hardwood forest


No one knows where the Elves came from, but they have been around for millennia in the tundra. Deep down we fear them, superstitions arise that they have unnatural powers and so called all seeing leader. The elves have no need for money, what they demand is trees from the hardwood forests to the south of their land. They eat the needles and sap, and use the wood to construct and carve various “gifts” of extreme intricacy, and drop them off to the south during the longest nights of the year.

The Octics warn us about them. While a mere 3 feet tall now, it was not always that way they claim. In the old ages they were over 6 feet tall and lived for thousands of years. Instead of toys they made great bows and arrows, and made the mightiest of swords. No army could defeat them, and indeed the Octic were helpless to defend their lands from the Elven’s might and rule. The end of the Elven age was through the reign of St Nikklas Cläus. Cläus is a 10 foot tall monster of an Elf, believing himself to be both prosecutor and judge of all mortal men, and under his tyrannical lead he forced all elvenkind to move out of the forest and into the white wasteland. The new generation of elves, malnourished on rationed pine needles became diminutive and sickly.

Merry Christmas everyone

Haiti Takes Root: a partnership to reforest Haiti

Trees are critical. Two hundred years ago, Haiti’s mountainous slopes were covered with dense forests, tropical hardwoods, fruit trees, and valuable crops. Since then, tree cover has decreased to ~30%. This massive deforestation is the result of a complex interplay of historic, economic, social, and ecological factors. These factors have caused drought and famine in one part of the world while causing environmental degradation in another.

Photo by Michael Muller

It is in response to the strain on local agriculture and the dramatic loss of tree cover in Haiti that we have created Haiti Takes Root. HTR is a unique public-private coalition led by the Government of Haiti, whose goal is to reverse over 200 years of deforestation in-country. J/P HRO is a founding member of this coalition comprised of the Government of France, World Bank, and Parker Foundation. We believe that re-greening Haiti will take massive injection of new resources, more efficient programming, and research that brings innovative practices to the economic, energy, and environment sectors.

How are we helping? 

We are partnering with ACCESO on farmer relief packages and sustainable agroforestry. ACCESO’s model is unique because farmers receiving material and technical support also receive a guarantee from ACCESO to buy their crops. The link between immediate relief and long-term sustainability - a focus for J/P - is thus clear.

The project will begin with an initial integration with Cavaillon, where we will co-finance:

  1. a tree nursery/anchor farm;
  2. the distribution of approximately 300 “farmer relief kits” containing seeds, seedlings, and tools; and,
  3. provide farmer extension services and guaranteed purchase of crops over a 5-year period. 

In partnership with American Red Cross we are working on urban planning and community mobilization for an urban greening initiative. After the 2010 earthquake, a spontaneous settlement emerged in Canaan and has since grown to become the fourth-largest city in Haiti with a population over 300,000. Two main activities were implemented as part of this objective of the project

  1. The design, construction, and supervision of green public spaces.
  2. The training and mobilization of Urban population on tree planting and protection.

What is our ultimate goal?

  • Promotion of environmentally sustainable agroforestry value chains
  • Preservation of critical protected areas
  • Reduction in use of unsustainable charcoal and firewood

With increased public and private partnerships, more efficient programming, and increased productivity of reforestation efforts, we will improve climate resilience, reduce environmental degradation, and increase rural livelihoods.


Terana caerulea (or Terana coerulea), commonly known as the cobalt crust fungus or velvet blue spread

is a saprobic crust fungus in the family Phanerochaetaceae. Usually found in warm, damp hardwood forests on the undersides of fallen logs and branches of deciduous trees, this unique fungus has been described as “blue velvet on a stick”

image source-calphoto database

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Effigy Mounds National Monument


Prehistoric earthworks by mound builder cultures are common in the Midwest. However, mounds in the shape of mammals, birds, or reptiles, known as effigies, only exist in southern Wisconsin, northeast Iowa, and small parts of Minnesota and Illinois. One exception to this is the great serpent mound in south-eastern Ohio and Mound A at Poverty Point, Louisiana is built up in the shape of a large soaring bird.

Effigy Mounds National Monument represents the western edge of the effigy region. The North Unit (67 mounds) and South Unit (29 mounds) are located where the counties meet along the Mississippi River. They are contiguous and easily accessible. The Sny Magill Unit (112 mounds) is approximately 11 miles (18 km) south of the other units, and offers no visitor facilities. Other mounds are located on remote parts of the Monument property. The monument contains 2,526 acres (10.22 km2) with 206 mounds of which 31 are effigies. The largest, Great Bear Mound, measures 42 meters from head to tail and rises over a meter above the original ground level.

In northeastern Iowa the Effigy Mounds area was a point of transition between the eastern hardwood forests and the central prairies. Native American and early settlers would have been able to draw on natural resources available in forests, wetlands, and prairies, making the site hospitable for humans for many centuries.

Effigy Mounds is adjacent to the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, the Driftless Area National Wildlife Refuge, the Yellow River State Forest, and a short distance to the south, Pikes Peak State Park. There are also a number of state-owned wildlife management areas, such as the one at Sny Magill Creek, where Clayton County also maintains a county park.

black swan rising (1/?)

so i decided to write another mini-au since the royal au was such fun. it’ll probably be about as long – four or five parts. fair warning, this one will be quite a bit darker in tone. thanks to gillie for the prompt.

The fragile winter sun falls in gilded stripes along the hardwood floor, among the forest of flashing legs, as a piano older than the Bolsheviks strikes out the notes that will on opening night be joined by the full thunder and majesty of the orchestra, the haunting strains of Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s classic score. The red velvet curtain will rise on the hallowed stage, and the dancers will float like exquisite visions in white tulle and pink satin, one true corps de ballet. The swans will fly beneath the moon. Princess Odette will fall in love with Prince Siegfried, and the cruel sorcerer Rothbart will try to tear them apart. The Black Swan shall appear at the royal ball and perform, precisely, her thirty-two fouettes. Roses shall be thrown, admiring editorials written, and within the Bolshoi there shall be general pride and success: another season, another Swan Lake, all exactly as it should be.

Opening night is very far away. The dancers are in black leotards and warmup leggings, their pointe shoes leaving smears of fresh rosin on the floor. The practice room, as Moscow tends to be in January, is cold as hell frozen over, though it slowly warms as the heating system grinds into action. The grit of the early morning strains in their legs, even though they have spent half their lives at this. Yet under the eye of their new ballet master, nobody wishes to show weakness.

One-two-three, one-two-three. Emma does not look back, does not look down, does not betray any awareness at all that he might be watching her – though doubtless he is, she being his new principal dancer, his Odette and hence also his Odile, and this will be their first performance together. All of the ballet world will be watching very keenly indeed. Killian Jones is a former male soloist at the London Royal Ballet, career ended early by a traumatic onstage injury, and is the first non-Russian to direct the company in its three-century history – especially taking over from such a legend as Goldovich, the pressure is intense. But that is how the Bolshoi does things. They are known for being bold and subversive and daring, the antithesis of the stolidly traditional Mariinsky Ballet of St. Petersburg, and after the laundry list of accusations of corruption, bribery, and sexual tithes – that the ballerinas are loaned out as essentially unpaid escorts to Russian oligarchs, telecom czars and oil tycoons and former high-level KGB members, while being expected to pay handsomely for the chance to even sniff leading roles – the venerated theatre has decided that it has come time to clean house. In theory, Killian Jones possesses considerable power to control the day-to-day operations of the company, and to protect his dancers from anything untoward. No one is sure, however, how much stock to put in this.

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