Monthly Archives: January 2018

Picture of the Moment—Prehistoric creature hiding in flowers

Picture of the Moment

A macro lens allows you to see the prehistoric creature hiding in the flowers, about to nip your nose as you smell them.

Prehistoric creature hiding in the flowers

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My Own Little World—Update on my thirsty honey bees

I live in my own little world

Update on my thirsty honey bees.

For the first two posts, see these:

I put out a little bag of pear and mango slices but the honeybees have absolutely zero interest.

However, all is not lost.

After constructing the bigger pond in Wildlife Corner and setting up the birdbath, about fifty honey bees found it. It was obvious that they had traveled far to get there because they were so tired that they kept falling into the water and didn’t have enough energy to get out. I spent a long time with a little stick helping the little ones get out of the water. I hope they have learned not to go into the water if they are too tired to swim. So I have a large colony at the smaller north pond and a large colony at the larger south pond. I still don’t want the honey bees at the smaller north pond because it is too close to the walkway to the garage. It’s a little disconcerting to have to walk through a hundred flying honey bees on the way to the car, or on the way from the car to the house with arms full of groceries….


I’m going to try deterrent methods. The first one is to sprinkle powdered garlic around the pond. Apparently honey bees find garlic odor offensive and will stay away, hopefully moving to the Wildlife Corner pond. And it’s true! The honey bees don’t like the front pond anymore, but they still are out there flying around. Hopefully they all will find the Wildlife Corner pond soon.

Meanwhile, here’s a macro picture of a honey bee drinking water from the birdbath out in Wildlife Corner:

Macro picture of a honey bee drinking water

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Picture of the Moment—First one I’ve ever seen outside of a zoo or aquarium

Picture of the Moment

Outside of a zoo or aquarium, I had never seen a millipede, a living, breathing, walking-on-a-million-legs millipede. Until yesterday.

It was making its way across a sandy area of my garden. I gave it a little help getting to the shadier side. I hope a bigger creature doesn’t make a meal out of him, but he will have more hiding places on the shadier side.

My wise old grandmotherThen again, though, as my wise old grandmother would say as she was moving an invasive creature from the indoors back to the outdoors: “It’s important for the food chain.” I learned a lot from my wise old grandmother.

I have seen quite a few creatures in the wild out here at our place in the boondocks that I had never seen in the wild before, including a praying mantis and a California quail.

Praying mantis in Winter Gardens

California quail

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Picture of the Moment—I’m imagining….

Picture of the Moment

I was hiking out in the woods in the boondocks recently when I came upon this:

The sign above the door says, “The Imagination Book Club.”

This was out in the woods in the boondocks. I’m not sure how many people actually make it out there, but apparently some do. Curtains on the windows, blinds on the door window, and even that table lamp just inside the door.

I never found a way to get over to it from where I was. This is a great example of where you can go—so to speak—if you have a 600mm lens on your camera!

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My Own Little World—Construction of the Wildlife Corner pond

I live in my own little world

I put 12 hours of effort on Friday into creating a pond where my little tired and thirsty honeybees will be happy.

Following are three pictures documenting construction.

All I have to do now is add some little sandy beaches so the honeybees can live the good life and add some plants to provide shelter and shade.

Pond in Wildlife Corner

Pond in Wildlife Corner

Pond in Wildlife Corner

During the 12 hours that I spent building the Wildlife Corner Pond, lots of wildlife came by to see what I was doing. A couple of rabbits watched me from a small hill in the open space preserve on the other side of the chain link fence. Four ground squirrels watched me from an area that I call “Ground Squirrel Hill,” also on the other side of the chain link fence. And seven yellow birds—I have no idea what kind of birds they are but I have never seen them before—sat on the wood fence and in the trees above the fence watching me. I suspect the new water source in Wildlife Corner will draw even more wildlife, especially birds, than I am accustomed to seeing each day.

Two yellow birds watching construction

Rabbit and squirrelsAfter construction was completed and the pond was full of water—and I was inside—lots of birds stopped by. Several curve-billed thrashers, lots of sparrows, a western scrub jay, and many honeybees. The fact that some honeybees already have discovered this new water source gives me encouragement that I’ll be able to coax the honeybees from the front pond to the new Wildlife Corner pond. I think the rabbits and ground squirrels already had gone to bed for the evening so I look forward to seeing how they react when I put out food for them in about seven hours.

All pictures were taken with my smarty pants phone since I’m not taking $2,000 worth of camera equipment out into a construction zone full of dirt and water.

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Did You Know?—Bees get thirsty, too!

Did you know?

Part of my landscaping project for our new home was to create a little pond. Not too big because I prefer plants to ponds, but a little pond does create visual interest to go along with the plants. Shortly after creating my little pond on December 16, 2017, it looked like this:


A couple of days ago, my little pond looked like this:

I’m a big fan of honeybees. However….

I don’t want a beehive in my yard. But I have never seen a beehive on or under the ground, and certainly not where it can get flooded by waters from a pond.

Not wanting to kill the little bees—after all, my wise old grandmother taught me that all life has a right to live—I stopped by a bee removal business and asked them what was going on and what I could do.

