I got an email from Susannah who had picked up on my garden theme in my last post on this blog. Susannah’s got a problem with damping off in seedlings. She has just lost three young cucumbers and asked if I had any advice. Damping off is a fungal infection of plants, usually seedlings but can affect more mature plants also. I too had recently had a problem after repotting a supermarket bought basil plant. Within a couple of days in its new pot, almost the entire surface of the compost around the base of the basil was white with fungal mycelium. After a few more days most of the stems of the basil were covered in fungus and turning black…
I’m always on the lookout for moisture related stories. Part of this is about testing my own knowledge and asking myself if I can make sense of the story. Last week I was following stuff on Twitter seeing if anything caught my eye. Suddenly out jumps what I would call a little gem of a story. Actually it was not a story as such but a research paper that had just been published. However, the content was very much part of my story in My World of Moisture ….
I’m back to blogging after a short time away in Edinburgh. It was a few days of mixed emotions. I gave the eulogy at my mother’s funeral on Friday the 11th of March then two days later watched Scotland beat France in a great victory at Murrayfield. Returning to Ireland and checking my rainfall meter, showed that there was no rain whilst I was away. We’ve not had any rain since, which makes it 14 days rain free and a welcome break from all the wet weather of the past 3 months. Easter is arriving this weekend and thinking of eggs, I thought a few ‘foustie’ ones would be of interest. A dilemma I had was on which article to post first. This one about eggs, or, my previous one on chickens.
“Oil and water don’t mix” is a common saying and a scientific fact. But oil and moisture do mix! So how is it that moisture, which is also water, can mix with oil?
Why do I mention this?
Because I tuned into a webinar last week with a title that caught my attention, “Moisture in Transformer Oil”, to find out this is something that is very important to know about, if we want to keep our lights on!
Out of the blue, a man talking about blue cheese and caves! Interesting enough on its own to maybe tune in and listen. Then, he mentions that magic word for me, “humidity”. Roquefort cheese from the Aveyron region in France is matured in a cave. And there is a very long history of the cheese makers in this region using the steady temperature and humidity conditions of the caves. But equally as fascinating for me is that the caves were also the original source of the fungus that gives the cheese its blue streaks.…
A few years ago when researching the world of moisture for ideas to include in my book A Wet Look At Climate Change I came across a paper published in the Journal of Insect Physiology talking about honey bees and humidity. I filed this away as “interesting” but didn’t think about it much further. Last year just before spring I got interested in bees again. Nothing to do with moisture this time, just a liking for bees buzzing around the garden. It may have been something on Twitter, but one thing led to another, and I found myself contacting the National Biodiversity Data Centre in Waterford. However, as always with me, moisture had to come into the story at some point….
My first guest article
Here is the very first guest article on Moir’s Moisture Matters blog. It is reproduced below by kind permission from Sensirion, an innovative Swiss company that I’ve known for many years and had the pleasure of visiting over ten years ago. They gave me a present of a small temperature and humidity measuring device that I used to take with me to my early moisture interaction talks and pass around my audience. My point was that our bodies are much more sensitive to temperature than humidity changes. Most of the time you simply cannot guess the humidity and so are unaware that a change has happened and therefore have no feel or warning of its impact on the things around you. An area where this is important and even critical is handling and working with materials that react to moisture, which is the main topic of my talks.
By some strange quirky coincidence, my first guest article from Sensirion talks about temperature and humidity control in vehicles and at my first school talk the teacher told me that he used the misting up of windows when travelling in a car as a way of introducing the students to humidity. Recently Sensirion have released the world’s smallest humidity and temperature sensor and I mean really small. Their article below talks about how these sensors go way beyond just measuring humidity and are integrated into rapid feedback systems to make the vehicle’s environment more comfortable for the driver and passengers.
Wasting food a “pet hate”
Wasting food is a “pet hate” of mine. I’m not sure where this comes from exactly. A number of reasons probably. When I was young I had a hiatus hernia that made it difficult to swallow food so never really enjoyed meals until the hernia was repaired. Now I enjoy eating most foods so not wasting food might come from an appreciation of just being able to eat properly. Another reason may come from a social conscious of being in a position of having plenty of food if I want when others in the world are starving. A third and probably quite significant reason is being self-employed. There were times when months would go by with little or no income so only buying food in small amounts and having minimal waste became a financially beneficial habit.So what’s this got to do with moisture-matters? The picture might give a clue.
Autumn a Great Time of Year
Autumn is great time of year for change. There are changes pleasing to the eye as the plants show their autumn colours and the not so pleasing changeable weather when there is a storm sitting off the west coast of Ireland. Wetter weather at this time is expected but this year we had not only a very dry spell but quite cold conditions that got us thinking of turning on the central heating one month early.