Blog

kitchen window solution

The anti-bird-strike solution is in place, and working well. We rebuilt the rickety shelf outside the kitchen window so it could support more, and larger, plants. This morning a sparrow landed on the wire fuchsia frame and hopped about for a bit, rather than crashing into the glass. I think we’re all happy!

phalacrocorax

I did a bird walk at Malibu Lagoon with the Audubon Society yesterday morning, and learned so much! With friendly help, I spotted 37 different species.

My camera and binoculars are not of birding quality, but several people generously shared time on their scopes. I plan to nature journal my learnings over the coming weeks so as to help the new knowledge stick.

And I for sure want to attend their future monthly Lagoon visits. Some people travel long distances for these events; I’m so lucky to live close by this birding hotspot.

Ocimum basilicum

Coming up: a big batch of pesto.

Like yesterday’s lavender, basil is in the Lamiaceae family—along with mint, rosemary, sage, savory, marjoram, oregano, hyssop, and thyme, and other medicinal herbs such as catnip, salvia, bee balm, wild dagga, and oriental motherwort.

Lamiaceae stems are frequently square in cross section, but this is not found in all members of the family, and is sometimes found in other plant families. It’s a good indicator, but not dispositive. It’s the flower shape that really indicates belonging. Hmm, that’s a good topic for a future nature journal page.

lavandula

The lavender’s fading, but the bees are still enjoying it.

The English word lavender came into use in the 13th century, and is thought to derive from Old French lavandre, ultimately from Latin lavare from lavo (to wash), most likely because crushed lavender flowers would be added to water for bathing, and washing hair and garments. It belongs to the Lamiaceae (mint) family.

food-chsia!

It’s fun when your curiosity leads you to a new food growing in your yard. I saw these little purple fruit and wondered if they were edible — and yes, they are!

Fuchsia fruit can be substituted for berries in any recipe (teas, sauces, ice creams, jelly, tarts, pies, cheesecakes, pavlovas …) The biggest fruit-producing fuchsias are the single petal varieties (which is what we have.) But we’d need a lot more plants before we could count them as an actual food source. But still, I’m delighted with this new knowledge.