Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Talking to a Hippo

"It's your greatest hour as survivor,

       I'm your emissary, 

talk on behalf of your kind and others, 
       against your enemy."

Dr Abe V Rotor
The common hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius), or hippo, is a large, mostly herbivorous, 
semi aquatic mammal native to sub-Saharan Africa, and one of only two extant species in the family Hippopotamidae, the other being the pygmy hippopotamus (Choeropsis liberiensis or Hexaprotodon liberiensis). The name comes from the ancient Greek for "river horse." (Reference: Internet)
Photos taken by the author at Avilon Zoo, San Mateo, Rizal, January 3, 2018, 3rd birthday 
of Markus, author's grandson.
He is all alone in a wide, wide pond, 
     survivor of a herd;  
whatever happened to its long time kin
     hasn't really been heard. 

I asked Hippo junior, a name I coined;
     it hid under duck weeds
carpeting the pond green from any view,
     he was shy, naive indeed. 

I asked about hippos in Africa, 
     Asia and Australia,
its relations with other species
     under Class Mammalia. 

I was talking with books I had once read,
     a time long, long ago,
when man was not enemy of Nature,
     but that is history.

"It's your greatest hour as survivor,
     I'm your emissary, 
talk on behalf of your kind and others, 
     against your enemy."

Hippo Junior suddenly lurched  and jumped,
     words spewed out, thundered, 
in anger, hiss, nothing kind, 'cept moaning - 
     crying barely heard. 

"How long will he be alone here, warden?"
     my question unanswered,
I looked around, hills once a watershed,

     at sunset gleaming red. ~     

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Re-creating the Green World of my Childhood

"Long had I left my birthplace, the landscape 
that shaped my childhood and my lofty dream,
leaving but memory and imagery I can't escape, 
paint I must the imprints of that lovely realm. ~   

Painting by Miss Rannie Lou Rojas

My Green World in acrylic by Miss Rannie Lou Rojas, January 9, 2018  

There is a place I love and call it my own, 
some hidden nook, a li'l corner of Eden,
deep in the recesses of my mind long sown,
flowing through my fingers in brush and pen.

It's a place seasons come and go with no end;
where the mountains turn from gold to green,
to orange and red in fall, and back to golden,
How I wish my friends had seen this lovely scene.

The world was beautiful wherever you would go,
As pristine as the day the earth was made;
The mountains, lakes, forest and grassy plains too,
in glorious prism of light, hues and shade. 

Lucky were our ancestors in pre-industrial age,
happier they were under the care of Nature;
as they too, cared for her under divine bondage,
all things bound to a benevolent Creator. 

Long had I left my birthplace, the landscape 
that shaped my childhood, and my lofty dream
leaving but memory and imagery I can't escape,
paint I must the imprints of this lovely realm. ~   
Miss RL Rojas a visiting balikbayan from Calgary, Alberta, poses with the author, 
her uncle before a wall mural  painted by the latter at his residence in QC.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Mackie's Teacup - A Lesson in Drawing

Drawing by Mackie Rotor Sta Maria 
Poem by r Abe V Rotor 

Teacup sans saucer in pentel by Mackie Rotor Sta Maria, 5 December 2017

To a child a teacup is mommy's, or grandma’s, 
       Long kept in a cupboard by the hearth,
Or a gift kept secret 'til the eve of one Christmas:
      “To the most wonderful child on earth.”

Magic the teacup brings: love, care and cheer,
      Good health, good company, best brew;
Gently raised to the air, then laid on its saucer,
      In the cycle of life’s meaning and view.

To a child the teacup is illusion and imagery,
     Flowers like eyes looking in the room;
It's never dull, never at ease, telling a story
    Like an uncaged bird finding it its home.~ 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Fancy plants may be carriers of virus

Dr Abe V Rotor   
Moses-in-a-boat (Rhoeo discolor) exhibits dimorphic coloration: healthy plants are green and robust, while the infected ones are pink and stunted pink (center). Such suspicious characteristic should be referred to specialists to prevent further spread.  Humans are the most common agents of transmission of viral and other diseases. 
 Tomato infected with mosaic virus may display unusual colors of fruits and leaves thought to be associated with soil nutrient deficiency and varietal characteristics.  The virus is cosmopolitan, and infects not only the members of the Family Solanaceae such as eggplant, tobacco, pepper, Irish potato, but a host of other plants belonging to other families. More than a hundred field crops are susceptible to the virus. 
Yellowish and stunted, the plant continues to grow, reproduce and complete its life cycle while carrying a virus that cause the bunchy top appearance of the plant - rosette arrangement of the leaves.  Local folks unaware of the condition of the plant just regard it as fancy, which then favors its spread in the banana plantation   
Red pepper (Capsicum annuum), healthy (left) and infected with mosaic virus (early stage) may appear the same, but plant pathologists can easily detect the difference. The virus does not kill the plant, it exaggerates the mosaic and chlorotic patterns as fancy characteristics.  This exacerbates the spread of the disease starting with touch to insect bite to plant-to-plant contact in the field. 

