Saturday, February 23, 2019

Today's no walk report: 022319

No walk today, just because...

Wildflowers Part I

Here's what's been going on just outside the humble abode in which we live. Back in 2012 I had an idea about how to make up for a lack of heathy vegetation on the property. I thought, "wildflowers", might bring forth some beauty and color for what I hoped would amount to little effort and expense. Effort wise there were some chores. The first big task was to dig up front back and side yards with the small electric cultivator and get rid of a thick carpet of what some people around these parts like to refer to as grass, or, their lawn. I believe it might be Kikuyu grass (Pennisetum clandestinum), a mat-forming grass with coarse, creeping stems that intertwine and become inches thick. It's a mess.

The process looked something like this...

It's hard to remember exactly but that brown, grass-less section, probably represents several days work, at least a few hours a day. Back in the 1960s that entire area was thick ivy--another garden nightmare in my book and some of that still rears its ugly head.

Anyway, to shorten the story... Eventually the idea of filling in some of the dirt with wildflower seeds came to mind and that's been evolving ever since. The first round of wildflowers was in the spring of 2013, from seed put down in the fall of 2012. In 2015 we estimated (by a weight/seed count) some 4,000,000 seeds were cast. I think it was a total of 2.5 pounds. Kind of crazy. Last year, 2018, we relied entirely on the previous season's reseed and this year we threw down about 9 oz of mostly Dimorphotheca sinuata (African daisy), papaver rhoeas (common poppy or Shirley poppy) and an annual/perennial mix. This post is the first to show off how this is playing out for the current crop.

With the first rains in October 2017 the seeding started. Docken and I stood in the rain and went nuts. By January 11th, this is how things looked.

For the most part, what you see above is now over a foot tall and flowers started blooming in patches. This goes in a cycle that typically starts with the Dimorphotheca sinuata and a small white daisy called Leucanthemum vulgare (oxeye daisy). Here they are in photos taken over the past week or so, in no particular order...

The backyard is a whole other story, so stay tuned for that.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Today's walk report: 021819

Another beautiful day!

The Condor Sqaudron.

This was a little weird. Two bees on the walk-button for a traffic signal. Then there were 4, 5, 6... a few more coming in as we crossed the street. All in slow-motion. It was 55º with a chilly wind so maybe that had something to do with it.


And this is Emma. I'll come back with a story regarding Emma and Annie soon... Maybe.

Grevillea halmaturina subsp. laevis.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Today's walk report: 021619

Since we last met we've had 1.84" of rain, most of which was on 2/14, making for a cozy Valentine's Day at home.

It is absolutely gorgeous here right now with temperatures in the upper 50sº. Here are some photos from our walk to the local botanical garden.

An obligatory picture of male Allen's hummingbird Rusty G. Alpha, hanging out in a usual perch.

And our now famous female Anna's hummingbird who Docken has named, Annie, a little off her usual mark in a Alyogyne huegelii bush. She was being a tremendous sport staying put for pictures today.

In the Alyogyne huegelii bush right next door we found this handsome immature Selasphorus sasin.

Bees in abundance were buzzing away collecting pollen in this Acacia pycnantha tree.

Here's something completely different... Did you know today is Pokémon Go Community Day? Neither did we but we sure found out quickly. Every human we saw on the campus which is home to the botanical garden, was glued to a smart phone, trying to capture imaginary creatures. These were all adult humans. One couple appeared to be in their late 50s, one guy was doing this while pedaling a bicycle (well, he WAS wearing a helmet) and two guys were driving a car--about 4 MPH, out on a public street, looking into and comparing phones at lap level. Amazing!

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Today's walk report: 020919

The last walk report was on December 27, 2019. The last entry here was a NO walk report. This was because we got a bunch of rain and while there was a walk or two in the interim they were sans cameras and we were merely slipping out for fresh air and exercise. Since the walk on 12/27 we've had 3.73" of rain with a current seasonal total of 14.47". To put that in perspective, our seasonal total for 2017-2018 was only 6.07".  So, big dif' and there's more coming tomorrow and next week.

It was a wonderful walk today on a beautiful day. Here are some photos...

A red-tailed hawk soaring.

The desert cottontail (Sylvilagus audubonii), also known as Audubon's cottontail, is a New World cottontail rabbit.

Our reliable friend, male Selaphorus sasin hummingbird, Rusty G. Alpha.

And our female Anna's hummingbird who is almost always in the same spot within mere inches. I think she deserves a name. Her suitor was hanging out too but I didn't get a very good picture of him this round.

A cloudless sulphur butterfly, a little sluggish in the cold (it was about 55º when this was taken).

A black phoebe.

This Grevillea laevis is a relatively recent add to the garden. Both Docken and I have fallen in love with this plant.

Thanks again for coming along!

Friday, February 1, 2019

Today's no walk report: 020119

Starting tonight, Friday, February the 1st, at 10 PM, here's a part of our upcoming weather situation. This is as far ahead as I can check hourly weather right now. That's 38 hours shown below. The current prediction is for rain into Tuesday. This is a bitter sweet situation. On one side we're in a drought and on the other hand we have flooding in the areas affected by 2018 wildfires.