Monday 23 September 2013

John Bell leads Big Sing at Settle

Sunday 22 sept saw "The Big Sing" at Settle Parish Church led by John Bell of the Iona Community

People waiting in the church
Handing out the song sheets

By the time everyone came there were 150 people.
We sang some psalms set to modern words and music..

--the Lord will be your refuge (Psalm 94).. bearing in mind suffering elsewhere in the world - on a day when a church was stormed in Pakistan, and the supermarket shooting had taken place in Kenya

There was a song about women in the bible.

John Bell at the front
Group picture

Explaining the finer details

An opportunity to promote One World Week and CEL

We sang songs 
Thank you to all who came from Langcliffe singers, Settle Voices and all the Churches in Settle that made it such a good event

Saturday 21 September 2013

Bur Marigolds - Beggarticks

 I'll be adding text shortly
the fruit of the bur marigold do indeed look like ticks.

View from my knee down to my (wellingtoned) feet.

Friday 20 September 2013

Quiz: tree branches and leaves

This is the current display on the Hall notice board - Can you work out which trees these branches came from?

Saturday 7 September 2013

Agrostis gigantea - Black Bent

Grass of the Month for August  2013

Agrostis gigantea can be difficult to distinguish from other Agrostis's early in the year.

The individual spikelets are similar to other Agrostis spikelets - As in all Agrostises, the two glumes are longer than the single floret and normally enclose it.

Like other Agrostises, A gigantea has two glumes and one floret and
the lemma and the palea are both translucent.

 It is more of a lowland plant, where it can be a weed in arable situations.
The BSBI map shows it has not been found in the hectads east and north of Settle (mostly sheep grazed hills) - which perhaps explains why I do not see it often. - but it is common in the south.

As an arable weed it can be seen at fence boundaries, where it uses the fencing for support - it is a straggling pant. The fence also prevents the grass getting mown/ploughed up.

The emerging leaf is rolled, the stems are narrow, the blades are thin and narrow (2-7 mm wide), the ligule is medium to long,

It has a long ligule - this picture was taken at Tems Beck Giggleswick 30 June 2013

It has rhizomes.

Agrostis gigantea has rhizomes (Tems Beck)

It can be distinguished from other Agrostis's because:
Agrostis vinealis and Agrostis canina have very narrow leaves (less than 2 mm wide)
Agrostis capillaris (which has rhizomes) has has short ligules
Agrostis stolonifera (which has long ligules and blades 2-7 mm wide) has stolons not rhizomes. A stolonifera also has a rather small compact panicle with the panicle branches pointing up at an angle of 45 degrees.

As the year proceeds, A gigantea shoot grow longer and they branch 20 or 50 cm above ground with extravaginal branching - i.e. a side branch pokes a hole through the sheath and there are then two stems.

See a new shoot breaking though the sheath, 
on part of  the main shoot well above ground level.
(Tems Beck, 30 June 2013)

By flowering time (August) A gigantea has really big spreading panicles.

Here is a panicle. It is actually very big.
(Pot Hole Lane, Malham Tarn,  7 Aug 2013)
(See other months' grasses)

Friday 6 September 2013

Calamagrostis canescens - Purple Small-reed

Grass of the Month for September  2013

It’s not often I come across a new, or relatively new grass for me.

For the quick way to key out this grass go here..

Meanwhile I’ll tell you the circuitous route I took to work it out.

“We’re going to visit a tiny patch of fen with lots of Devil’s bit Scabious,” said Craig “and it’s between some willow carr and a sand dune. You’ll like it”

It was in central Yorkshire, just east of the Derwent Ings.

To get there we bumped along under the sun, in the landrover,  along tracks past interminable arable fields, then two fields growing grass turf (to roll up and sell in strips)..

