Friday, July 30, 2010

Faeries Friday - Rosina

I have a large collection of Faeries so I thought I'd post a picture of one each Friday.

This beautiful one is happily sitting on her swing in my back garden, where most of them are living now. I first saw one like Rosina in a friend's garden, but when I went to the place where she said she had bought hers they were out. I looked everywhere up here, but no luck.

Several weeks later, I flew up to Alaska to spend a couple of weeks with my friend of 55 years at her home on the Kenai Peninsula. Sitting in her front garden was a faerie just like the one I had been searching for. She had bought her at this little shop in Homer the day before I arrived, so as soon as we could we rushed over to Homer (she lives in Anchor Point) and they had one left!

A few days before I left Alaska I thought I'd better pack up the things I had bought and take them to the P.O. to ship home. Rosina was nowhere to be found. My friend and I searched her house from top to bottom - still no Rosina. Her husband said he hadn't seen her either. ML said if they found her they would ship her to me.

I'm sure you can guess who was waiting for me in my garden when I got home. ML, her husband, and my husband swear they had nothing to do with Rosina disappearing and reappearing. They say she must have known where I lived and just flew home on her own with her swing tucked under one arm.

Oh, come on! How gullible they must have thought I was!

Anybody knows that swing would be too heavy for her to carry. She probably had it shipped, and then flew to my home.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bombus Bimaculatus

Don't you love that name? It sounds like something from "Harry Potter."
It's Latin for 'Bumblebee.' I am captivated by Latin and I feel lucky that I got to take a few classes before it was dropped from the curriculum as a 'dead language.' (Not that I speak it fluently, but I do remember a bit).
These darling Bumblebees are the species 'Bombus Fervidus Californicus.'
This one was being very uncooperative. She would only let me take a picture of her bottom and the backside of what I'm guessing are her wings, although they look a little too thick for wings...hmmm. She has her fat little self stuffed nearly all the way up this Penstemon bloom, and absolutely would not land on the other side of the flowers so I could get a picture of all of her. (This Penstemon isn't on my land; I was out for a walk and didn't want to trespass, so I got as close as I could with my zoom lens). And look...I think she's wearing red shoes! Probably Manolo Buzzniks, hee hee.
There are over 120 species of Bombus bimaculatus in the North American West, and 70 species in the North American East. Amazingly, there are 15 species in the Artic! I have heard them referred to as the Goodyear Blimp wearing fuzzy, striped pajamas. However, in my imagination I always picture them wearing sun bonnets, black and yellow gardening dresses and garden clogs on their feet. They probably change into their pajamas when they get home. :D
They're so gentle they're used in commercial greenhouses for pollination. Their motto seems to be "Vos licentia mihi unus, Ego mos licentia vos unus." (You leave me alone, I will leave you alone). Unlike the Honeybee, a Bumblebee's stinger isn't barbed, so if you do anger out! They can sting you repeatedly without harm to themselves. The poor Honeybee can only sting once and then dies from having its stinger ripped from its body. So unfair!
I'm always charmed when I see and hear Bumblebees bombilating around my garden. Lately, I'm thrilled, too, as Honeybees have been so scarce!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Ripening

7-28-10 -- OK, not so wordless. I posted this at 12:13 this morning! Blogger does have a mind of its own.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday Sunsets

Taken July 10, 2010, at Lake Arrowhead.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Going, Going...

But not yet gone, thankfully. This forest used to be full of enormous trees like the ones above (I don't know who the man is, but he gives an idea of how tall the trees are) which are a mix of Giant Sequoia, Ponderosa Pine and Western Red Cedar. This is near the Burnt Mill Beach Club, which is on the south side of Lake Arrowhead.

The trees on the hills on the north side of the lake, which actually would be south facing, aren't faring so well.

Before 2000, we had Pine Bark Beetle infestations every 100 years or so, and only a few trees were killed. One could not see the houses in the above photo because they were obscured by the huge trees. And, until the unfortunate building boom that started in the mid 1970's and is, insanely, still going on, most of the houses weren't there. (I'm not talking about families that build one home for themselves, I'm speaking of large scale builders). During the infestation that occurred from 2000 to 2004 the San Bernardino Mountain range lost over 1.5 million trees. There are many houses in the trees that are closest to the lake in this photo, but the trees hide most of them.

But...look closely. Most of the evergreen trees closest to the lake are starting to take on a brownish hue, or their needles are fading from a green so deep it used to look almost black when it was cloudy, to a yellowish-green. These trees aren't being attacked by Pine Bark Beetles; the summers up here have simply warmed too much for them to thrive anymore.

I keep hoping that climate change will give us more rain and snow in the winter than what was normal in the past. I hope that, maybe, more rain would help the trees to cope with the warmer temperatures.

Call it what you want; Global Warming, Climate Change. Whatever it is, it's happening. It's real. It's happening everywhere, whether it's dying forests or melting glaciers or something else. And I can't understand why the leaders of the world aren't making it their number one priority to stop it. Regular people in their daily lives can do a lot, but it isn't going to be enough unless governments around the world rapidly come up with plans to move their countries quickly away from dependence on fossil fuels, and provide viable ways to reverse the warming that has already taken place.

Because even though the forests and glaciers of the world are not gone yet, they are going.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Hot, Hot, HOT

It's so hot here that it seems the air should be the color of the Red Monkeyflowers in the above photo. I took the photo several years ago when I was down in Cleghorn Canyon.

Yesterday it was 90 degrees F on my front porch, which is deeply shaded. Today is not quite as hot; our high was 81. When I walked outside yesterday, I felt like I was walking into an oven! And the humidity was high (for up here) at 57%.

Wretched heat; I detest it. But on the plus side, even though there were lightening storms all over no fires were started in these mountains. According to the news there were 15 started by lightening strikes down the hill. Thankfully, they're all contained now.

I've got my fingers crossed for an early, wet, cold Autumn...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Bearing Fruit

Look closely (or left click to enlarge) in the center of the photo; you will see a deliriously happy Robin holding a cherry in her (or his) beak. The Robins made good use of the cherries in this tree; when this photo was taken there were over a dozen birds in the tree. Curiously, the Jays, Woodpeckers, and other birds that eat at our feeders were not to be seen. Maybe all the Robins intimidated them. This photo was taken at the beginning of July and within a week the tree was bare.
The tree is a 'volunteer,' which is what I call a plant that decides to grow in my garden on its own. When I moved into this cottage well over thirty years ago, my neighbors, Fred and Beulah, had just planted a cherry tree. Within three years it was bearing fruit. A few years after it started bearing, cherry trees were springing up all over, probably 'planted' by the birds and the squirrels. Sadly, dear Fred and Beulah passed about two years after they planted their tree, within six months of each other. They were in their late eighties. They were two of the kindest people I have ever been fortunate enough to know.
Every time I look at this cherry tree, I bless Fred and Beulah for planting their tree. They never got to taste the delicious fruit from the tree they planted, but they were the kind of people who wouldn't have minded that. I know they're happy that the tree they planted has lived to bear fruit and make other cherry trees. I know they're happy that the trees are providing food for the birds, squirrels, skunks, and raccoons. I've even seen the little forest mice nibbling on the cherries that have fallen to the ground. Of course, I always pick a handful for myself and some to take to my sister.
And, who knows? Maybe Fred and Beulah have tasted the sweet fruit of the tree they planted.
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