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!

nesting

To my delight, a house finch couple has spent the last few days building a nest in the cypress tree outside our kitchen window. We can’t see the nest — it’s tucked into the tree’s interior — but it’ll be fun to see the birds come and go as they breed and feed.

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.

arugula/rocket

I don’t have a lot of success with growing spinach, arugula, lettuce or basil. They flower and seed so quickly!

Come to think of it, I don’t have a lot of success with brassicas or corn either — they get totally infested with aphids. Thank goodness for tomatoes!

don’t eat the lilies!

After completing this sketch, I was hiking back down the trail, and met a group of young adults on their way up. One guy asked me if there was asparagus growing nearby, because he’d just picked and eaten some. Uh … no. There is no asparagus growing here. After reminding him that all plants in the Park are protected, and that some are poisonous, we parted ways. A little further down the track I found the broken plant. I knew it was some kind of lily about to flower, but it wasn’t till I got home I learned that it was Toxicoscordion fremontii (Frémont’s deathcamas or common star lily). As the name suggests, it’s highly toxic to livestock and humans.

I hope he’s OK, but … what a foolish human being! People, don’t go eating plants in the wild unless you know for sure what they are!