific) as number,scientific as “scientific name” from WPG_trees where scientific like ‘%prunus%’ group by scientific;
number
65
2
23
778
73
3
13
4
65
1
34
21
4045
287
scientific name
Prunus americana
Prunus eminens
Prunus maackii ‘Jefdike’
Prunus maakii
Prunus maakii ‘Jefspur’
Prunus mandshurica
Prunus nigra
Prunus padus
Prunus pensylvanica
Prunus serotina
Prunus spp.
Prunus tomentosa
Prunus virginiana var Shubert
Prunus virginiana var Virginiana

A complete accounting of species gives this:
select scientific as “Scientific Name”,count(scientific) as “Population” from WPG_trees group by scientific;
Scientific Name
Abies balsamea
Acer ginnala
Acer negundo
Acer negundo ‘Baron’
Acer platinoides
Acer saccharinum
Acer saccharinum ‘Silver Cloud’
Acer saccharum
Acer saccharum ‘Jefcan’
Acer saccharum ‘Jefselk’
Acer tartaricum ‘GarAnn’
Acer x freemanii ‘Jefcel’
Acer x fremannii ‘Jeffersred’
Aesculus glabra
Aesculus x ‘Autumn Splendor’
Aesculus x ‘Homestead’
Alnus hirsuta ‘Harbin’
Alnus rugosa
Amelanchier alnifolia
Betula occidentalis
Betula papyrifera
Betula papyrifera ‘Varen’
Betula pendula ‘Laciniata’
Caragana spp.
Catalpa spp.
Celtis occidentalis
Celtis occidentalis ‘Delta’
Cornus spp.
Crataegus spp.
Crataegus x mordenensis ‘Snowbird’
Elaeagnus angustifolia
Euonymus spp.
Fagus spp.
Fraxinus americana
Fraxinus americana ‘Jefnor’
Fraxinus mandshurica
Fraxinus mandshurica ‘Mancana’
Fraxinus nigra
Fraxinus nigra ‘Fallgold’
Fraxinus pennsylvanica ‘Heuver’
Fraxinus pennsylvanica ‘Patmore’
Fraxinus pennsylvanica ‘Rugby’
Fraxinus pennsylvanica ‘Summit’
Fraxinus pennsylvanica var. subintegerrima
Fraxinus x ‘Northern Gem’
Fraxinus x ‘Northern Treasure’
Gleditsia triacanthos
Gymnocladus dioicus
Hippophae rhamnoides
Juglans cinerea
Juglans nigra
Juniperus scopulorum
Larix decidua
Larix laricina
Larix sibirica
Lonicera spp.
Malus spp.
Malus x ‘Jefstar’
Malus x ‘Spring Snow’
Malus x adstringens
Malus x adstringens ‘Durleo’
Malus x adstringens ‘Jefspire’
Malus x adstringens ‘Pink Spires’
Malus x adstringens ‘Red Splendor’
Malus x adstringens ‘Royal Mist’
Malus x adstringens ‘Selkirk’
Malus x adstringens ‘Thunderchild’
Morus alba
Not Available
Ostyria virginiana
Phellodendron amurense
Picea abies
Picea glauca
Picea mariana
Picea pungens
Pinus banksiana
Pinus cembra
Pinus mugo var mughus
Pinus nigra
Pinus ponderosa
Pinus resinosa
Pinus strobus
Pinus sylverstris
Populus alba
Populus balamifera
Populus deltoides
Populus grandidentata
Populus spp.
Populus tremuloides
Populus x canadensis ‘Prairie Sky’
Prunus americana
Prunus eminens
Prunus maackii ‘Jefdike’
Prunus maakii
Prunus maakii ‘Jefspur’
Prunus mandshurica
Prunus nigra
Prunus padus
Prunus pensylvanica
Prunus serotina
Prunus spp.
Prunus tomentosa
Prunus virginiana var Shubert
Prunus virginiana var Virginiana
Pyrus ussuriensis
Pyrus x ‘DurPSN’
Quercus ellipsoidalis
Quercus ellipsoidalis ‘DurMarg’
Quercus macrocarpa
Rhamnus cathartica
Rhus typhina
Salix alba ‘sericea’
Salix alba ‘vitellina’
Salix amygdalioides
Salix bebbiana
Salix exigua
Salix fragilis
Salix lucida
Salix nigra
Salix pentandra
Salix spp.
Sambucus spp.
Sorbus aucuparia
Sorbus aucuparia ‘Rossica’
Sorbus decora
Sorbus spp.
Syringa reticulata
Syringa reticulata ‘Ivory Silk’
Syringa spp.
Syringa vulgaris
Thuja occidentalis
Thuja occidentalis ‘Brandon’
Tilia americana
Tilia americana ‘Duros’
Tilia americana ‘Redmond’
Tilia cordata ‘Golden Cascade’
Tilia cordata ‘Greenspire’
Tilia cordata ‘Ronald’
Tilia mongolica ‘Harvest Gold’
Tilia spp.
Tilia x ‘Skinur’
Tilia x europaea ‘Wratislaviensis’
Tilia x flavescens ‘Dropmore’
Tilia x flavescens ‘Glenleven’
Ulmus ‘Morton Glossy’
Ulmus americana
Ulmus americana ‘Brandon’
Ulmus americana ‘Triumph’
Ulmus davidiana var japonica
Ulmus davidiana var japonica ‘Discovery’
Ulmus davidiana var japonica ‘Freedom’
Ulmus davidiana var japonica ‘Jacan’
Ulmus davidiana var japonica ‘Night Rider’
Ulmus pumila
Ulmus spp.
Unknown
Viburnum lantana
Viburnum lentago
Number
131
2085
14703
88
18
3062
277
114
24
22
133
78
82
791
6
1
468
23
6
6
1446
1
41
71
8
1126
242
36
232
67
950
2
3
132
6
70
4019
9495
109
31
120
206
139
86264
23
349
2
7
62
58
49
11
3
277
135
20
4506
479
483
117
261
14
70
3
2
36
6
4
171
7
26
42
7506
13
9841
28
21
175
18
50
26
11
1091
206
74
52
78
7738
4317
36
65
2
23
778
73
3
13
4
65
1
34
21
4045
287
72
30237
21
2
17229
62
32
402
2254
103
1
6
138
3
11
578
260
2
130
25
26
477
2274
60
80
2
1054
4
1668
10
10
533
200
200
970
26117
6
88
757
328
20
54139
682
32
782
962
16
10
27
19009
86
910
7
11

