The Tafari

22
Dec, 14

Winter Solstice

The winter solstice is the time at which the Sun is at its southernmost point in the sky appearing at noon at its lowest altitude above the horizon. The winter solstice usually occurs on December 21 to 22 each year in the Northern Hemisphere, and June 20 to 21 in the Southern Hemisphere.

The axial tilt of Earth and gyroscopic effects of the planet’s daily rotation keep the axis of rotation pointed at the same point in the sky. As the Earth follows its orbit around the Sun, the same hemisphere that faced away from the Sun, experiencing winter, will, in half a year, face towards the Sun and experience summer. Since the two hemispheres face opposite directions along the planetary pole, as one polar hemisphere experiences winter, the other experiences summer. More evident from high latitudes, a hemisphere’s winter solstice occurs on the shortest day and longest night of the year, when the sun’s daily maximum elevation in the sky is the lowest.

Since the winter solstice lasts only a moment in time, other terms are often used for the day on which it occurs, such as “midwinter”, “the longest night”, “the shortest day” or “the first day of winter”. The seasonal significance of the winter solstice is in the reversal of the gradual lengthening of nights and shortening of days.

The Benefits of Snow

A major benefit of a good snow cover is snow functions as an excellent insulator of the soil. Without snow, very cold temperatures can freeze the soil deeper and deeper. This could lead to damage of root systems of trees and shrubs.

The insulation effect of snow also helps protect perennials, bulbs, ground covers, and strawberry plantings from alternating freezing and thawing cycles. Without snow, milder temperatures and the sun could warm the soil surface, leading to damage from soil heaving, which can break roots and dry out plant parts. Snow also helps conserve soil moisture over the winter.

If you have not yet mulched perennial beds, with snow, you may not have to. If little snow is on the beds, however, it would be good to mulch. Evergreen branches are a good material choice. Straw is another suitable material. Mulches could be applied over existing snow.

Also, Snow highlights the bare architectural structure of your garden without the distraction of colorful blossoms or the various textures of plants.

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18
Dec, 14
14
Dec, 14

 

“The multiple properties which are found in the earth are found in man, and the fruits, grains, nuts, and vegetables contain the same elements which are in the earth, and in man. When a plant based nutrition is consumed in their proper state and not perverted and robbed of their life-giving properties in their preparation, health, beauty, and happiness will be the sure reward.” – Rasta

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09
Dec, 14

Cockpit Country

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09
Dec, 14

Jamaican Sorrel

SORREL: (Hibiscus Sabdariffa)
PART USED: Flower.
MEDICINAL PROPERTIES: Sorrel contains a range of vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, Calcium, niacin, ribloflvin and flavonoids. Flavonoids, which give the sorrel flower its deep red color, have been recognized as a powerful antioxidant and a likely contributor to cancer health as well as improved immune function. In addition, sorrel is thought to have a mild diuretic effect and the ability to reduce high blood pressure.

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04
Dec, 14

“Let food be one’s medicine and let medicine be one’s food.”

-Rasta

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04
Dec, 14

WestSide

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30
Nov, 14

BlackBerry

BLACKBERRY: (Rubus)
PART USED: Fruit, Seeds.
MEDICINAL PROPERTIES: Blackberries are notable for their high nutritional contents of dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid (a B vitamin), and the essential mineral manganese. Also rank highly among fruits for antioxidant strength, particularly due to their dense contents of polyphenolic compounds, such as ellagic acid, tannins, ellagitannins, quercetin, gallic acid, anthocyanins and cyanidins. The seeds contain some oil which is rich in omega-3 and, as well as some protein, dietary fiber, carotenoids, ellagitannins and ellagic acid.

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28
Nov, 14

Flashback: Temperate Forest

When people hear the word ”rainforest” they most likely think of the lush jungle plants, colorful birds, high humidity, and heavy rainfall of tropical rainforests. These forests are found in Southeast Asia, Africa, South America, and Central America in countries such as Panama. But there is another kind of rainforest, called the temperate rainforest that exists right in the United States along the coastline of the Pacific Northwest and in Canada, and Alaska. Temperate rainforests are formed in the Pacific Northwest because the coastal mountain ranges in Washington, Oregon, and Northern California trap the air masses full of moisture that rise from the Pacific Ocean. As this moisture condenses into rain it creates lush rainforests with trees like the Coastal Redwood in California that grow to enormous sizes and a biomass that exceeds that of the tropical rain forests.

