striped racer

After stopping in a shady spot to paint a profusion of Sticky Monkey-flowers, I came around a corner of the trail and surprised a California Striped Racer. It tried to climb the trunk of an oak but didn’t get purchase and fell to the ground! I have never seen a snake ‘fail’ like that, and we were both momentarily stunned. Faster than I could whip out my phone, it recovered and raced off through the undergrowth at its signature speed. Sorry for disturbing you, little buddy!

digger bees

A large section of our hiking trail was a-buzz with bees, and it was quickly apparent that the action was happening on and close to the ground. Not knowing much about these ‘ground bees’, we gave them wide berth and I did some research when I got home.

What I learned was so fascinating, that V & I went back yesterday to observe them more closely. Each bee, laden with pollen, was crawling into a hole then emerging a few seconds later to collect more. How did she know which hole was hers? How long will she live after her work is done?

Now we know where they are, we’ll try to go back in 10 months to see the next generation come forth and mate. Fun!

mitten rock

I paid a visit to Rocky Oaks Park today, a great place for a 1 hour easy hike. The wildflowers are abundant right now, and the only other person there was a scientist (?) collecting data down by the pond. At least I assume that was what she was doing with her clipboard and frequent stooping. We waved to each other from a distance and I continued on my way.

mott adobe ruins

In 1910, Johnny Mott, a famous LA attorney, built an adobe home on the banks of Malibu Creek, in what was then Crag’s Country Club. It was reported in the Los Angeles Times that Mott’s longtime friend, President Herbert Hoover, was a frequent guest. 

When 20th Century Fox bought the property in 1946, the adobe was retained as a movie set. You can see it in “Viva Zapata!” (1952), starring Marlon Brando, but by 1970 it had fallen into ruins. 

The Mott Adobe ruins are now part of Malibu Creek State Park, and only the dramatic stone fireplace is left standing.