Thursday, 5 April 2018

The Mysterious Coin Wishing Trees

Few centuries ago, around UK people would put coins into trees in order to make wish. The odd marvel of gnarled old trees with coins embedded all over their bark has been spotted on trails from the Peak District to the Scottish Highlands.  Hence, the legends around it and the imageries that follow are quite awe remarkable! Many people thought that by striking a coin into a tree with a hammer, they could make a wish, such as having some sick get better or removing the suffering from their close ones. Also, believe any sick person could press a coin into a tree and their illness would go away. 'If someone then takes the coin out though, it's said they then become ill.' These enthralling spectacles often have coins from centuries ago buried deep in their bark and warped by the passage of time. An oak Wish Tree made famous by Queen Victoria during her visit in 1877, and its inclusion in her published diaries. The tree, and others surrounding it, is festooned with hammered-in coins.

Therefore, it is very interesting but also a bit unlucky as many trees have been damaged due to this. However, it’s quite a sight to behold, a tree covered in coins from all the wishes. The tradition of making offerings to deities at wishing trees dates back hundreds of years, but this combination of the man-made and the natural is far rarer. Some people believed that divine spirits lived in trees, and they were often festooned with sweets and gifts.  The people had no idea why it was being done when first noticed the tree trunk was being filled with coins. As some detective work and discovered that trees were sometimes used as "wishing trees". Although several superstitious people still do this, which explains why some of the coins in the photos are not centuries old! So, do you believe such superstitions to put coin into trees in order to make wish?

Friday, 30 March 2018

Tree of 40 Fruit

New York Based artist Sam Van Ken created a tree of 40 fruit using the ancient technique “chip grafting”. His family lives in Pennsylvania Dutch and he grew up on the family farm. He’s an associate professor of sculpture at Syracuse University. Therefore, each tree produces forty different types of stone fruit, of the genus Prunus, ripening sequentially from July to October in the United States. The tree is fruiting in the artist's nursery, where each spring the tree's blossom is a mix of different shades of red, pink and white. Thus, a variety of fruit, harvested from one of the trees in one week, in August 2011.

Van Aken had produced 16 Trees of 40 Fruit, installed in a variety of private and public locations, including community gardens, museums, and private collections. In the chip grafting technique, which involves cutting the buds off a fruit tree and having them heal to the lateral branches of a rootstock tree? Branches from the different fruit trees grow off of the rootstock, which is naturally a tree variety natural to the area's climate and soil. This lets fruit to be grown in areas that might not otherwise support that type of tree.

In 2008, he was looking for specimens to create a multicolored blossom tree as an art project; then he acquired the 3 acres orchard of the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, which was closing due to funding cuts. He started to graft buds from more than 250 heritage varieties grown there, some unique, onto a stock tree. Therefore, the tree was nourishing over the course of 5 years the tree accumulated branches from forty different "donor" trees, each with a different fruit, including almond, apricot, cherry, and nectarine, peach, nectarines, and plum varieties. He has plans to populate a city orchard with the trees.

Van Aken tries to include local fruits on each of his trees, as well as varieties that aren't commercially available. And once they happened upon one of these trees, they would start to question ‘Why are the leaves shaped differently?’ ‘Why are they different colors? So, Van Aken's trees can be found in Arkansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Butterfly Winter Sleepers

The cold weather of winter poses a major problem to many creatures. The peacock, small tortoiseshell and brimstone are three butterflies which opt for hibernation in the adult form until spring. The beautiful peacock and small tortoiseshell butterflies that feed on Michelmas daisies in autumn gardens are the same butterflies that will be out and about searching for flowers on the first sunny, warm day of the New Year. The peacock and small tortoiseshell are usually up and about in March. However, the brimstone, which favors the flowers of the woodland rides, can often be seen much earlier particularly in the south of England even in January if the weather is suitable.

These butterflies live for about nine months in their adult stage, much of this time spent in hibernating sleep. Other butterflies have different methods of coping with winter; a few migrate to warmer climates where nectar is available. While others survive the winter in the inactive egg or chrysalis stage or hibernate in the caterpillar stage.

Butterflies need the sweet energy rich nectar from flowers to give them strength to fly and help them survive their hibernation through the long winter months. During this inactive state their energy consumption is minimal, so they can survive without further food. As a protection against the cold, some sugar in their blood is converted to glycerol which works rather like anti-freeze in car radiators.

Hibernating time starts in late autumn the peacocks, small tortoiseshells and brimstones search for a safe dry dark place where they will be protected from winter frosts. Usually peacocks find a hollow tree, although they will sometimes tuck themselves in a wood pile or a corner of a garden shed. Small tortoiseshells choose similar places, but tare also quite likely to come indoors. A hideaway in a little used from is safer than a hollow tree; there are no birds to eat them while they sleep. Brimstones seek dense, ever green cover in their woodland surroundings and particularly thick growths of ivy or holly which offer protection.

