Yoga On the River

Posted: May 28, 2015 in Articles
Tags: ,

Back up in familiar Philadelphia on the Schuylkill River next to the good ol’ path, many stupid things occur. Many. Trust us. We walked on that path almost every day for more than a year. It was brutal. But that’s off the point! The point is, something dumber than usual has been happening recently. A woman is going to offer a yoga class. Not just any yoga class, either. She’s going to offer a class this summer teaching people to do yoga on a paddleboard, floating on the Schuylkill River.

How much dumber can it get? Who has nothing better to do with their time than float on a river while doing yoga on a board? Not us, that’s for sure. In fact, we don’t know anybody who would want to do that or who would actually pay money to attend such a class.

I guess we just aren’t urban enough because we don’t understand why anyone would perform yoga on a paddleboard at all. If you understand it, please feel free to explain it to us.

Source: We tried it: Stand-up paddleboard yoga with Aqua Vida

As you know, we recently cut down a pine tree, and so naturally we had a lot of sap on our hands. Our mom made a great discovery, though. When she came in, she washed her hands Dr. Bronner’s soap, and all the sap came off – first time. This is really amazing to us, because we usually have to use this gritty orange soap that we really don’t like. Soaps from the grocery store never got the sap off and even the smelly orange stuff would take awhile.


So, we’d like to recommend Dr. Bronner’s bar soaps (we did not test the liquid soap), whatever scent you get, if you anticipate having sap on your hands :) and you don’t have a good solution for getting it off.

It’s hard to find a soap that does really well on sap but Bronner’s bar soaps do. This is great for us; otherwise, we’d have to use the nasty orange soap :/

We’re even considering washing our axe handle with this soap since it got sticky too!

Yesterday we cut down a large pine tree mainly because it was seriously running into our house. The previous owners simply planted this tree way too close to the house. Each year, when the wind blew, the noise the branches produced increased and huge limbs were now over the top of our house.

Our father said, unfortunately, it was going to have to go. We did cut it down, and now we have a large cleanup job to do – but we noticed that after we cut it down, there were some odd looking insects that we hadn’t ever seen around our yard. We took a picture of it (and the felled tree) and went to identify it.

We did find out what the insect was, and the news wasn’t good. The bug, a beetle, as it turns out, is almost definitely an Asian Long-horned Beetle. These creatures are the cause of quite a lot of angst as it turns out.

They are a bonafide pest according to the USDA. In fact, they ask you to report any sighting of this beetle with pictures of any tree damage and hopefully the beetles in a jar.

Now that we know what they are, tomorrow we’re going to look for tree damage. One of the trees they like are sugar maples and we have three of these trees in our yard. They’re beautiful trees and we would hate to lose any of them. If we find any damage or any more beetles, we’ll report them since apparently they’re really destructive!

We found two websites with lots of information about this beetle, so we’re including them in case you want to read more about the beetle. Article 1, Article 2.

Wait a minute – we just read about an Asian long-horned beetle look-a-like called a Whitespotted sawyer and on second thought, we think this is the beetle which we saw. Anyway, we are still going to check things out tomorrow and make a positive identification :)

Wait another minute – we are 99% positive we saw a Whitespotted pine sawyer because these beetles hang out in conifers. Hmmmm. We were cutting down a white pine. Yup. We’re darn sure this is the beetle we saw. Phew!

“These beetles are most commonly misidentified as ALB.  Males are metallic black with one white dot at the base of the wing covers.  Females are brown with speckles and also have the white dot at the base of the wing covers.  ALB does not have this white dot, though it has many white spots on its wing covers.” From this site.

Note the white dot on the beetle in our picture. I think we’re good. Yay. Glad we didn’t bother anyone at the USDA :)

The title says it all :)IMG_0180[1]

We tried to start 3 avocado seeds in the winter. All three of them were bathing in their water, toothpicks sticking in their sides. Nothing. Then in the spring, we put them out hoping the sun & heat would spur them on. Again, nothing – almost. Two of them just sat, but this one finally took root!

If you are trying to start an avocado tree, we’d like to tell you to just keep on trying. Eventually, you’ll get one to work! It did take us 4 months to get one to root, so it obviously takes a while! We have the small stem in a small pot, because we are going to keep our tree inside. Right now the little stick that is the avocado tree doesn’t look like much, but we’ll keep you posted!



Be Careful Who You Mock

Posted: May 24, 2015 in Articles
Tags: ,

Still in the Shang Dynasty, a long and powerful dynasty of China, there began to be rebellions and signs of the dynasty crumbling. It started with the fifth Shang ruler, Wu-Ti. He didn’t do anything too physical: no wars, no increased taxes, no illegal seizures of land, etc. Instead, his wrong doings were against heavenly beings.

He made idols and called them “gods.” He then gambled with them, and because he was playing against carved idols, he obviously won. After he won, he would mock the idols and call the gods “lousy gamblers.”

Big mistake! Wu-Ti died a death that seems like it could have been sent from above. He was out hunting one day when he was struck by a bolt of lightning.

Be careful who you mock :)