Turns out that honeybees get thirsty, too, and the bees here at my little pond have discovered a great water source out here in the dry boondocks. That knowledge, though, didn’t lead me to any conclusions about what to do other than let my little pond dry up. I wasn’t going to do that. So I have decided to create yet another pond, but this one will be out in my Wildlife Corner where, currently, the squirrels and rabbits are fighting it out for supremacy.

It's 4-2, squirrels over rabbits

The block wall already is gone and in about 15 hours I will have a little pond there.

I asked the bee guy about the bees that tend to get into the water and drown. I couldn’t figure out why bees would practice self-drowning. He said that those bees came the farthest and were so excited about finding a water source that they went swimming, forgetting that they didn’t know how to swim. Ooopsy.

More seriously, they didn’t have the energy left to get out of the water if they fell in, and they didn’t have enough energy left to keep their balance and not fall in. With that knowledge, the new pond in Wildlife Corner will have lots of shallow areas, beaches, and rocks where they can rest, or crawl out of the water if they fall in.

Once I have the new pond in Wildlife Corner, I will help the bees find it. The way to do that is to put some fresh fruit—pears and mangos are best—in a little bag, put the bag about 20 feet from the pond, and in a couple of days all the bees will move to the fruit. I have about 60 feet between front pond and Wildlife Corner pond, so it will take me a couple of weeks to get these bees moved to the Wildlife Corner pond. I feel like a little kid in first grade doing his first experiment. Will this work? I don’t know. Everything on the Internet indicates that it will. I’m cautiously optimistic.

So, did you know that bees actually get thirsty, too! I figured they got all their liquid sustenance from flowers, but in thinking about that more logically, that doesn’t make much sense. Hmmmm. Sixty years, 10 months, and 15 days on this Earth, and I’m still learning stuff….

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Out & About San Diego—The Lifeguard, Ocean Beach

Out & About San Diego

It’s amazing how many times I can go someplace and still find something new.

Recently I was in Ocean Beach, a place where I hung out every day for many years, and a place that I still visit on a weekly basis. I found two monuments that I had never seen before. One is called “The Lifeguard.” Looks like this:

The Lifeguard, Ocean Beach, San Diego, California

The Lifeguard, Ocean Beach, San Diego, California

The Lifeguard, Ocean Beach, San Diego, California

There’s a lot of text on that plaque. Here’s what it says:


On Sunday, May 5, 1918, 13 lives were lost here, including
11 soldiers and sailors stationed at Camp Kearny North Island and Point Loma. The rip currents were caused by unusual conditions of tides near the entrance to Mission Bay.
Police Lifeguard Louis Chauvaurd made several unheeded warnings to the soldiers and effected rescues before he fell exhausted. Police Lifeguards Glen Fresca, Frank Gilroy and Frank Merritt all made several rescues. Citizens and soldiers were called upon to make rescues including Henry Hanson who valiantly saved the lives of 5 swimmers before losing his own. Over 60 lives were saved. As a result of this tragedy the

City of San Diego provided additional lifeguard staffing
and equipment leading to the development of the
Lifeguard Services today.

This memorial was placed here in 2013 by the
San Diego Lifesaving Association and the citizens of San Diego
in honor of San Diego Lifeguards
and to memorialize the men who lost their lives.

Ralph Braby • Hugh E. Burr • Emerson Donaldson
Henry P. Hanson • Herman Haube

L. H. Killingsworth • Frank Mitten
Charles Monroe Humphrey • Chalmer L. Pollitt

Marcus Regil • Fred W. Sanborn • Jesus Satoyo • Granville Taylor

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Robert Baxley (1934-2005), a former Ocean Beach lifeguard,
respected waterman, author and judge, provided the vision for the establishment of this bronze.
In 2010 a task force was created led by

Neil Moyer, Jim ‘Mouse’ Robb, Julie Klein, Richard Arnold,
Lt. Greg Buchanan and former Councilmember Byron Wear
to organize the community effort.

In appreciation for major gifts to the
Captain Charles W. Hardy Memorial Fund
[And then it lists all the contributors to the Fund.
I can’t read them, and I could find no online source
that lists them, but I’d like to thank them, too!]

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Pictures of the Moment—Itty bitty teeny tiny little succulent flowers, mostly

Picture of the Moment

Taken with my Tamron 90mm Macro lens.

A string of itty bitty teeny tiny little succulent flowers
Teeny tiny flowers

Another itty bitty teeny tiny little succulent flower

More itty bitty teeny tiny little succulent flowers


Honeybee on aloe flowers
Aloe flowers and honeybee

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Did you know?—Ombrohydrochory

Did you know?

This is a little teeny tiny seed pod—about ¼” in diameter—of Glottiphyllum linguiforme taken with my Tamron 90mm Macro lens:

Glottiphyllum linguiforme seed pod

The seed pod releases its seeds via ombrohydrochory, a special form of hydrochory where the seeds are propelled by the action of rain falling on the plant.

Ombrohydrochory occurs primarily in very wet habitats and in very dry habitats and deserts where rain is sporadic but often heavy.

When the seed pod gets wet, it swells, shooting the seeds out like a jet leaving an aircraft carrier.

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