 The soil was indeed made of sand. We piled out of the landrover and saw sandy weeds: Sand Spurry (white flowers),  Stork’s-bill (pink flowers), White Campion,

Then we dropped down to this moist peaty area – and saw the patch blue with Scabious (Succisa pratensis), yellow with Tormentil (Potentilla erecta) and white with Green-veined White butterflies. Valerian and Angelica had finished flowering. Two Small Copper butterflies fluttered by (and there was Common Sorrel in the field – their larva’s food plant)

 Star sedge, Pill sedge, Common sedge, Carnation sedge, Brown sedge,
     (Carex echinata, pilulifera, nigra, panacea, disticha,)
Heath Grass, Mat grass, lots of Sweet Vernal grass, Creeping Soft-grass, Brown Bent, Common Bent, Velvet Bent
      (Danthonia decumbens, Nardus stricta, lots of Anthoxanthum odoratum, Holcus mollis,
       Agrostis vinealis, Agrostis capilaris, Agrosis canina

and Blunt-leaved Bogmoss Sphagnum palustre,.

“National Vegetation Classification categogory M26b.  (When surveying the Dales, any wet meadow that came out interesting came out to M26b – so this is what it must be - well a mixture of that and maybe U4)”

Craig had left it the area unmown to let the Scabious flower – It was 3 Sept.

Then we continued a little lower to the mown area. “What is this more yellow green grass?” he asked.

I sat down next to the 10cm long, but nevertheless mown grass. There were extensive patches of it – and when I pulled it up, a tuft of several shoots came out, not just one shoot.

Newest leaves rolled, slender blades (less than 5mm wide) and stems, shortish but not very short ligule – APPARENTLY hairless – it seemed like an Agrostis – but was too big for Agrostis capillaris. Non-descript, emerging leaf rolled – that is like an Agrostis.
Yet it did not have any of the features I might expect for other “Slightly bigger than Agrostis grasses” that might be found growing here:

  • No swollen base for Phleum
  • No orange marks and knobbly bits at the shoot base for Arrhenatherum
  • Not a fat enough shoot and dark red lower sheaths and black base for Alopecurus
  • No auricles for Elymus repens or Hordeum secalinum

Then by the fence we saw very tall uncut plants – still very slender – and the panicles narrowly spreading like rolled up plastic Christmas trees – all the tiny spikelets had fallen off – perhaps it was Agrostis gigantea – Giant Bent -

Yes that plant is an arable weed and likes to grow where there is a fence to lean on.. It’s shoots were branching half way up as does Agrostis gigantea (though the sheaths opened to let the branch out whereas Agrostis gigantea is supposed to have any side branches poking a hole through the sheath.
Further round the corner, by the ditch there were extensive beds of this.  I had never seen such dense stands of Agrostis gigantea.

Then we noticed more inflorescences – and saw that the tiny spikelets had pappuses – pappi? Of hairs – like tiny dandelion clocks.

It’s Calamagrostis! I said. (And hazy memories of having found a Calamagrostis near the Pocklington Canal 23 years earlier came back)

Not Calamagrostis stricta  (Narrow small reed)as at Malham Tarn because that has the leaves  very stiff and strongly ribbed with minute hairs on them to give a bluish effect, and a very narrow upright panicle.

Not Calamagrostis epigejos (Wood Small-reed) because that has wide leaves, almost as wide as Phalaris (Reed Canary-grass), and is a pest in woods..  mind this Calamagrostis seemed to be spreading rather extensively..

We looked it up in the book and it was Calamagrostis canescens

And guess what – it has HAIRY leaves. Agrostis’s are never hairy -  I just had not looked carefully.
Since returning home I checked it in Poland and Clement:-

Lvs rolled | Auricles Absent | blades hairy above | sheaths hairless | sheaths open and overlapping – takes us to group HQ

Then strongly narrowed at base and wet habitats.
well definitely a wet habitat – but only slightly narrowed at the base.

Then strongly rhizomatous
Yes  there are great spreading beds of it now I look round – (You don’t get Agrostis gigantea in such beds, it’s much more scattered, and the shoots emerging more individually)

Now we have to split Calamgrostis purpurea (Scandinavian Small-read) from Calamagrostis canescens – Purple Small-reed:
 Calamagrostis canescens has slightly narrower leaves – 2.5 – 6mm (not 5-7mm)  and a slenderer culm – inflorescence stem  (1.5mm diameter - not 3mm diameter). And Canescens has a ligule that is 1 (-5) mm long, cilolate, obtuse, hairy, turning brown.
Ciliolate – the end of the ligule having lots of tiny hairs like an eyelash.  –let’s examine our specimen – yes it is!

