On April 15, 1912 the Titanic, believed to be unsinkable, hit an iceberg and sank 2 hours and 40 minutes later. Unfortunately, there we too few lifeboats to save everyone and only about 700 of the 2,224 passengers were rescued.
Plant seeds of cool-season crops directly in the garden as soon as the soil dries enough to be worked. When squeezed, soil should crumble instead of forming a ball. Cool-season crops that can be direct-seeded include peas, lettuce, spinach, carrots, beets, turnips, parsnips and Swiss chard.
Nylon stockings can be used to tie up tomato plants. The give in the nylon will allow the plant to grow without strangulation.
Grass stains on your fabric shoes can be cleaned with baking soda. Dip a wet toothbrush into some baking soda and brush vigorously. Rinse well and dry out of the sun. No baking soda? Use white, non-gel toothpaste instead.
Plant indoors seeds of warm-season plants, including tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, marigolds, zinnias and petunias for planting outdoors later.
Hummingbirds do not have a sense of smell. They locate their food by eyesight.
In your garden select plants you like to eat otherwise it’s a waste of space, time and food. Also make sure the crops you select will do well in your growing area.
Try attaching a slinky to the top of your bird feeder pole to keep squirrels from scaling it.
Arbor Day sprouted from the mind of a zealous tree lover named Julius Sterling Morton, who had a passion for planting all kinds of trees. The first Arbor Day occurred on April 10, 1872, in Nebraska City, Nebraska. It’s estimated that nearly one million trees were planted on this day.
Instead of roaring like other big cats, Cheetahs purr.
Each year March and June end on the same day of the week.
Baby birds learn to sing during the spring. Although they are born with the ability to sing they must learn the specific songs of their species. They often learn their songs within two months of being born.
Potatoes were illegal in France for 24 years. In 1748 the French Parliament forbade the cultivation of the potato on the grounds that it was thought to cause leprosy. This law remained in effect until 1772.
Stanford researchers found that beer bubbles create a gravity-defying loop. Bubbles head up in the center where frictional drag from the glass is less and down on the outside as the top gets crowded.
Plant seedlings of cool season vegetables and flowers as soon as the soil is dry enough to work. These include broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, peas, spinach, lettuces, radishes and beets.
The idea behind “Gardening by the Moon” is that the cycles of the Moon affect plant growth. Just as the Moon’s gravitational pull causes tides to rise and fall, it also affects moisture in the soil. It’s said that seeds will absorb more water during the full Moon and the new Moon, when more moisture is pulled to the soil surface. This causes seeds to swell, resulting in greater germination and better-established plants.
Houseflies don’t like sweet clover. Fill a few cheesecloth-mesh bags with the herb and hang them around the room.
Native Indiana plants are born survivors, hiding 2/3 of their growth underground. Roots and root hairs beneath a square yard of tall grass are said to stretch 20 miles end to end.
The first successful goldfish farm in the United States was opened in Martinsville, Indiana in 1899.
Botanically speaking, a fig isn’t one fruit, but hundreds. Each seed inside—and the flesh around it—is a tiny fruit.
February is named for the Latin word februum which means purification.
Start onions from seed now. They’ll be ready for setting out in April. Also, it’s a good time to start parsley indoors.
Prune fruit trees, berry plants and grapevines.
The use of garlic is mentioned in early Sanskrit 5,000 years ago. Garlic was buried along side King Tut and was eaten by Roman athletes and Egyptian pyramid builders.
When organic material used for mulch has been composted improperly, it may sour, becoming toxic to bedding plants and newly planted shrubs.
Dentist William Morrison and confectioner John C. Wharton invented machine-spun cotton candy in 1897. It was first introduced at the 1904 World's Fair as "Fairy Floss."
One inch of rain on an acre of ground, amounts to 27.154 gallons of water.
Move houseplants to brighter windows but don’t place in drafty places or against cold windowpanes.
One of the earliest known vacuum cleaners was so large that it had to be hauled from house to house via a horse-drawn carriage.
When Baron de Coubertin designed the Olympic flag in the early 1900s, he was very intentional with his creation. At least one of the colors on the Olympic flag appears on the flags of every nation that competed in the games at the time.
On January 4, 2022, Earth reaches perihelion, which is the point in the planet’s orbit where it is closest to the Sun at 91,406,842 miles.
Hypothermia is a condition when the body temperature falls below normal. If we’re too cold the body starts shivering. When shivering, our muscles are trying to generate heat to keep the body at the normal 98.6 degrees.
The albedo, or reflective property, of fresh snow is typically around 87 percent which can cause snow blindness. Wear your sunglasses even on a snowy day!