The butterflies often bury themselves among dead leaves. At rest, the bright wing colors are hidden only the underside, looking like a dried up leaf, is visible. This gives the butterflies particularly good camouflage. The peacock has a spectacular defense mechanism which it uses if it is disturbed from rest. Opening its wings, it creates an alarming hissing noise as the front and hind wings rub across each other, revealing huge eye sports. A small bird, startled by the hiss and then confronted by large owl like eyes, will usually fly off, leaving the butterfly to go back to sleep.

With the first spring sunshine in late March the peacocks and tortoiseshells awake from hibernation; individual peacocks can be seen much earlier in fine weather, when they come out for a short flight. Although the brimstones may be tempted to stir as early as January they return to hibernate until later. Sometimes tortoiseshells hibernating indoors also wake too early, perhaps because the heating is switched on in a spare bedroom. If you see a tortoiseshell fluttering at a window in midwinter, put it in a cool shed or garage where it can go back to sleep until spring really arrives. There are small migrations of tortoiseshells from abroad which augment our own butterflies.

The new brood of adult brimstones emerges in July and August and spends most of the day feeding. It shows a distinct preference for purple flowers, particularly those of the thistle, knapweed, scabious, bramble and clover. The new brood of adult tortoiseshells, which emerges in late June or July, lays eggs to produce a second brood in August and September; this feeds on most garden flowers, especially ice plant and buddleia, and is the overwintering brood. The peacocks emerge later in August and are numerous in gardens there they feed on buddleia and in fields where they feed on Lucerne, thistle, knapweed, marjoram and clover.

Remember that you need more than flowers to attract butterflies to your garden. An undisturbed corner of a shed will give the butterflies somewhere safe to hibernate and a patch of nettles in a sunny corner of the garden will feed the caterpillars which will turn into chrysalides and eventually become the next generation of butterflies.

Life Cycle of peacocks and small tortoiseshells:

Butterflies go through four stages the egg the rapidly feeding and growing caterpillar the chrysalis and the adult butterfly. A peacock takes one year to complete a cycle but the small tortoiseshell caterpillar has less growing to do and there is time for two broods each year. The summer brood lives only a few weeks as butterflies.

Egg: after feeding for few days from spring flowers, peacocks and tortoiseshells mate and then the females search for stinging nettles on which to lay eggs.

Caterpillar: when the eggs hatch the crowd of young caterfpillars spins a single silk tent in which they all live as they feed and grow.

Chrysalis: the fully grown caterpillars crawl away to find a fence or branch from which they can hang down while they turn into chrysalides’.
Butterfly: Within a few weeks the glistening adult emerges fully grown. The butterflies die several weeks after mating and laying their eggs.

Monday, 19 February 2018

The Llangernyw Yew: The Oldest Living Thing in Europe

The Llangernyw Yew is an ancient yew in the village of Llangernyw, Conwy, North Wales. The yew is fragmented and its core part has been lost, leaving numerous huge offshoots. The girth of the tree at the ground level is 10.75 m, split trunk section where the church oil tank was formerly located. The Llangernyw Yew is an ancient tree, ad its cleft trunk appears as a living portal to the world of the dead, with a small field of tombstones resting just on the other side of wooded gateway. The Llangernyw Yew was planted sometime in the prehistoric Bronze Age and amazingly it's still growing.

This male yew tree lives in the churchyard of St. Digain's, very hard to determine the age of yew trees. Although the churchyard gate holds a certificate from the Yew Tree Campaign in 2002, according to all the data the tree is dated to between 4,000 and 5,000 years old. There is an alternative theory that presumes the tree is only as old as the adjacent saint site, which would make it around 1,500 years old. In the mid-1990s the church oil tank stood in the space between the two trunk fragments; however, this was moved when it was realized that the tree was ancient. The yew is designated one of the fifty Great British trees in recognition of its place in national heritage.

When this tank was built a lot of the dead wood was removed from the site which makes dating the age of the tree more difficult for dendrochronologists. This makes the Llangernyw Yew a likely candidate for one of the oldest still-standing trees in Great Britain. Due in no small part to this, the yew was designated as one of the Fifty Great British Trees in 2002. Local says the church of Llangernyw is inhabited by an ancient spirit known as “Angelystor”. Every year on Halloween and 31 July the spirit is said to appear in the church and solemnly announces, in Welsh, the names of those parish members who will die within the year.

