Category Archives: Plants and Gardens

Fish aren’t vegetables, are they?


This is my own work, Photo by Gila Brand. Bask...

Many changes have been made to taxonomy since I was a schoolboy and had a basic grasp of what went in what kingdom, phylum, class, order, family and genus, but when I last checked, fish STILL weren’t vegetables.

I don’t want to get unduly Aristotelian, Linnean, Cladistic or othewise dogmatic about it, but I think it stands to reason that vegetables include many things, but rather not fish.

I understand that you can debate about whether a tomato is fruit or a vegetable.  Or that a mushroom is a fungus rather than a vegetable, and also that nori is made of algae and green drinks from spirogyra so even these things are not really “vegetables” either, so one has to be a bit flexible with the definition of what is a vegetable when following a vegetarian diet. Basically, though, if something can move around at will, an individual going from place to place, it’s highly likely that it isn’t a vegetable. There are some corals which don’t get out much, and are still animals, but there aren’t really any vegetables which go walkies – not outside the novels of John Wyndham like the Triffids, anyhow.

So why, then, am I continually being offered things like tuna and herrings when I say that I am a vegetarian in Poland? Do people here genuinely believe that fish are vegetables? Do they think that tuna and herrings photosynthesise and put down roots or something? What’s up with these phoney fish vegetables people give offering me here?

From my garden this afternoon (from Android phone)


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Convulvulus in flower, and the bees are out in force. Leaning on the sides of the tunnel, they seem almost drunk on the nectar.

Secret Life in Lavender (Currently Uploaded Video)


This one shows, to the background of a couple of Thai songs which are highly unlikely to get me done for using music the way that western music is prone to do, some beautiful insects using the lavendar bush next to our holiday cottage. There were bees and hummingbird moths in this film, there were also cabbage white butterflies, hoverflies and other insects on that bush during our week, but nothing as impressive as the hummingbird moth Macroglossa.

Underneath it one evening I also found a toad, which I allowed to remain there undisturbed.

It’s amazing how much life can exist around one bush of lavender.

Pool Concert (CUV)


World map that show the status of YouTube in c...

You Tube political acceptance/resistance map

We’re continuing the footage from our 2010 summer holiday, which is only now, six months later, appearing on YouTube – such being the effects of the new “hundred rule” I’ve implemented. At least we have a bit of summer in winter time.

In this video my aunty and uncle appeared from several hours drive further south in France where they live and stayed a few days. Sophie decided to give a bit of a concert in the pool and some feats of swimming.

And here’s the result.

OK, Poll time. You heard some Abba on this, and you could see how it bridges three generations. Now the question:

He’s not heavy – he’s her brother!


We went out for a walk among the sunflowers to use up George’s energy, but in the end when he flagged it was Sophie who ended up using her energy. Pretty strong she is too for a little girl. I think she gets it from her mother…

Poolside by Day (CUV)


The fifth in a series of about 20 quite varying videos from our Summer holiday this year, currently uploaded to YT.

A Hummingbird Hawk-moth

Hummingbird Hawk Moth

You won’t believe the insect in this film – I really had to stop and think whether it was a moth or a hummingbird!

The location is not being disclosed at this time. It may be disclosed in a passworded post later on.

This is because it’s too good. If people knew what good value for money this was, I wouldn’t get a look in.

It’s near Tours, that’s all I’m sayin’. Knawm sayin’?

Autumn Thoughts


An aerial view of the colorful autumn forest

Fall as it is known in America

Autumn, that season which my American readers will more readily refer to as “Fall”, is obviously one of four seasons in the year and therefore ought to have three months, since obviously twelve divided by four is three. It wouldn’t be fair if one season had more time and the others less.

But when exactly does Autumn begin? In some parts of the Northern hemisphere they say it’s September, October and November, and that’s the most common definition. In the southern hemisphere they say March, April and May, which mirrors that. In North America, however, they started to measure it from the September equinox. There is also a Celtic tradition which calls August to October the Autumn months – so why the discrepancies? Why isn’t there an objective Autumn?

I can’t find any links for this online, but as memory serves, one time a famous scientist was asked by a television interviewer to define the start and close of Autumn, and he said the following “Botanically speaking, autumn starts when the leaves start to fall off the trees, and finishes when they have all fallen off”.

I found this problematic, as there are trees which have some leaves left on all winter. However, this year as I look out of my window I see that all the leaves that are going to fall off trees – at least the ones around here, are already gone. There’s no sign of leaves on any of them, and it’s only the first week of November – the month whose name in Polish means “the falling of the leaves” – ‘listopad’.

The reason is fairly clear though. The last few days have had a warm but strong wind, which I have quite enjoyed walking around in. It was 16 degrees one day but people were in the main wrapped up. I was in just a jacket and shirt and tie and didn’t feel the need for anything more than that, as I generally don’t until it gets below ten degrees centigrade. About a month ago it was quite a bit colder and last year at this time there had already been snow in Warsaw – although not yet in Moscow.

So we have an interesting thing – trees looking like it’s already winter and temperatures better than some that we had in the summer. I wonder what that bodes for the coming winter. A few weeks back I blogged here about the arguments being raised for a really cold winter this year. Could this early leaf-loss be a harbinger of what’s to come?

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