January is the best time to start planning your garden for the upcoming season. Send for seed and nursery catalogs and start sketching your garden on paper including what to grow, spacing, arrangement and number of plants needed. Order early for best selection.
Cardamom is a member of the ginger family with a warm, spicy-sweet flavor. It is great in desserts, baked goods and gingerbread, but also curries and pickled foods. Cardamom contains limonene, an antioxidant that’s believed to slow tumor progression and detoxify cancer promoting agents.
When it’s especially cold out, your door locks might stick. Hand sanitizer is always a good thing to keep on-hand to prevent the spread of germs, but it’s also super useful for heating up frozen locks. The alcohol in the gel acts as a natural de-icer.
Plantains and bananas are two separate species, but they belong to the same genus, Musa. Combined, the two are the world’s largest fruit crop.
To avoid a stray dog, walk away from it slowly and quietly. Never run away. Do not stare into the dog’s eyes. If attacked by a dog don’t run and scream. Stand still with your arms at your side. Don’t make eye contact or talk to the dog. If you are knocked over, curl into a ball and put your hands over your ears.
Spray your dustpan with furniture wax. As you dump the contents of the dustpan, the dust will slide right off.
Patents for the first fax machine dates back to 1843; thirty years before the telephone was invented.
On December 21st, 45 minutes after sunset the two largest planets, Jupiter and Saturn, will be so close to one another in the sky that they will appear to be fused into a single point of light. This “Star of Bethlehem” was last seen 800 years ago in 1226.
Look to the southwestern sky. Jupiter will look like a bright star and will be easily visible. Saturn will be slightly fainter and will appear slightly above and to the left of Jupiter until December 21, when Jupiter will overtake it and they will reverse positions in the sky.
This miraculous phenomenon will not be repeated again until March 15, 2080 and then it will not happen again until after 2,400.
Protect shrubs, such as junipers and arborvitae, from extensive snow loads by tying their stems together with twine. Carefully remove heavy snow with a broom to prevent limb breakage.
When shopping for a Christmas tree, check for green, flexible, firmly held needles and a sticky trunk base. Lift the tree then hit it against the ground. If the outside needles don’t fall off in clumps, the tree should be fresh.
The fastest gust of wind ever recorded on Earth was 253 miles per hour.
One of the first decorated trees appeared in 1832 in Boston adorned with gilded and colored eggshell cups, paper cones filled with nuts, crystallized fruit and candy, moss, seven dozen wax candles and “dolls and whimsies”.
As a result of the pandemic, Americans are both cooking (54%) and baking (46%) more.
Mincemeat pie is filled with rich and exotic spices representing the treasures the Three Wise Men brought to Christ.
An ancient legend states that forest animals can speak in human language on Christmas Eve!
The first Winter Olympics were held in Chamonix, France, in 1924.
As a means of communicating and storing ideas, knowledge, art, and culture, paper is one of the most important and consequential artifacts of human civilization.
In the 10th century, men in Europe wore high heels to make it easier to ride their horses. Adding heels to their boots made it easier to stay in their stirrups.
According to weather folklore, a heavy November snow will last until April.
Keep mowing your lawn for as long as it grows. Pests such as voles and field mice will damage your lawn and plants if they have long grass to hide in.
Add mulch to flower and bulb beds after the ground freezes to help prevent winter damage.
If fingers and toes become chilly, wiggle them instead of rubbing them. If exposed skin (including that of your face and ears) becomes cold, cover it with a warm hand until it feels better.
"Jingle Bells" was an 1857 song titled "One Horse Open Sleigh," and its composer, James Pierpont, intended it to be a Thanksgiving Day song.
What is a snood? The loose skin under a male turkey's neck or a hat worn by a Pilgrim.
Hand sanitizer is to prevent the spread of germs, but it’s also useful for heating up frozen car locks. The alcohol in the gel acts as a natural de-icer.
Stash a pair of socks in the glove compartment in case your car gets stuck. Put the socks over your shoes for added traction if you need to push it out.
Elwood Haynes, from Kokomo, Indiana created the first successful vehicle powered by gasoline in 1894.
According to the Journal of Affective Disorder, babies born during winter months are less likely to have irritable temperaments.
In recent years the importance of Rare Earth Elements (REEs) has become increasingly critical in this age of high tech consumer products from cellular phones to hybrid vehicles. What are Rare Earth Elements and what role have they played in the past and in the world’s future?
The REEs are a set of seventeen metallic elements including fifteen lanthanides on the periodic table plus candium and yttrium. Although originally thought to be rare, many of the minerals are actually common in the earth’s crust. Rare Earth Elements are spread evenly over the earth but it is hard to find a lot in one place. They are also difficult to extract from the earth because REEs are usually found within other minerals, making them costly to mine.
