Thursday, June 11, 2020

Today's no walk report: 061120

What have you been up to?

Since mid-March I have yet to venture out on a walk, braving the Covid-19 pandemic but I'm getting close. I'm at least close to going out for either an early morning or early evening bike ride. I can avoid people better on a bike than I can on foot. As of late my bike riding has been limited to stationary and indoors on one of these.


I've been semi-religious about using said device. My reluctance to go out and about isn't entirely based on paranoia, induced by what I can only describe as selfish idiots who refuse to wear a mask and be otherwise courteous about their behavior but I've also been busy trying to catch up with maintaining the property here so it doesn't look like a weed ridden abomination post wild flower season. It's a lot of work and with the proclamation of a shutdown due to the virus yard work was seriously stalled. At least it was in my front and side yards where I felt human activity was a little bit too conspicuous. I did, however, spend a lot of time in the backyard. I also did a lot of housework and became more adept at online shopping. Music playing on the living room stereo or off of YouTube mixes became an all day affair. It has been my solace.

Considerable time has also been dedicated to my inside companion and general confidant, Lucy the cat. Here she is just moments ago. Lucy is 14 years old. We've been through a lot together.


There's another cat too who is an important part of most mornings and in fact he just stopped by for some dinner. This is Stan. Stan was first adopted by dear Docken. He's a sweet boy. He's feral although we both suspect that he once had an owner nearby who abandoned him. He has a wonderful double wide house. provided by Docken, with blankets on a table on the patio and he gets fed beneath that table, again, most mornings. Sometimes he's apparently busy elsewhere. He has barely touched my hand with his nose on just a few occasions. I reach out to him most mornings but we mostly only talk.




Lucy is in love with Stan. Lucy would never, ever tolerate another cat outside HER windows before Stan came along. She looks forward to sitting on the other side of the living room windows and watching him eat. Sometimes she comes and tells me when he has arrived.


Other than this there are adventures in gardening and yes, I look for the occasional photo opportunity.  I went out for three days prior to the day I finally got this male monarch butterfly to hang around for some pictures. On this day he was very obliging. Four days ago, June the 7th.








Bees love to swirl around poppy stamen.





This alligator lizard has perhaps lived under the patio and chimney for several years now. They can live up to 15 years.



Some flowers make their way inside. Less for the sake of arrangement than for the scent. These roses are from a bush older than I am. It dates back to at least 1955 and it stands at the front of the walkway to the front door. These roses smell absolutely amazing as do the gardenias floating in the crystal dish.


Yeah. It was 8:41 AM. Can't you see that?

Last year there was a virtual invasion of Vanessa cardui butterflies. We had a couple of nice flurries this year too, mid-April.


On the patio table there is a Drosera capensis, commonly known as the Cape sundew, a small rosette-forming carnivorous species of perennial sundew native to the Cape in South Africa. (Yes, I copied that from Wikipedia). The third week of May it was flowering. This was a gift from David Ocker and his wife, Leslie. 





The situation with wildflowers out front was mostly dying out and getting taken over by invasive plants as the pandemic was rearing its evil, ugly structural proteins but there were some photo ops there too and I simply tried to go out when neighbors weren't milling about.

Baby Snapdragon (Linaria maroccana), a favorite of mine. 





I also got a second round of mostly ox-eye daisies in the front of the house after much of the first round had died back and were pulled out. This was due to some rather late in the season rain.


That was mid-April. By the end of April the backyard was just getting busy, mostly with clarkia and a variety of poppies.


There was some of this in front too but mostly close to the house. Irises too were blooming in abundance.







Usually we get more visits from swallowtails in the backyard than I've had so far this year, maybe later. Here's one shot of a giant swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes) from May 2nd.


That's it for now. Please stay safe whoever you are and if you go out in public please think about your neighbors and others around you and wear a freakin' mask, it's not a big deal, it's not political, it's about saving lives. Thank you.


Monday, April 20, 2020

Today's not much of a walk, report: 042020

This is a walk to my driveway. That starts about 12' from the front door and extends about another 50' out to the street. That's about as far in front of the house as I honestly feel like walking to lately, although I have ventured as far as curbside onto the street generally to take out garbage cans or to at least make some effort at controlling weeds etc., along the curb strip. Today marks 52 days of self-quarantine during the covid-19 pandemic.

I have driven out the driveway only 6 times in those 52 days and I only got out of the car once. That was for the last walk report. There's been a lot of rain during this period. With that and wildflower seed that had blown into the cracks of the aged asphalt driveway, has borne weeds but mostly ox-eye daisies (Leucanthemum vulgare) and a few African daisies (Dimorphotheca sinuata). This is a second growth of these flowers on the property this season. There are lots of pictures mostly to give you an idea of just how many flowers are growing out of the cracks, nooks and crannies












Add a little elegant clarkia (Clarkia unguiculata)


Stay home and stay safe.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Today's walk report: 031520

Creepy quiet out there.

This was a drive to the walk location walk. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to get inside of the destination because it's a school and schools are shut down for awhile. But it was open and there was virtually no one around. Here are a few pictures I got before it started raining on me. From about noon on March 12th until now we've seen 2.92" of rain.

A yellow bellied warbler in a myrtle tree.


Even though it was rather drippy dreary there was a lot of color to be found, like this Western-redbud bush (Cercis occidentalis).


And this confetti bush (Coleonema pulchellum).


The Alyogyne huegelii "Blue Hibiscus" flowers were certainly wet and droopy.


California Desert cottontail rabbits were abundant. This one was finding some tender shoots on a Grevillea 'Peaches and Cream'.


This female Allens hummingbird was being swooped upon by a frisky male.


This guy... Does he look familiar? He was featured in the last walk report.


And this female Annas hummingbird was enjoying about a dozen Aloe striata plants in full bloom.