Spiders made nests in the panicles

Not forgetting the brambles in the hedgerow as we left

Thursday 5 September 2013

One World Week in Settle (14-) 20-27 Oct 2013


One World Week Theme for 2013 is:
"More than enough?"

Download One World Week 2013 leaflet "More than enough?" (PDF)

Provisional Events in Settle (So far..):

Date   Location  Event Organiser
14 Oct
Townhead CourtThe Future of Tropical Forests - Illustrated talk with Dr Tim Baker, University of Leeds. At Townhead Court (across the road from Townhead Surgery) in Settle, entrance £3 (£1 for CCG members.) All welcome. Craven Conservation Group

20 Oct
St John's Church Hall, SettleThe Light of the World- Children's/Family Activities and cooked tea Messy Church
22 Oct
Friends Meeting HouseOne World Week Traidcraft Coffee Morning Traidcraft Group
23 Oct
St John's Church Hall, SettleLOAF Meal and talk by Christian Aid worker for our area Alex Jones on "More than enough if..."
Doors Open 6.30. Meal 6.45  Talk 7.30pm
Churches Together in Settle and District

Several private events are being organised this week too - e.g. a Japanese card making session.

What is One World Week?

One World Week is a Development Education Charity. Each year, "The Week" is an opportunity for people from diverse backgrounds to come together to learn about global justice, to spread that learning and to use it to take action for justice locally and globally.

Could you organise an event?

OWW in 2013 asks you to support or organise events that enable us to consider whether we:
• have had more than enough of consumer culture getting in the way of 
relationships with others in our communities and across the globe?
• have had more than enough of being deļ¬ned by what we possess?
• have had more than enough of seeing our planet irrevocably consumed?
• take more than enough ourselves?

Gosh! 100 years of Harber-Bosch! Without N fertilizer we’d have no nosh. (food)

It is exactly 100 years 
since we first became able
 to make Nitrogen Fertilizers 
on a large scale:-

I wonder why there is not more celebration of this fact?

Good article here

It is essential to the nourishment 
of at least 2 billion people
(i.e. the world population could not have increased from 5 billion to 7.1 billion without this)

We can rejoice!!

But look at the other fact:- 
Half of the nitrogen 
contained in the vast quantities of 
synthetic fertilizers now produced 
is not assimilated by the plants 
and is found in rivers
and atmosphere as volatile chemical compounds.[15][16]

and I would add.. in plants on walls and trees that like high concentrations of nitrogen compounds, such as this filamentous green alga Klebsormidium crenulatum
It looks like green velvet. It seems to do well on millstone grit but also on bark and slate.

(Links to other Klebsormidium crenulatum pages on this site)
Klebsormidium crenulatum on millstone grit wall

Klebsormidium crenulatum on slate tombstone
Cows, poultry farms and pig farms, especially intensive ones are a big source of ammonia and nitrous oxide    Nitrous oxide gives 6% of the greenhouse gas in UK.

Levels of nitrous oxide in the atmosphere have increased by an estimated 13% due to industrialisation and it is responsible for about 6% of global warming.

The main sources of nitrous oxide emissions are:
industrial processes

Nitrous oxide pollution from agriculture mainly comes from using inorganic nitrogen fertilisers and from storing manures.

From Wikipedia:- 

In 1913, barely a research team from BASF, led by Carl Bosch, developed the first industrial-scale application of the Haber process, sometimes called the Haber-Bosch process.
In the early twenty-first century, the effectiveness of the Haber process (and its analogues) is such that more than 99 percent of global demand for synthetic ammonia, a demand which exceeds 100 million tons annually, is satisfied thereby. Nitrogen fertilizers and synthetic products, such as urea and ammonium nitrate, are mainstays of industrial agriculture, and are essential to the nourishment of at least two billion people.[11][14]Industrial facilities using the Haber process (and it analogs) have a significant ecology impact. Half of the nitrogen contained in the vast quantities of synthetic fertilizers now produced is not assimilated by the plants and is found in rivers and atmosphere as volatile chemical compounds.[15][16]

...Makes you think....

Article on Harber Bosch