Friday, 26 January 2018

The Mummy of “Nodosaur Dinosaur”

The Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Alberta, Canada unveiled “Nodosaur” Dinosaur Mummy with skin and gust intact, you can’t even see its bones. But yet scientists are hailing it as maybe the best-preserved dinosaur specimen ever discovered. The 110 million years later, those bones remain covered by the creature’s intact skin and armor. Back in 2011, a heavy equipment operator by the name of Shawn Funk, who works for energy company Suncor in Alberta, was drilling crude oil sands when he abruptly uncovered walnut brown rocks that looked like ribs. The dinosaur is so well-preserved that numerous have taken to calling it not a fossil, but an honest-to-goodness “dinosaur mummy. However, the creature’s skin, armor, and even some of its guts intact, researchers are amazed at its nearly unprecedented level of preservation.
The dinosaur, with fossilized skin and gut contents intact, came from the Millennium Mine six years ago in the oil sands of northern Alberta, once a seabed. That sea was full of life, teeming with huge reptiles that grew as long as 60 feet, while its shores were traversed by enormous dinosaurs for millions of years. The area has been coughing up fossils since the beginning of recorded time. Cabel Brown a researcher said we don’t just have a skeleton; even we have a dinosaur as it would have been. When this dinosaur a member of a new species named “nodosaur” was alive, it was a huge four-legged herbivore protected by a spiky, plated armor and weighing in at approximately 3,000 pounds. The mummified “nodosaur” remain so intact is still something of a mystery may have been swept away by a flooded river and carried out to sea, where it eventually sank.
Over millions of years on the ocean floor, minerals took the place of the dinosaur’s armor and skin, preserving it in the lifelike form now on display. Moreover, the “nodosaur” was so well-preserved; getting it into its current display form was still an arduous undertaking. The creature was, in fact, first discovered in 2011 when a crude oil mine worker accidentally discovered the specimen while on the job. Since that lucky moment, it has taken researchers 7,000 hours over the course of the last six years to both test the remains and prepare them for display at the Royal Tyrrell Museum, where visitors now have the chance to see the closest thing to a real-life dinosaur that the world has likely ever seen.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

“Stuckie” The Mummified Dog

Well, 50 years ago a dog went up a tree chasing a racoon or perhaps for something. Unfortunately he never came down. Thus, fast forward 20 years. But, that’s exactly what a team of loggers with the Georgia Kraft Corp. found, while cutting down a chestnut oak tree in the 1980s, somewhere in a forest in the state of Georgia, the United States of America. When they sawed off the trunk, they were stunned to discover the mummified corpse of a dog entombed inside.
Furthermore, the kind of tree that the dog had lodged itself in was exclusively qualified to lend itself to the natural mummification process. Chestnut oaks contain tannins, which are used in taxidermy and tanning to treat animal pelts so that they don’t decay. The tannins from the inside of the tree seeped out into the dog and prevented it from rotting inside. Actually, the dog had chased his prey down a hollow in the tree where it became stuck and then died of starvation.
Moreover, dry conditions inside the hollow of the tree endorsed the corpse to dry without rotting. The upward draft of air seemingly carried the scent of the dead animal away, so it wasn't devoured by insects or other creatures. The tannic acid of the oak, which is a natural desiccant, also supported to absorb the moisture and hardened the animal's skin. In its place of pulping the log, the loggers donated it whole with the dog still stuck inside to the Southern Forest World, a museum in Waycross dedicated to the history of forestry, where it remains on display. The mummified dog, teeth still bared in a fight for survival.
No one knows how Stuckie got stuck, but experts think he has been stuck since 1960. From the last 20 years or so, the dog was called simply "Mummified Dog." But in 2002, the museum ran a name-the-dog contest, and the name "Stuckie" was chosen. The innocent four-year-old dog has been known by that name since then.

Monday, 22 January 2018

The Strange Satisfying Food Photos

Well, food presentation, or “plating” has long been a vital aspect to dining across many cultures. The dawn of the Instagram era has seemingly taken it to another level. So, in the recent times, dining out can feel like a trip to a tourist landmark. Thus, dishes are wisely documented and curated for the visual pleasure of virtual diners on social media. Though, ornamental the aesthetic appeal of food is not just the domain of chefs in fancy restaurants.

Occasionally the humble green-grocer on the corner will take great pride in his produce, and prudently arrange his fruit and vegetables in a pleasing manner for his customers. Perhaps you unintentionally made a pancake that arranged itself into a triumph of geometry, or more often than not, but Mother Nature was just awesome and produced the sexiest damn onion you have ever seen. Here the compiled list of the most gorgeous grub we could find, whether it’s gratifyingly symmetrical or just plain tasty-looking!

Friday, 19 January 2018

Stunning Rare Bird’s Eye View of American Landscape

From mountains to the sea, stunning aerial pictures offer rare bird's-eye view of the landscape across the United States. Talented photographer “Jassen Todorov” took the aerial images of rivers, lakes and mountains to show a different angle to American life than skyscrapers and fast food outlets. Some of the destinations that have photographed from such a height include rock formations in Utah, the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Tiny Islands in Florida and Yosemite National Park.

Jassen Todorov said, I’ve been exploring the United States from above for the past four years - I love flying and photographing remote locations and most of them are not accessible by any other means. A far as me, flying is a spiritual experience and sharing these photographs with others gives me great pleasure. I fly my 1976 Piper Warrior airplane while photographing - it's a four seater 150 HP single engine plane. Therefore, so many astonishing places here in the US. We have remarkable deserts, mountains, glacier, lakes, canyons and man-made structures.