- Health & Nutrition
Big-Brained’ Bumblebees Access Tools!
Bumblebees may have small brains, but there’s significantly more happening beneath those exoskeletons than previously thought. Over the last decade bumblebees have proven themselves to be quite remarkable little beings with complex navigational and communication skills, emotions, and even facial recognition.
Now a study at Queen Mary University of London has successfully challenged the long held notion that only ‘large-brained’ beings can maneuver with tools. Cognitive scientist Lars Chittka and his team found that bumblebees could solve tasks and use tools to gain access to nectar. But better yet, they’ve shown bumblebees can learn this task from other bees and hive mates, without ever experiencing these tasks in nature.Read More →
I Absolutely Love This Quote!
‘Unique among all creatures, only the honeybee improves the environment and preys not on any other species…’
– Royden Brown
Ten Fun Facts About Honeybees!
Honeybees, scientifically known as Apis mellifera (meaning honey-carrying bee), have been buzzing around on earth for over 30-millions of years. Humans and honeybees have had a long and loyal relationship for thousands of years. Honeybees are the only insect that create/produce food we eat. ?Read More →
Most flowering plants have their pollen readily available for any and all pollinators to gather. But some plants are a bit more selective, even somewhat stubborn about whom they will share their nutritious golden treasure.
I just learned about a pollinating technique called ‘Buzz-Pollination from a video series produced by PBS called ‘Deep Look’. Chances are good that you have personally benefited from buzz-pollination’ through enjoying tomatoes, blue berries, cranberries, peppers, eggplant and even potatoes.Read More →
San Francisco Botanical Garden ‘Flower Piano’
The San Francisco Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park is in full bloom this summer with pollinators going wild! Look at this fabulous honeybee gathering pollen from a huge Matillija Poppy. Her little pollen purses are just teaming with food for her hive-mates.
We attended the annual ‘Flower Piano’ event this month. During our visit, strolling through this 55-acre San Francisco gem in Golden Gate Park, we saw over 5 different species of hummingbirds, fury bumble bees, honeybees, wild bees, along with numerous species of butterflies, not to mention a huge variety of botanical wonders from all over the world.Read More →
This month the lavender, verbena, and bottle brush are sustaining our resident flutter-bye populations. Just last weekend the Rhododendrons began to bloom, which attracted an incredible, visually dynamic, early morning brunch-fest. I just smiled as I observed their pleasant hum from my big, old, teak garden chair, sipped my first hot cup-oh-joe…
What a treat…! ???Read More →
We visited the Gallery of California Natural Sciences in Oakland to see the Honeybee exhibit and learned about the 1,600 species of bees that live in California. Bees help produce our food and keep our ecosystem buzzing. There are many things we can all do to better support our local pollinators. It begins with creating a healthy and reliable food source for them, free of dangerous pesticides. Many people are unaware of the devastating effects systemic fertilizers, RoundUp, and neonicotinoids have on our wonderful pollinator communities. These chemicals contaminate the pollen and nectar bees feed upon, which in turn wipes out entire colonies.Read More →
Rainy Day Bees!
Northern California has been a very wet, soggy place this winter. However, we are loving all the rain since our region has been in a severe drought for the last 5-years. ☔️
The winter months pose a tough time for honeybees due to the impact of cold & rain on foraging and the availability of pollen. During a break from a recent rainy deluge, I came across this busy bee gathering pollen for her hive mates. Working with great vigilance, she moved from flower to flower on our Camellia bush. If you look closely, you can see the rain drops on the top of the petals… ?Read More →
? Winter Bee Food ?
Yesterday after the rain stopped, I ventured through the garden to document the blooming plants producing food for our local & migratory pollinators. I photo document this seasonal bloom-cycle twice a month throughout the year to make sure our little nectar-loving friends are always ensured a veritable smorgasbord in our garden.Read More →
The Little Bee That Saved Christmas ?
In the queendom of beedom, there is known to be a small bee from the genus Hylaeus sp. that has been credited with saving Christmas by researchers in New Zealand. This sweet little bee formed a much needed, yet mysterious symbiotic relationship with a very rare form of mistletoe (Peraxilla tetrapetala).
Now this is not your average, run-of-the-mill mistletoe. Rather, a single Peraxilla plant can live for more than a century, producing a cluster of spectacular crimson buds each year around the time of the Winter Solstice. ?Read More →
Nectar Sweet Victory Against Monsanto!Read More →
A district judge in the state of Yucatán, Mexico has overturned a permit that would have allowed Monsanto to commercially plant hundreds of thousands of hectares of soybeans genetically modified to resist the company’s infamous pesticide Roundup. The new ruling stated that introducing GM crops to the region would most certainly threaten the established and highly lucrative honey production.
