Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Everything Is Dead

Not one living thing in our beautiful, vast river is alive. No one near my  home has spotted a single living creature in the water for more than two days. Everything is dead.

I have personally communicated with dozens of people who are suffering from the toxic aerosols from this event. It's mostly respiratory problems, shortness of breath, asthma, sinus problems. Conjunctivitis, dizziness, and nausea, too. Pets are affected also if they've been near the river. I'm heartbroken. I'm sick. It's World Water Day and I'm crying saltwater tears for our planet.... I will keep reporting as I learn more about what has happened here in my formerly beautiful world. I know many of you are suffering in similar circumstances. We all need to work together to keep this planet together. What a mess, and what a job. Through tears, let's have hope and work together!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Weekend Walkabout: They're All Dying....

Y'all know how much I love my sand dune and all the creatures that live on it, and in the ocean, and the river. (I live between the Atlantic Ocean and a large estuary, which we call a river.) This weekend I have had a heartbreaking walkabout. The river is dying.
Brown and red tides are becoming more common here. But they usually only last a short time, in one spot. The critters can vacate that spot and carry on. Not this time. The guess is that this Brown Tide is caused by Aureoumbra lagunensis. Each cell is tiny, yet they are legion. They suffocate everything in their world, and they eat arsenic, then secrete arsenite, a potent toxin. They also gunk up the gills and blowholes of marine creatures, thus suffocating them. They suck the oxygen out of the water.
This toxic algae hasn't been studied much, though there are a few researchers on the job in Texas. We're coughing and hacking a fair bit here, but that's nothing compared to the creatures that are stuck in the water:
Neighbors have noted manatees in distress, with gunked up faces, and dolphins, too. I'll report further as I know more. Have any of you had Brown Tide in your neighborhood? It really sucks.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Orchid Season: Oncidium and Catasetum

I love all orchids, but Dancing Spider Lady Oncidiums are one of my top three faves. And mine is blooming!
Oncidium, MRobb, 2016
Here is my other Oncidium, on its last bloom (it is a little sluggish this year, possibly due to our cold winter):
Oncidium, MRobb, 2015
Oncidiums can handle a lack of water better than Phals, as they have lots of water storage capacity. They do like water, however, and lots of light. So my Phals are in the shadier corners, while my Oncidiums have lots of bright morning sun. The rather comical aspect of Oncidiums is how they seem to "crawl" out of the pot. The highly visible roots are prolific, and really seem to push out of the pot. Interestingly, they seem to do better in a smaller pot than a larger one.

And in News for Orchids, my Catasetum tenebrosum has come out of its deathlike dormancy and is growing again. Can you spot the new growth?
So now I'm watering it every day, and fertilizing once a week. Grow, Cat, grow!