- 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.
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 →
Over the last few years, the classic deli sandwich has been through a major overhaul as we strive to create nutritious yet satisfying ways to reinvent this American staple. At the store, as I read the labels on many of these common household condiments, meats and breads, I quickly discovered a plethora of hidden sugars, salt, nitrates, antibiotics and even growth hormones. Bad, bad, 1000 times BAD!
My journey began with the basics, finding reliable sources for high quality bread, cheese and meat. Once I found a healthy source for these, I decided to explore my choices for delicious condiments and greens to create a sandwich that was truly Voovacious!Read More →
We are blessed to have not one, but two Meyer lemon trees in our yard. As the days grow shorter in late autumn, the yellow orbs begin to deepen in color and look like bright seasonal ornaments stealthfully hiding among the deep green foliage. With the passing of each winter day, the lemons grow sweeter, and knowing this makes me feel warm right down to my toes.Read More →
My Grandmother was always in the kitchen cooking up something wonderful. As I recall, even the couch in her house smelled like a perfectly pleasant blend of fresh-baked cookies and thick-cut bacon. (I know that sounds weird, but it was absolutely the bees-knees as a kid!)Read More →
Several decades ago I began exploring the art of infusing various fruit and herbal mixtures with spirits. It started innocently enough with a simple curiosity to find a way to blend the medicinal anti-inflammatory qualities of the ginger root with the anti-oxidants in wild berries. Wah-lah, the Raspberry Ginger Snap was born!Read More →
Meyer Lemon Picatta is exquisitely divine and easy to prepare. The light, rich sweetness of the lemon sauce in juxtaposition to the salty capers and deep tones of white sage, make this a Splendiferous ‘comfort meal’ to be shared with friends and family. Serve it with fresh pasta, herb-roasted potatoes or lemon-rice pilaf, accompanied by steamed asparagus, broccoli, brussels sprouts or try our Rainbow Carrots, Haricot Verts & Caramelized Shallots.Read More →
Who doesn’t love a mimosa to go with a fabulous Sunday brunch?!! And while regular orange juice is lovely, why not add some unique bling and glam-it-up a bit with fresh squeezed blood orange juice? The deep rose-red color makes a regular champagne glass look like an Oscar-worthy celebration…Read More →