 
Unfortunately, the most numerous species are endangered, no thanks to Dutch Elm Disease and Emerald Ash Borer… BOOO!
select scientific as “Scientific Name”,count(scientific) as “Population” from WPG_trees group by scientific order by Population desc;
Scientific Name
Fraxinus pennsylvanica var. subintegerrima
Ulmus americana
Tilia spp.
Ulmus pumila
Quercus macrocarpa
Acer negundo
Picea pungens
Fraxinus nigra
Populus spp.
Picea glauca
Population
86264
54139
26117
19009
17229
14703
9841
9495
7738
7506

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Watching Plants

I love to watch plants. They move so slowly, I can keep up with them. Chuckle. Lately, I’ve been watching some Saskatoon bushes (Amelanchier alnifolia) that I planted from seed two years ago. Their buds are swelling. The terminal buds are just about bursting and fuzzy. It turns out the new growth is fuzzy for a while so it’s probably not a flowering bud.

As a result of searching the web for information on when Saskatoons flower, I found PlantWatch, an organization that has been collecting such data for ages. They were started by government, passed to academia and now they’re back in government. I downloaded their data for Manitoba for the last 20 years and learned that Amelanchier alnifolia flowers as early as mid-April far to my west and as late as the first week of June. Around here, the usual date is the first week of May, imminent! It’s about the same time dandelions flower and a couple of weeks before lilacs and chokecherries flower. The little darlings look so fat and juicy, anything is possible! Of course, they are too young for sex and I should knock off any blooms that happen but perhaps I shouldn’t. Think of the bees…

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Drive Electrically!

“In the two decades before model year 2004, technology innovation was generally used to increase vehicle power, and weight increased due to changing vehicle design, increased vehicle size, and increased content. During this period, average new vehicle fuel economy steadily decreased and CO2 emissions correspondingly increased. However, since model year 2004 technology has been used to increase fuel economy (up 29%) and power (up 11%), while maintaining vehicle weight and reducing CO2 emissions (down 23%). The improvement in CO2 emissions and fuel economy since 2004 is due to many factors, including gasoline prices, consumer preference, and increasing stringency of NHTSA light-duty car and truck CAFE standards.”
 
See Highlights of the Automotive Trends Report
OK. The engineers who design ICEd vehicles have accomplished something in improving efficiency of ICEd vehicles. However, US DOE is crowing about an average fuel consumption of about 25 MPG… Lots of electric vehicles get 100 MPGe and a few approach 200 MPGe. The DOE is barking up the wrong tree. The engineers should focus on putting the same effort into making sub-compact EVs with streamlined shapes and very small cross-sections, like Electra Meccanica does with their Solo, a commuter car made for one. Why push more air out of the way than necessary? Why haul around empty seats? Why heat up the air from exhaust and radiator? Why manufacture CO, CO2, NOx just to get from A to B? Those are unnecessary obvious things that can be fixed by making small electric vehicles. Do the right thing. Drive electrically. Drive Solo.

On a side note, my gas-guzzler which lost its steering a couple of months ago at great expense, lost its engine this week, and TLW is determined to repair it rather than drive electrically. Some people just don’t get it. Canada is offering a $5000 rebate for new EVs starting in May, so the time is right. Just in case, I handed her a link to the Smart For Two EV from Mercedes Benz. There’s a new one on sale in Winnipeg for $34K. Let’s hope the estimate for repairs to the old gas-guzzler exceeds the value of the vehicle… That should be easy. The value of a gas-guzzler is negative… The Smart has about the same range as Solo but has two seats, something she insists is important. She responded by saying small cars are dangerous, even though much of the world now drives compact and sub-compact cars to help get the pitiful MPG ratings that are now normal.