In the beginning
In 1788 a miner in Ytterby, Sweden found an unusual black rock. The ore was called “rare” because it had never been seen before and “earth” which was the 18th century geological term for rocks that could be dissolved in acid. By 1794 this previously unknown “earth” yttria was named after the town where it was discovered.
Carl Auer von Welsbach in 1880 became the first person to develop a commercial use for the Rare Earth Elements. Welsbach found a way to mix rare earth wastes with iron, creating a “flint stone” that sparked when struck. Ferrocerium was widely used in cigarette lighters and ignition-devices in automobiles. Welsbach also recognized the incandescent properties of REEs and developed an incandescent lamp that produced a bright light and could be mass produced.
Rare Earth Elements took on a new scientific and, then, geopolitical importance during the 20th century.
In 1939 Otto Hahn, Lise Meitner and Fritz Strassmann discovered nuclear fission of uranium and identified REEs in fission products leading to the atomic bomb.
The arms race between the United States and Soviet Union during the Cold War (1945 to 1991) led to increases in government-funded research and development in many areas, including Rare Earth Elements.
Corporations and industrial research generated new products for consumers. Until 1965 the major applications for REEs included using mixtures of Rare Earth Elements oxides for polishing lenses and as flints for lighters. One of the first major commercial uses for Rare Earth Elements came in 1965 when they were used in color television tubes.
The 1970s and 1980s saw the development of the nickel-metal hydride battery which became popular for use in portable electronics and later in hybrid cars. The use of Rare Earth Elements in magnets is a rapidly increasing application for computer hard disks plus automotive systems such as power steering, electric windows, power seats and audio speakers.
Because they have abundant magnetic, luminescent, electrochemical and thermal properties, Rare Earth Elements have made possible smart phones, electric cars, light-emitting diodes, wind turbines, medical imaging, fiber optic cables, defense systems and much more.
Where on the earth can Rare Earth Elements be found?
China has been the leading producer of Rare Earth Elements for decades and since the late 1990s, it has accounted for more than 90% of global production on average. After China, the world’s largest REEs reserves are in Vietnam, Brazil, Russia, India, Australia, the United States and Greenland. REEs mining projects within the United States are located in Bokan Mountain, Alaska; La Paz, Arizona; Diamond Creek, Idaho; Lemhi Pass in Idaho and Montana; Pea Ridge, Missouri; Elk Creek, Nebraska; Thor Mine, Nevada; Round Top, Texas; and Bear Lodge, Wyoming.
Rare Earth Elements are not exchange-traded like gold and silver which makes their prices hard to monitor and track. Pricing on REEs can vary based on the quantity and quality required by the end user.
The future of Rare Earth Elements
As China began restricting the distribution of REEs through quotas, licenses and taxes, the world rare-earth industry has changed by encouraging stockpiling, increased exploration and development of deposits outside of China. New efforts are being made to conserve, recycle and find substitutes for REEs as demand for these elements is higher than the supply of them. Potential disruption in the Rare Earth Elements supply chain could be a critical world crisis and disastrous to the United States’ long-term economic and national security.
Get rid of ants with small piles of cornmeal. Ants eat it, take it home but can’t digest it so it kills them. It may take a week or so to work especially if it rains.
Leaves are a rich source of calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and more. They are a great way to improve soil structure.
Mid-fall is a good time to plant wildlife-friendly bushes and hedges such as winterberry for birds and pussy willows for butterflies.
Acorns and oak trees symbolize patience, strength and long labor.
Candy Corn was originally marketed as "Chicken Feed" when it was first popularized around the end of the 19th century. Consumers voted candy corn the worst Halloween candy in the country in 2019 and 2020.
The tradition of creating pumpkin lamps for Halloween comes from the Celtic tradition. The Celts created lanterns that helped souls find their way to purgatory.
Reuse wine and champagne corks as plant markers. Write the name of the plant on the cork with permanent marker, push it onto a metal skewer or chopstick, and place it in the soil next to the appropriate plant. Start saving corks throughout the winter for spring plantings.
Prevent ash from spreading through the air when cleaning out a fireplace by using a water-filled spray bottle. Lightly mist the ashes before you shovel them.
The night before freezing temperatures, rub half a potato over your car’s windshield. The sugar from the potato creates a barrier over the window and prevents ice from forming, so you’ll come out in the morning and won’t have to scrape. Worth a try!
Pumpkins labeled “pie pumpkins” or “sugar pumpkins” are the best varieties of pumpkin for cooking. They are smaller than traditional carving pumpkins and have a sweeter, less-watery flesh. Select a pumpkin with a stem at least one to two inches long. Stems shorter than this will hasten the pumpkin’s decay.
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