Saturday, February 15, 2014

Diversions

This week like much of the Eastern US, we received more snow, and it is actually snowing as I write this post!  I snapped several fun snow pictures for you, but I want to depart from snow related posts to share some cool websites that I recently discovered.  

I believe this Red Oak is just 1 mile from my house.
It is listed on the Notable Trees of Connecticut website, tree # 24001.
Photo by Marty Aligata (Dec 11, 2010) from the website

I found the Notable Trees of Connecticut website while doing research for a dendrology nature program last Saturday.  Connecticut has a rich history of valuing trees, in fact the Charter Oak tree is on the back of the State's quarter.  The Notable Tree Project was established in 1985, and people nominate trees by measuring height, circumference, and average spread of the branches.  If the tree is big enough, official measurements are taken and the tree is registered.  The website is well organized; you can search by tree species, town, tallest, biggest, or just scan the list of trees.  Not all the trees' locations are listed since some are on private land, but I think I've located a Red Oak near my house that is on the list.  There is also a National Register of big trees.  I found several Arizona trees on that list, and you can nominate trees, too.  I already love finding huge trees, and this website really got me wanting to nominate a tree!

My Garden plan, lots of tomatoes, peas, peppers, greens, carrots, and herbs!

While the snow is beautiful, I am eagerly looking forward to spring and starting my new garden!  I am told the original owned Mr. Oliver Bolduc always had a big garden, often had veggies to share with the neighbors, and there might be some rhubarb mounds still out back.  There is already a 20 x 30 foot space with poles up for attaching deer fencing (I'm sure the deer and other critters are eager for me to start my garden, too).  I am already enjoying time planning all the plants I want to put in the dirt as soon as I am able. In my dreaming, I found Smartgardener a free website with a lot of fun tools and information.  After you sign up, you can map your garden, pick vegetables and herb varieties, and set a to do list (not that there's a lot to do currently).  There is a journal to keep track of what you end up planting, how things do, what problems you encountered, and other notes. When you click on a plant variety, the website gives you information on that plant, alerts you if it is a bad choice for your area, and there are also links to buy the selected varieties of seeds, which I assume is why the program is free.  I could have done all this in a traditional notebook, but the map I got is very neat, is easy to change, comes with appropriate spacing for each plant, and everything is in one place.

Screen shot of the tomato varieties listed.