This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Nightshade, the river, and zoning

A few years ago I noticed vine with purple flowers was creeping up one of my trees. I thought nothing of it, and did not bother it. A year or two later I noticed that there was more of it. Last year I started pulling it, and by then there was a lot of it in several different places in my yard. It was not until this year that I decided I should find out what it was that I was trying to get rid of.

I google "invasive vine with purple flower" and was able to identify it as Solanum dulcamara, which goes by several common names, most with the word "nightshade" in them.

There are better pictures on the Wikipedia entry, though the text is short.  For more information than you probably want, check the USDA Forestry database.

The plant is not native. It has small berries that are mildly poisonous to humans but not to some birds, which eat the fruit and spread the seeds. It is a perennial, so it keeps coming back year after year. It does have some benefit to wildlife, including birds and bees and some mammals. It is in the same family as the tomato and potato, and it can host bacteria which cause rot in potatoes.

I hope to be nightshade free in a year or two.

The river has risen enough to close the cemetery roads. Below is the road over the creek.
 The river gauge says that the river has peaked and is now starting to recede. We reached moderate flood level and needed six or seven more inches to get to major flooding. We will not set a record for daily stream flow--there was a bigger flood on this date in 1958.

I went to a meeting of the Rensselaer Board of Zoning Appeals last night, the first time I have been to one of their meetings. They do not seem to meet often because they elected officers, something that needs to be done the first time in the year that the board meets. This issue in front of them was a variance to build a garage closer to the property line than the mandated five feet. The contractor for the property owners said that for them to make the turn into the garage with a pickup truck, they needed to have the garage closer to the property line. After discussion about the potential for disputes among neighbors when structures were too close the the line and the problem of roof runoff, the board agreed to a variance that would allow them to have the foundation a foot and a half from the property line with the eave and gutter six inches from the line, and gutters that diverted the runoff away from the neighbors. The procedures were pretty much the same as those used by the county in their Board of Zoning Appeals.

1 comment:

Jasper County Historical Society said...

Thank you for the flood stage diagram. Glad to see that we are not at Major Flood stage yet!