Photo by Markku Hirvenoja on Aug. 19 in Vojakkala, Loppi, Finland. Credit: Markku Hirvenoja
Scientists say that the next solar cycle of activity is close-by; read Backward Sunspot at NASA to check out the sunspot that may be starting the whole process.
In the meantime, this large sunspot, named Active Region 904, has been sputtering on for days on end. After watching it rotate into view on Aug. 9, it finally popped off a modest (C-class) flare and associated coronal mass ejection (CME) on Aug. 17 when it had rotated into a location where it practically faced Earth. Solar flares and CMEs -- associated giant clouds of plasma in space -- are the largest explosions in the solar system and can pack the force of a billion megaton nuclear bombs. They are caused by the buildup and sudden release of magnetic stress in the solar atmosphere above the giant magnetic poles we see as sunspots.
Zantedeschia aethiopica - giant arum lily or common arum lily
Zantedeschia is a genus native to southern Africa from South Africa to Malawi. It grows continuously when watered and fed continuously and can survive periods of minor frosts. Z. aethiopica is a very strong and sturdy plant, being able to grow in many soils and habitats, multiplying by rhizome-offsets; it is naturalised and regarded as a weed throughout the world. It is also commonly called calla lily, confusing as it is the scientific name of the related genus Calla.
These have been among the few joys of my temporary garden but new fields will be opening soon.
Orchard sprinklers caught in the tractor lights. - Hopland, '75
It wasn't until I came to California that I heard the terms "Grape Ranch" and "Pear Ranch". When I was growing up east of the divide, if you grew plants you were a farmer; if you raised stock, you had a ranch.