Saturday, January 16, 2010

Ice on Golf Greens

Mild late-winter weather--including an entire afternoon of light rain Wednesday, January 14th, 2010--has led to a rather thick (5 mm, about 1/5 of an inch) coating of ice on Highlands' greens.

While the occurrence is relatively rare on this southslope property, low winter sun angle combined with virtually flat greens and mild temperatures, do create conditions that cause concern.

Nine years ago when the golf course was constructed, greens were seeded to Pencross bentgrass.  Over the years as the inevitable invasion of Poa annua occurred--via seed stuck into golf-shoe cleats--we've wondered how to eradicate the invader.

The current weather anomaly may just help us achieve that.

A turfgrass science study conducted in Alberta, Canada, concluded that--depending on duration of ice cover, up to 120 days--bentgrass is less susceptible to ice-damage than Poa.

"Only time will tell," suggests Kia, adding "I'll keep the deer off greens until then."


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Vernon Mayor Wayne Lippert "Gets It"

He really does! 

Wayne Lippert, mayor of Vernon, was recently quoted as saying "We're working very hard to try and not have a property tax increase this year as the economy has hurt a lot of residents." 

Downright refreshing.

But Coldstream Mayor Jim Garlick and his council are going down a different path.
The path that leads to taxpayer disgust.

"Maybe we Coldstreamers should realign municipal boundaries...might be easier than trying to convince Garlick et al that they're way off base," sighs Kia.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Coldstream Council doesn't get it. B.C. Assessment does.

The 2010 property assessment notice arrived this week.

For the first time in recent memory, assessments have gone downHighlands' assessment saw a considerable decrease.  The Morning Star reports Coldstream's assessment roll declined from $2.18 billion last year to $2.13 billion in 2010.

Kudos to the British Columbia Assessment Authority.  They get it! 

They recognize that 10 to 15 per cent increases to property values, year after year, simply can not continue in any economy, let alone the present downturn.

So we'll save one-quarter of last year's tax bill?

Because Coldstream Council doesn't get it!

In a complete dismissal of findings contained in the B.C. Municipality Spending Watch, Mayor Garlick and Council are drafting a budget that will likely include a five per cent tax increase this Spring.

They appear hell bent for leather on surreptitiously replacing the lost taxes from the Owens-Illinois (glass plant) in Lavington, closed last year.  Rather than cutting taxes for those of us who still reside here, this Council wants us to make up the though OI hadn't left.   

But what of all the NEW money that's been flowing in from the Federal Government's Economic Action plan.  A portion went to Coldstream to build roads and bridges.  Money also comes back to Coldstream from the Gas Tax Fund, as well as the Building Canada fund that includes water and sewer upgrades (the new Duteau Creek water treatment plant will be operational this year).

Local librarians got a 4 per cent increase...and Coldstream hired a CA (yup, a chartered accountant for a community with half of its land in the Agricultural Land Reserve and a population of 10 thousand, and who--by the way--advised Council that the Commercial Recreation category has been taxed too low...ahem!).

Then there's the North Okanagan Regional District (which is also part of the tax base) added on to their offices again (the second time in five often do you renovate?).

At least Paramedics got a 3 per cent raise.

Wait a minute.
Paramedics received a smaller increase than Librarians?

"Can paramedics treat idiocy?", asks Kia.

4 governments, 1 taxpayer...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Foxtail Palm Seeds

They're not duck eggs...they're seeds of Wodyetia bifurcata, originally discovered in northeast Queensland.

Received Nov. 30/09 from the Central Florida Palm and Cycad Society.

A hot water cycle (inside pillowcases) in the washing machine is followed by removing all traces of fruit.  Then into hot water to soak for 2-3 days, with water changed daily.

Seeds were then placed horizontally in community pots of varying sizes, barely covered with 2-1 mixture of peat moss and perlite.   To retain humidity, pots were covered with cellophane.  Germination minimum 4-8 weeks.  Adjacent (versus Remote) germinators.

The little greenhouse-on-wheels is kept near the basement woodstove (it is winter in Canada, after all!).

One day, years from now, they'll begin to resemble the wonderful traits of this genus.

The following lovely picture is from ""

"I'll never be able to get the frisbee out of such a tree," worries Kia.

Butia capitata (Jelly Palm)

Another indoor palm behaves as if spring had arrived!...

Native to Brazil, this beauty, when older, can withstand -10 to -12C.

Also known as the Wine Palm, delicious dessert fillings can be made from its fruit.

A vigorous grower, each frond in the picture is newly emerged.
This palm hasn't quit growing since last summer when it was on the patio in a tub.  Now indoors in the foyer, it responds to care despite low light conditions.

"At this rate, it'll soon be a frisbee obstacle," warns Kia.

Indoor Palms

Brahea armata (Blue Hesper Palm) two seedlings, and Chamaerops humilis (Mediterranean Fan Palm) in foreground.

We should do some weeding," suggests Kia.

Palms indoors

For some palms, spring has arrived!

Shown is the new spear produced by Hyophorbe lagenicaulis--the Bottle Palm.

Palm Hut for Trachycarpus fortunei (Windmill Palm)

Finally planted in the ground after 32+ years, the Windmill Palm is enclosed in a hut for winter...

Minimum temperature so far this winter was on December 14th, 2009 when temp dipped to -20.6C (-5.1F). An electric Patton heater inside the palm hut maintained -2.0C (28.4F).

On mild days, the door is left open with the heater turned off.

"That's me guarding the hut," attests Kia.