We have an issue with a careless neighbor and her little gray dog. Every morning this woman allows her dog to take a poop on the pathway to our front door. And sure enough, every morning my kids find it on their way out the door for school and proceed to spread it all over the front pathway…
On the few occasions when I have been up early enough to catch this jerk, she just smiles and walks away, leaving a steamy pile of poop gracing our entryway. We love dogs and always pick up after our own animals. There is also a leash law in our town that this lady seems to have decided to ignore. I’m not sure where this person lives, and I don’t want to start unnecessary conflict, but I’m sick of this crap. Any advice…?
-PoopedRead More →
Every year my husband and I throw several large social events at our home. Some for simply gathering good friends, others for networking with colleagues and fostering professional relationships. Over the years, we have adjusted our guest lists and removed those that became socially challenging for us to ‘manage’ during various events (i.e. basic rudeness, over-indulgence, or any socially inappropriate, embarrassing behavior that may reflect poorly upon us.)
On several occasions, guests that were removed from our invite list called or emailed to ask why they didn’t receive an invitation, or worse, showed up uninvited with the assumption they were welcome. This has proven to create an awkward situation for us. Is it just me, or is it the height or rudeness to assume you are invited to an event, even though you didn’t receive a formal invitation? Are we duty-bound to entertain people simply because they had the privilege of attending one of our gatherings previously? Please Matilda, share with us your sage wisdom on this matter…
– Irked in ArkansasRead More →
Did I mention I love artichokes?
When most people see an artichoke for the first time, they are reminded of the giant man-eating plant ‘Audrey’ from Little Shop of Horrors. Artichokes have thorns that look like dangerous claws on the end of each fibrous leaf. Encountering them for the first time may be a little intimidating, bringing about a cautious apprehension present when attempting to break up a cat fight while naked. It is neither obvious nor intuitive how to approach eating an artichoke for the first-timer. However, if you are fortunate enough to live in an area where artichokes grow, and you are in-the-know on just how to prepare and eat them, they are truly a glorious delight.Read More →
Thelma & Louise
One of my best gal pals from college lives across the country. We have remained very close over the years, talking several times a week by phone and Skype. Two months ago, we decided to plan a road trip to Colorado to visit her niece, whom I’m very close with. We’re both really excited to have a bit of quality face-to-face time together while traveling. So, we’ve been enthusiastically planning excursions and adventures into our 6-day journey, including museums, shopping, a girls spa day, hiking a few national parks, fun restaurants to visit with her niece, etc.
Then, about three weeks ago, I was contacted by another friend from college whom I have consciously maintained little interaction with over the years. She informed me that she’d heard about our road trip and invited herself to join us.Read More →
Any idea how to clear a clogged drain without using harsh chemicals? I’m in a real pickle right now.
I appreciate your desire to find a solution that isn’t going to harm the environment or corrode your household plumbing. So, let’s approach this as women in my Grandmother’s era managed their own ‘lady plumbing’, with a wee bit of vinegar…Read More →
We recently installed an 8ft. deer fence around our back yard with the hopes of growing a beautiful picking garden that would not become a gourmet salad bar for our lovely local deer population. Unfortunately, the gate was left open, and now I have two female deer that refuse to leave my gated yard.
I don’t want to hurt them, I just want them gone, immediately if not sooner. Any advice…?
Oh My Deer,
My very first thought was a cross bow, though you kindly stated your lack of interest in venison sausages. (Rats!) So, I’ll share with you a little trick I learned on the family dairy farm when the cows would raid Mum’s garden.Read More →
I am a 14-year old girl with terrible acne. I’ve tried all the products at the store and nothing works. My face has red, puffy volcanoes all over it! Is there anything you know of that can help me? Please!!!!
– Zitted-out & feeling awful
Dear Beautiful Girl,
Thank you for writing to me with your facial issues. Puberty can feel like such a betrayal of the body, yes? Hormones are awakening within the body and mind, and it’s truly quite overwhelming at times. I recall my face looking like a constellation in the northern sky when I was about your age. My dear Mum had a few farmhouse remedies from the old country I’d be happy to share with you. We’ll have you radiant and clear-faced in no time my dear, no worries.Read More →
My generous in-laws invite us to use their luxurious cabin in the mountains, rent-free, a few times throughout the year. We usually invite another family to enjoy a holiday with us, and divvy up the meals and other costs accordingly. Most, if not all of our guests go out of their way to pay for restaurants, etc. as a token of their appreciation for the invitation to join us at the cabin. This is certainly not expected, but always appreciated given the rental rates for cabins in the area are seriously off-the-charts $$$!
Recently, I invited a friend & her family (2-adults, 2-kids) to join us for our upcoming holiday at the cabin. We agreed on the dates and began planning our adventures. A few days later, while attending a charity luncheon, my friend invited another woman and her family, whom I am not acquainted with, to join us at the cabin for our upcoming holiday. I was without words and unable to respond before she audaciously stated she was sure it wouldn’t be a issue because there was enough room for their family of four (bed-wise) to stay with us at the cabin….Read More →