  "Frog eye" spots and chlorotic venation, including stunting and early defoliation are attributed to a complex of pathogens, with the virus as among the primary causes.  Host is Terminalia catappa   

Facts about plant viral diseases.

1. Viruses in general cannot be seen with the naked eye. Not even the laboratory light microscope. With the electron microscope we can see and study them.

2. The largest group are mosaic viruses.  They cause yellow and green spotting of leaves, stems blossoms and fruits.

3. Mosaic destroys chlorophyll, resulting to stunted growth, and therefore poor harvest, and may lead to the death of the plants usually in the later stage. 

4. Another group of viruses is called yellows, that causes yellowing, leaf curling and dwarfing.Mode of attack is to block the plant's vascular system, preventing water and nutrients to pass through. Infected plants show no symptoms, and therefore transmit the disease without detection. 

5. Plant viruses enter the cells directly through wounds caused by weather, humans, and vectors like aphids, whiteflies, and leafhoppers, mealy bugs, and other organisms which pierce the plant and such its sap. Horticultural practices like grafting and inarching direct transfer the virus.  

6. Viral infected plants cannot be cured.  It is through prevention that can stop the disease from being introduced or from spreading.

7. Foremost is quarantine.  Second is to plant only virus free seeds, because viral disease is systemic, that is, all parts of the plant carries the virus.

8. Rouging infected plants and burning them is a common method on the farm. Eliminate volunteer crops as these may serve a continuing or alternate host of the virus.

9. Crop rotation and fallowing (allowing the farm to rest) breaks the life cycle of the disease.

10. Tobacco mosaic caused by a virus, Marmor tabaci, is cosmopolitan.  It is known to infect more than 150 types of plants which include vegetables, flowering plants and weeds. 

11. The most important plants infected belong to Family Solanaceae which is composed of commercial crops valued at billions of dollars in world agriculture and trade - tomato, tobacco, eggplant, pepper, Irish potato.

12. Virus-infected plants are mistaken for overdose in pesticide spray, side effect of herbicides, pollution in various forms, but the most confusing likeness is deficiency in  minerals like iron, zinc, and boron, although these are needed by plants in trace quantities.  Ferrous deficiency causing chlorosis and stunting, often thought to be incipient viral signs.

13. Viruses differ from fungi and bacteria in that they do not produce spores or other structures capable of penetrating plant parts. Viruses enter through wounds, and spread through farming practices.

14. Tobacco virus survives manufacturing process - drying, redrying and making cigars and cigarettes. It remains dormant up to 20 years . Then it resurrects on a healthy tobacco plant or any member of the solanaceous family – by the mere touch of a smoker – and the virus in no time spreads like fire infecting field after field.

15. On entering a host the virus begins to multiply by inducing host cells to produce more of its kind. Viruses do not cause disease by consuming or killing cells but by taking over the metabolic cell processes, resulting in abnormal cell functioning.

Beware! These plants samples show the characteristic plant virus symptoms and signs. They are highly infectious to healthy plants of their species and most likely to others plants belonging to the same family.  Rogue them out of the field or garden, burn them to eliminate source of inoculation. . 
Cassava  (Manihot utilissima
Cucumber (Cucumis sativus).  Virus infective to members of 
Family Cucurbitae, like squash, ampal;aya  and melon
 Lettuce (Lactuca sativa), mosaic virus likely infectivous to other cucurbits 
 Squash (Cucurbita maxima) infective with the same mosaic virus of cucurbits. 
Tobacco infected with the classical Marmor tabaci virus, which can survive flue-curing, redrying and cigar- and cigarette manufacture, remaining dormant for as long as twenty  years, then resurrect in living host plants.which belong to Family Solanaceae to which potato, tomato, eggplant and pepper belong.  

Friday, January 12, 2018

A Flood of Cheers

Dr Abe V Rotor

Flash flood on Laong Laan St, Manila, 2001

Cheers to the thunderstorm;
Cheers to the standing room;
Cheers to the flooded alley;
Cheers to inconvenience - if any;
Cheers to cheerers on the way;
Cheers to Pavlov and company.

Living with Nature 4, 2011

Monarch butterfly - most revered of all butterflies

Dr Abe V Rotor

Monarch butterfly at rest; handcrafted giant monarch butterflies amuse tourists at Dr Jose Rizal's ancestral home in Calamba, Laguna.  

Monarch butterfly - most revered of butterflies
by color and design, in ritual and fashion;
they swarm in winter time from north to south
in their annual migration,
guided by the genes of their ancestors
to leave their home and return
in summer across thousands of miles in the sky,
that instinct and bonding govern. ~  

God speaks through Nature

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog 

La Union Botanical Garden on-the-spot painting by AV Rotor. Courtesy of Dr Romualdo M del Rosario

"Indeed, God speaks to us in the little details of nature through the trees and the flowers, in the drip of rain, in the blow of the wind. He speaks to us in all of His Creation." Rev. Fr. Tamerlane R Lana, OP, former UST Rector.
(From Foreword of In His Presence, Praises by Belen Lorezca-Tangco; Paintings and Photographs by AV Rotor, 2003)
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