Temperate rainforests receive from 1,500 to 5,000 millimeters (60 to 200 inches) of rain a year. The climate is mild because the same mountains that block the ocean moisture help protect the rainforest from extremes in the weather.

There are two seasons in the rainforest; one long, wet season where the temperatures rarely drop to freezing and one short dry season when the temperatures rarely exceed 80. Even in the dry season the climate is cool and cloud-covered with fog providing the necessary moisture to nourish the rainforest

Two-thirds of all temperate rainforests are in the Pacific Northwest. The trees grow to enormous sizes since the winters are mild and the rain is abundant. Many epiphytes are found in the temperate rain forests. Epiphytes are plants that grow on other plants. The maple trees have more epiphytes than any other tree and researchers cannot yet explain why. The maples here are covered with club mosses. Other trees have ferns, lichen, and mosses hanging from their branches. There is a fine mist in the air. The forest is always damp with water dripping from the tree branches and sunlight filtering through the canopy onto the forest floor.

Like the tropical rainforest, the temperate rainforest is divided into layers. The topmost layer is called the canopy, which is dominated by tall evergreen conifers. Because of the heavy rain and mild temperatures, these conifers enjoy maximum year-round growth and reach record heights and girth. Coastal redwood giants in California have reached heights of over 300 feet (the height of a 30 story building!). There are four additional conifers that grow in the rainforest. The next tallest is the Douglas Fir (up to 280 feet), followed by the Sitka Spruce (230 feet), the Western Red Cedar (200 feet), and the Western Hemlock (130 feet). Some of these trees may be up to 500 to 1000 years old and the trunk can be more than 100 feet around! Beneath the canopy is the understory. In this layer are found small shade-loving trees, such as the dogwood with its’ beautiful pink and white flowers, and vine maples. Ferns, salal, and berry shrubs grow in the filtered sunlight beneath the small trees.

On the forest floor, the lowest layer, there is a thick covering of lowgrowing lichens, mosses, small plants, wildflowers, and grasses. The ground is covered with conifer needles, leaves, branches, twigs, and fallen organic matter. Mosses and algae cover the rocks, tree trunks, and branches. Everything feels rich and moist and is very green on the forest floor. This shady, rich environment allows many varieties of mushrooms, toadstools, and other fungi to thrive.

The soil here is especially full of nutrients because there is much organic material on the ground being broken down by decomposers such as bacteria and insects. Because the temperatures are cool, the material is broken down and recycled much more slowly than in the tropical rain forest. Scientists have measured more living things in each square yard of this forest than anywhere else on Earth. When a huge tree degrades and falls onto the forest floor, small seedlings often take root on the horizontal trunk and it becomes a nurse log nurturing the tiny plants. They are called nurse logs, because young trees grow on the top mossy surface of the fallen trees. These fallen logs make a moist, soggy habitat for mosses, ferns, lichens, and new tree seedlings. Colonnades may form after the nurse log has completely disintegrated. Trees can also be found standing on “stilts” because they first sprouted on stumps of degraded trees and as they grew over time, the stumps decayed leaving the tree standing only on the roots.

Most of the animals in the temperate rainforest live on or near the forest floor. Here, the understory and canopy provide protection from the wind and rain and most of the food is found there. Cones drop from the trees with nutrient rich seeds, which are eaten by birds and small animals such as voles (mouse-like creatures) and chipmunks. Insects live in the mossy floor and tree bark. Birds and amphibians feed on the insects. Deer feed on the grass and leaves of the under story. Many amphibians live in the streams and ponds and salmon are important consumers.

The differences in temperature and rainfall, the temperate and tropical rainforests are very different places. The trees, the plants, the structure of the forest, the animals that live there, and even the type of soil are so different that if you stood in the middle of each forest, you would have no trouble telling which forest you were in just by looking around and observing!

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28
Nov, 14