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Press Release 03/20/19

“The Arbor Day Foundation today announced the launch of its Time for Trees initiative, a commitment to plant 100 million trees in forests and communities worldwide by 2022 – the 150th anniversary of Arbor Day. The initiative will leverage trees as a simple, powerful way to preserve the necessities of life on Earth that are becoming increasingly compromised, as well as reverse the damage done by climate change.”
 
See Press Release 03/20/19
OK. I get it. Trees are good. Trees are great. What I don’t understand is “Why only 100 million new trees?”. Why not a billion or two? I alone have planted hundreds of trees in my yard and I have a bunch in pots. If I can plant 400 trees and there are 100 million tree-planters ready, willing and eager to plant, why can’t we plant billions of trees? Clearly, some of you need to wake up. So WAKE UP!

I know some of you think it costs too much to plant a tree but you are mistaken. You can spend a few dollars on a bare-root seedling or a few tens of dollars on a potted tree from a nursery but you can also buy seeds for a fraction of a cent per seed. In my area you can buy a packet of tree seeds for a few dollars, plant them in the fall in suitable locations and have half of them grow into real trees next spring. You can also gather seeds of local trees. OK, if you have industrious mice or squirrels seeds may not work but you can do the same in your refrigerator and put the seeds into pots in the spring. I recommend a mix of trees: conifers to break the wind and provide shelter for birds and pollen for bees, oaks for the future, maples for this generation, apples, grapes, Prunus and Amelanchier for those who like to eat and poplar, caragana, lilac or willow for those who want trees sooner. Remember the bees. They need trees in the spring, and flowers all summer long to pollinate you fruit trees and vegetables. The honey bees don’t do it all. Provide nesting sites for the wild bees too. They like holes and crevices in wood and a good supply of mud and water.

Go for it! There’s no reason you can’t plant at least a few trees, small ones if you lack space, and big ones if you really care about the future.

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Prospects

I’d like to share what I know about the future. Trump knows it too. He’s been campaigning like mad and fundraising from Day One. He still won’t win. Folks who were sure Hillary would win and didn’t bother to work hard for her or vote for her will vote for any Ham Sandwich offered by the Democrats. Folks who believed Trump’s lies about nearly everything will know the truth about Trump and will vote for any Ham Sandwich offered by the Democrats. People who believed Trump was a “business man” and would fix things have long ago learned Trump breaks things. He’s promised to break more. Currently his targets are:

  • DOJ
  • Congress
  • foreign alliances
  • foreign trading partners
  • the budget
  • the environment

and he’s willing to let our descendants pay for his mistakes and crimes. Gotta love his consistent efforts to do the wrong thing.

Those who think Trump “gave” them this generous economy should realize that Obama did most of the work. Trump inherited a growing economy and dumped $billions towards himself and his rich friends. It’s those rich friends spewing money into his campaign. They’re loving it.

Those who think the ebullient economy will continue under Trump should consider that to be reelected Trump needs a “good war” any war and war is never good for the economy. It’s just a matter of time before he drops bombs somewhere or shuts down the border or props up some losing industry. All those hurt the economy but they all pale in comparison to Trump’s attempt to roll back the tide of environmental awareness. An economy can’t thrive if temperatures and sea levels rise. Both are happening, perhaps not soon enough for 2020, but think of the children. The children have added millions to the voting rolls while Trump supporters are dying. Hillary won the popular vote last year. All of the Dems prospective candidates beat Trump in the polling.

Those who think Trump is a poor persecuted business man should read the imminent Mueller probe. Oh yeah. By next week the emperor will have no clothes. Nowhere to hide his piggish nature. He’s a criminal lying to all who will listen. Millions have stopped listening and Hillary won the popular vote last time. The Senate is almost surely to go D because many Rs are up for election. They are all tied to the Trump millstone. It’s all over but the voting.

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Spring Springing

Chuckle. This Nanking Cherry (Prunus tomentosa) was sitting in a large pot all winter exposed to the cold, sun and wind and is planning to attack the world despite average temperatures still being around 0° C. Last week the buds were smaller in diameter and a solid light brown colour. Now you can see lighter regions where the sheath is separating. It’s all good. 2019 will be a really great year where good things grow and Trump will be hollowed out.

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To Grow Or Not To Grow…

I had a surprise this week. I glanced over my stratifying seeds in the refrigerator and found my Sugar Maple, Acer saccharum, seeds were germinating. I quickly transplanted them to pots in my kitchen. That was a mistake as they began to droop. Not enough root to support the leaves. I placed a plastic bag over the pots and the leaves perked up.

I was surprised. I don’t read anywhere that they could sprout at refrigerator temperatures. I guess my fridge isn’t as cold as it should be… Anyway, I now have some tiny seedlings that have reservations in my “maple quarter”. I’m a lot more hopeful that they will survive compared to, say, Trump’s chances… Chuckle. He’s toast. He’s not growing his base and there are signs that the GOP isn’t willing to follow him over a cliff.

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