Seasonal Theme On My Website!

I thought since it is now autumn, I would create an autumn-like theme on my website. I changed the background color to look like the color of some leaves and changed the front cover image to a picture I took last year. That picture was taken last autumn. Interestingly, if you look in the background of the picture, you can see one of our chickens (it’s rather blurry though)!

I hope you enjoy the new theme!

Update 10-27-14

I figured I should go a farm update today, since I haven’t done one in myriad days. My chickens are doing well, all happy and healthy. They seem to have gotten standoffish towards me, which troubles me. Also, Sebastian and Koki have been quarreling the past few weeks, I’m hoping I won’t have to give one of them away.

Another somewhat exciting event is, yesterday, I was elected the vice president of my 4-H club! I’m happy I’ve leveled up from last year, which I was the historian (also known as the photographer). I am greatly excited about 4-H this year, and I’m hoping next year I’ll be president (or at least run for president). I was originally going to run for president this year, but I devised it would be best to take vice president, as I could get some experience as being the back-up president every-once-in-a-while, and not get ahead of myself. It would be difficult to jump from the responsibility of the historian to the president between only one year anyway.

The weather has not been pleasant lately. The rain has been falling torrentially and, surprisingly, we have a hurricane (or a tropical storm), hurricane Ana, heading our way. Hurricanes seldom come here so it is strange. I don’t think it is a strong hurricane, but I’ll just be hoping for the best!

Here is a fitting quote from a song:

“Storm clouds in the sky/Perfect weather said goodbye/And you ask me, “Am I okay?”/ Isn’t it obvious, looking like I’m such a mess/Not gonna let it ruin my day/…Bring on the hurricane/ Whatever comes my way/ I’m not gonna let the rain, let the rain bring me down/You make the sun shine and push the clouds out of the way/…You can be my sunshine and we can radiate”     –Radiate by Tricia

Please leave a comment, I’d love to hear what you think!

Fascinating Fungi: What You Probably Didn’t Know About Fungi

Out of the copious organisms on earth, people tend to over look the “fascinating fungus.” If you ask someone what a fungus is, they will say, “It’s a mushroom.” Fungi aren’t just mushrooms! In fact, most fungi aren’t even mushrooms! Fungi is a diverse kingdom, full of interesting facts most people do not know.

First, I will mention the most common fact most people don’t know about fungus, specifically mushrooms: the top of a mushroom is not the main part of the mushroom! The stalk, cap, and gills (the above-ground part of the mushroom) only form to reproduce, but it really isn’t the mushroom! The main part of the mushroom is the mycelia. Mycelia appear like roots on a tree, but function totally different. Mycelia function as the feature used for digestion. They don’t absorb water like roots, but they digest through extracellular digestion. First, they put chemicals on needed nutrients, those chemicals break down the nutrients. Once the nutrients have been broken down, they are absorbed by the hypha (filaments of the mycelium), and covert those nutrients to energy needed to support the fungus. This means, if you kick a mushroom, knock off the stalk and the cap, you don’t kill the mushroom! It will simply grow back.

Second, fungi are more than just mushrooms! There are parasitic fungi that usually live on plants (although they can infect other organisms), slime molds (although there is a dispute on whether they are fungi or protists), shelf fungi, yeasts, and many more. Mushrooms are only in one of the five phyla in kingdom fungi, Basidiomycota. Kingdom fungi is one of the most diverse kingdoms, so there would, of course, be much more organisms than simply mushrooms.

Third, fungi are not purposeless! Many organisms people consider pointless. However, every organism on earth has a purpose. Fungi’s purpose is to decompose other organisms. A tree can lose about forty pounds of leaves ever year; if a tree continued at this pace, within a few years it would choke itself with its own leaves. Fungi, however, can root their mycelia into areas needing leaf decomposing. Also, fungi (as well as bacteria) decompose other dead organisms, in other words, they are saprophytic. Saprophytic organisms decompose dead organisms to sustain them, but it also creates more space. If organisms never decomposed, there would be dead organisms everywhere.

Fourth, there is a reason why people don’t grow or simply go out and pick mushrooms. Sometimes, people think it is a simple dogma, being untrue. To put it succinctly: it IS true! There are species of mushrooms looking exactly the same, yet one is esculent, but the other is poisonous. Even experts will sometimes pick poisonous mushrooms. So, always eat mushrooms from the store.

Kingdom fungi, out of all of the kingdoms, I think is the most fascinating. Unfortunately, although with protists, they seem to be the least known. I would encourage you to further your knowledge of fungi, there is much to learn! Fungi is a truly captivating subject, being a spectacularly diverse kingdom.

220px-Amanita_muscaria_(fly_agaric)

 

An Amanita muscaria mushroom. Picture provided by: Wikipedia.org

Malaria: A Disease That Creates A Problem In Both Humans and Chickens

I’m sure at least once you heard the word Malaria. You, most likely, do now know much about Malaria. I hope this article will inform you on the subject. Malaria creates problems in humans, as well as chickens; it has an intriguing cause, process, and prevention.

Malaria is caused by an organism that most people don’t get sick from, a protist. The protist causing Malaria is classified in kingdom Protista subkingdom Protozoa, phylum Sporozoa (a phylum that contains all pathogenic and parasitic organisms) , and genus Plasmodium (which is what I will refer to them as). In most cases where protozoa infects other large organisms, it is by drinking contaminated water. However, it is not transmitted that way.

The process of Malaria is intriguing, as well as disturbing. First, the transmitter of the Plasmodia are mosquitos. Mosquitos ingest the Plasmodia, the plasmodia reproduce, and move to the salivary gland. Once a mosquito bites a human or a chicken, it injects a paucity of the Plasmodia. The Plasmodia then travel through the bloodstream and enter the liver, where they reproduce. Once they have reproduced, the Plasmodia travel back into the bloodstream. Then, they enter red blood cells, reproduce in them until they burst full of small Plasmodia. This process continues and causes few symptoms in chickens until death; and a fever, trembling, chills, and death in humans. One terrible part is, all it takes is a mosquito to bite an infected organism, it ingests the Plasmodia, and the circle continues.

There is no “real” prevention for Malaria. You cannot exactly make a vaccine for Malaria, since it isn’t caused by a bacteria or virus like most vaccines are used; as far as I know, there is no vaccine for Malaria. The only way to prevention Malaria is to decrease mosquito population, which is hard, and not always affective.

Malaria has been a worldwide problem for so long, I think everyone should be informed about this highly pathogenic disease, even if it isn’t prevalent in more developed countries. I hope now, you are more informed about Malaria, to help people, chickens, and other organisms that are greatly affected by this disease.220px-Mosquito_2007-2

A mosquito, the transmitter that causes Malaria. Picture provided by: Wikipedia