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SCV Outdoor Report

    SCV Outdoor Report: Hairpencils

    By Wendy Langhans

    What exactly is a hairpencil?  Is it some sort of stick-shaped hair ornament?  Nope.  Hairpencils are cross between (1) lighting a scented candle and (2) spreading pixie dust with a magic wand.  Let me explain.

    SCV Outdoor Report: Snoring Cacti


    By: Wendy Langhans


    Writing the SCV Outdoor report is, for me, like going on a treasure hunt. While preparing one story, I never know what else I will discover. Take last week’s story about cacti & succulents - I discovered three odd things about cacti that I didn’t know before.






    SCV Outdoor Report: Succulents


    By: Wendy Langhans


    My Uncle’s question caught me by surprise, “Hey, Wendy.  Are all cactus succulents?”

    We were in Phoenix, exploring the Desert Botanical Garden with family.  My uncle is a curious man, both by inclination and profession.  A retired physics professor, he has spent many years asking questions and looking for answers.

    SCV Outdoor Report: Eclipse

    By Wendy Langhans


    Q.  What do the words umbrella, umbral and “take umbrage” have in common?

    A. They all derive from the Latin word umbra, which means shade or shadow.

    SCV Outdoor Report: Serpentine Slithering

    By Wendy Langhans

    When I first learned to ice skate, I used the toe-picks on my blades to push myself forward.  I soon discovered, however, that it was not the most effective method.  Maybe I should have paid closer attention to how snakes slither.

    SCV Outdoor Report: One "M" Or Two

    By Wendy Langhans

    English can be a tricky language sometimes.  The addition of one letter can change both the meaning and pronunciation of a word.  For example, if you add “g” to “love”, you get “glove”.  But if you add a “c”, you get “clove”.  And sometimes there are consequences to getting it wrong:  if your shopping list includes “hummus”, you’d better not come back with humus.  The first you eat; the second you don’t.

    SCV Outdoor Report: River Walk


    By Wendy Langhans


    Last week I went for a walk along the river.  It was a lovely day for walking - plenty of sunshine - and neither too hot nor too cold.  The embankment was lined by a graceful arch of trees.  I noticed the patchy grey, flaking tree bark and decided these were sycamore trees.