Category Archives: bees

Historic and overcast with sun.

Of course, every day is historic. Today grandson Brodie ate with a fork for the first time! And lest I forget, it’s the day of the Total Solar Eclipse 2017. My view was as at right.

Last week I was in Monterey, California, where the sky is also commonly white in the mornings. I’m guessing that today Soldier’s family couldn’t see the natural and rare wonder above the overcast there, either.

bee balm

 

 

But as is also typical, during my brief visit the sun would come out within a few hours of the start of day, and we enjoyed many lovely walks in the neighborhood, and outings a little farther afield.

 

 

 

 

 

Earthbound Farm in Carmel Valley has paths to wander through various gardens with a teepee, a fort, a store and café, berry patches…

It is the perfect place to examine snails, red peppers growing, tiny leaves or flowers. Below is a weed I’ve often wanted to get a good picture of – it helps to have a boy’s finger for comparing size:

Laddie especially loved the aromatherapy chamomile labyrinth. I think he might have walked that path for an hour if we had not moved on.

artichoke in bloom

In the Alphabet Garden we saw a plant, or at least a place where a plant had grown, for every letter, including Echinacea and Bean.

On our walks in the neighborhood we saw familiar flowers and plants that Liam and I have noticed many times now, as well as some new ones. I haven’t had time to research most of them, like this:

But I did learn Sea Lavender, what Liam described as having a rattle-like sound to the flower heads. Only the white parts are the true flowers, what I assume this bee is sipping at:

Flowers love to grow on California’s coast! Here are several more I don’t know – if any of my readers knows them, please share.

Below, a tall bush in Soldier and Joy’s back yard:

Awfully fancy, this one:
Joy and I drove down to the Monterey Bay Recreational Trail and walked with three boys, two bikes, a double stroller and a baby pack. We looked for a long time into the water next to the boat docks and I saw my first jellyfish and skate not in an aquarium, plus lots of hermit crabs scuttling in and out of rock crevices.  It was beautiful down there.

I have been to visit Monterey twice this summer, to offer a little adult company to Joy while Soldier is working on the east coast. So we chatted and talked and talked some more, which may have been the cause of the boys being even more rambunctious than usual. I was amazed at how when it involves three boys ages 5, 3, and 1, every activity, even something as soothing as Grandma reading to them, devolves into roughhousing.

I don’t have a good picture of that. Just imagine a tangle of six arms, six legs, giggling faces and tousled hair, all somehow hanging on to my lap, with an open storybook underneath it all. It was a multi-sensory experience that will go down in my history book as a sunny day.

I watch the birds, bees and weeds.

gl P1030454

In the back yard I heard the jay before I saw him, as he remarked in short screeches about the breakfast I’d laid out. In the last couple of weeks I’ve taken pictures of doves, chickadees and juncos at the feeders, but the jay was the first to come since I moved this one closer to the window, and he is a larger target to focus on, so his picture came out best.

As soon as he flew off I went out front to tackle the perennial bed that was a mess, but before ten minutes of weeding had passed, I had a burning need to go back indoors and fetch my Weeds of the West.  I returned to sit on the bench swing and leaf through the whole book, trying to find the names of two or three weeds that had challenged me that morning. It’s good to know your enemy.

Though it’s hard to think of Persian Speedwell as an enemy. It is pretty, and the book says “It was probably introduced as a border or rock garden ornamental.” See, the ladybug likes it.gl speedwell and ladybug 2-27-16

The bees were getting too much good stuff out of the last rosemary flowers to bother with weeds just then.

gl bee on rosemary close 2-17-16

I spent a lot of time on the beds where chard, collards and kale grow, and I picked a big bowl of greens which I washed later in the day. In the picture below you can see Swiss chard behind the speedwell and also the feather-like arrangement of “scattery weed” seed pods that exploded a few minutes later at the touch of my hand.

gl speedwell scattery & daisy 2-27-16

I still have not found out the real name of that scattery weed, whose picture I re-post below. In the past I asked if any of my readers knows its name, but they did not; maybe one of my newer readers does? I couldn’t find it in Weeds of the West. It arrived in our garden in the last ten years. UPDATE: It’s Hairy Bittercress or cardamine hirsuta.

cardamine hirsuta

Just a few feet away from the Persian Speedwell — a weed to me — is another cultivated type that I planted because I wanted it, Creeping Speedwell (below). So far the Persian has not even tried to invade the Creeping, though if the Creeping can be said to creep, the Persian gallops.

gl speedwell not weed 2-27-16

Before Fall I plan to revamp this whole area, but in the meantime, I must try to keep a little order. Today I put in several hours of work and got plumb tuckered out! I’m glad tomorrow is a day of rest.