Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Buck Moon and Company

Photographed at 1:47:38 AM (EDT), about 2 hours 45 minutes past full. I used a 1/125-second exposure at f/8.

According to the Fiddlin' Owls Square Dance Club, "July is normally the month when the new antlers of buck deer push out of their foreheads in coatings of velvety fur. It was also often called the Full Thunder Moon, for the reason that thunderstorms are most frequent during this time. Another name for this month's Moon was the Full Hay Moon."

More captures of Selene, and sand, and slug....

Mary and I were about to begin our walk Sunday night when I spotted this yellow moon rising, less than 27 hours before Full.

Photographed at 8:43:05 PM (EDT), 2"5-second exposure at f/8.

Photographed at 8:44:49 PM (EDT), 1"6-second exposure at f/8.

We'd had torrential rains here on Friday night. Mary noticed this pattern of sand left after water gushed through the culvert that drains into our yard.

I took a small detail from it and played around in MS Photo Editor and MS Paint.

The three frame components are all color-sampled from the original photo.

Mary had also spotted what I believe is Leidyula floridana, the Florida Leatherleaf, one of three slug species native to this state (in addition to 11 species of slugs introduced from elsewhere). Slugs are in the Family Veronicellidae, Class Gastropoda.

It was hanging out on our walkway by the hedge, munching on pusley.

Today pusley is treated as a weed, but it was once considered nutritious fare and a cousin to spinach, according to our Oxford English Dictionary. We keep it around as ground cover because it helps keep our sandy soil in place. And its leaves and flowers are rather tasty. After sampling the plant ourselves we've left it to nourish bees and other pollinators who visit our yard. And Sluggo here. More slimy detail is in the large view (click the magnifying glass).

"Slugs have an important place in the ecosystem of the world," writes 15-year-old Shep, a winner in the American Museum of Natural History Young Naturalist Awards. His article, "The Slimy, Yet Special Slug," continues, "Most slugs are herbivores, eating fungi, lichens, green plants, shoots, roots, leaves, fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Slugs are also known for being scavengers; eating decaying vegetation, animal feces, and carrion....Slugs are also important to humans in lesser known ways. Currently the slug is being studied at the University of Washington. The biochemical properties and cellular mechanisms of the slug's mucus are under investigation. Researchers at the University believe that learning more about slug mucus could help in treating or curing human deficiencies involving mucus." Cystic fibrosis, for example.

"Slugs are hermaphroditic," adds the University of Florida, "but often the sperm and ova in the gonads mature at different times (leading to male and female phases). Slugs commonly cross fertilize and may have elaborate courtship dances."

And then some. Brooke L.W. Miller, a doctoral student at the University of California, Santa Cruz, is writing her thesis (with photos and videos) on the torrid sexual practices of the banana slug. Let me put it this way: it gives the phrase "Eat me!" a whole new meaning. I have yet to view the videos -- probably too slow for my dial-up and too XXX -- even though they're slugs -- for me to watch at the library.

I now have an inverter on order -- which will be part of the most ambitious computer repair job I've tackled to date. I've opened up the predecessor of this computer and maxed it out with upgrades, removing old components and installing new ones. Before I try any upcoming repairs I will spend however long is needed to clean up my studio, which is suffering badly from piles.

Along with the inverter I have ordered a handful of trackpoint covers. (Note to self: Remove the trackpoint cover before holding the computer upside-down and using a regular canister vacuum to clean the keyboard.) Unlike most laptops, which have touchpads, Lenovo (nee IBM) Thinkpads have a little fingertip-controllable trackpoint nestled among the G, H, and B keys. I far prefer trackpoints over touchpads. But the red, round trackpoint covers (think of a nose worn by a very little clown) are about the size of a kitty kibble. Fortunately, when mine came off it bounced away and hid in the carpet near the kitchen, though Mary hadn't found it until after I'd ransacked the vacuum bag in a cloud of dismembered dust bunnies.


Blogger Brenda Clews said...

I just finished Middlesex, so gender things are on the mind! Though not with slugs :)

Beautiful full moon photographs...

Hope you get that laptop up and running! My Win98, bless it, was snowed under with a noxious virus (downloaded by my daughter accidentally) that replicated so fast there wasn't enough room to open the utilities disc to re-format the hard drive! It took 5 hours last night to free up enough space to get in there. The relief when it finally started re-formatting was amazing! Mind you, I had nothing on the hard drive that I wanted to keep. The machine is cracked at the back, but still works like a charm. I have an unused PocketPC that I've always loaded onto it and then emailed files over that I miss and would like to use again...

The Toshiba Win98 laptop is from 1999, and has zero battery left... that's how 'used' it is! So far, touch wood, I've never had a computer actually break down. They seem to keep working just fine into the great good night...


Sending get well prayers and wishes to your computer...

8:59 AM  

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