Wednesday, June 30, 2010


On hot days the bees remain outside the hive for a while until the temperature cools. They like the hive to be 93 degrees Fahrenheit. If it is a cold day they cluster into a ball and on a hot day they spread out.

Perfect landing every time!

These guys needed some privacy but I couldn't stop looking.

Praying mantis require good vision for hunting; that is possible due to their binocular field of vision and their flexible head movements. Can you see him staring at you. Yah you.

I think this one is a swallowtail butterfly.

This dragon fly visited our garden last year. It was a lucky photo shot. One click he was there a second later he was gone.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

June come and went in a flash

Wow, next week June will come to an end.

I greeted this month in Ashland OR. As part of my visit I wanted to check out the local dog park. More curiosity led us (Quin, M and I) to find this creek. A hidden treasure behind the dog park.

This year I have made a commitment to shop second hand. The blouse that I am wearing cost me $2.99 at the local thrift in Ashland.

As soon as school ended I pulled my sewing machine out of it's case and started quilting. This summer I am taking a garment sewing class at the JC. My idea of fun before RN school starts in August. My grandmother Adela was a talented seamstress and for years I watched her work. Now I feel her presence when I am sewing.

This month we attended a memorial for the Ocean and a protest march. It was a sad evening for me and one full of reflection.

We celebrated several birthdays at M&P's. Arthur, K&D's baby, is now one year old. Happy Birthday!

Another addition to the long arm photography club.

I have been attending a 40 hour Medical Interpreter course through the St. Joseph's system. Very cool stuff. I had forgotten the word for gallbladder (vesicula), good thing I took this class. With my certificate of completion in hand, I am safe and ready to interpret for Spanish speaking patients. If I want to get certified I would need a much longer course, but this is a great start.

Last night on my way home from jamming apricots with a friend, I stopped on the side of the road to take this picture. I had no tripod so was lucky to get a decent full moon shot.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Angel Island

On Wednesday I spent the day with Kathy and her tennis friends hiking Angel Island.
You can hike, ride your bike, and even back pack on Angel Island. A fee of $13.50 gets you there and back. There is a visitor's center, a museum, and lots of places to enjoy the view.

The Golden Gate bridge is behind me. It is under all that fog.

I took this picture of the Bay Bridge with Thomas in mind. T took an edible plant identification class this last weekend and I understand these are stinging nettles (I saw them everywhere on the island). They are very good for your health. As soon as he got home last Sunday night we took a walk looking for them near our home.

A blooming century plant another of T's favorite.

The beach at Fort McDowell. You can see it in the picture above.

T's mom!

It was so much fun to see the fog roll. It moves so fast.

Angel Island processed 1 million immigrant in the 30 years. Ellis Island processed 12 million people in 62 years.

It was a delightful day spent getting to know some amazing women. After a quick lunch I rushed back to Santa Rosa to attend summer school.

White house bees

Bee's at the White House, why not?

Inside The White House - Bees! from The White House on Vimeo.

You might ask why are the bee boxes stacked so high? You have to remember there are small children and a pet dog at the white house. Getting the bee's up off the ground is good to prevent rodents, ants, and other pests from crawling their way into the hive. Stacking also would make it easier to cut the grass around the hive. Yes they White House still has a lawn.

It is not an uncommon practice to stack bee boxes or supers two, three or four high. The idea is to encourage the queen to lay her eggs in the bottom one or two boxes. Place a queen excluder, which is a screen that will not allow the queen to get past (due to the size of her abdomen), then stack the supers an additional two to three boxes high. These top supers will be used by the bees to store honey. This way you can harvest without disturbing the queen and her brood.

Monday, June 21, 2010

This time last June.

This time last year...
I love thinking back. What was I doing this time last year? In attempt to bring you along, here are some highlights.

We got our first bee hive this time last year. It was an exciting day. Kathy came over one afternoon and gently opened the bee box.

Later on we split the hive and had our own equipment in place. June is considered late in the season, so we feed our bees sugar water for some time until they got used to their new home.

My talented friend Pat H. and master knitter made this amazing shawl for a very special Lady. I got to model it before it was gifted. The shawl is "the Illusionist shawl", it was designed by Alchemy Yarns and knitted in Haiku also by Alchemy Yarns. A week after taking this picture Thomas and I were both sick with the H1N1. No correlation with the shawl. I remember having so much fun that Friday night with my knitting friend. By Sunday Thomas had a high fever and he felt so bad he never made it out of bed. The following Wednesday I was just as sick. When we were better I thought of making matching T-shirts that read, "I survived the swine flu". Remember how crazy it was around that time.

Last May Kristine and Vincenzo made an important commitment to each other. The irony, we were all due at their wedding in May, which was rescheduled for September due to the H1N1. We were unwilling to travel outside of the US in order to prevent getting sick. A month later we were sick. It was a crazy time.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Swarm Catcher

Thomas got a call about a swarm just after 5 p.m. on Friday. We were due at our friend Michael and Pamela's house for dinner at 6:30 p.m. He knew it was going to be tight but he couldn't resist taking a quick drive by the property to check out the bee action. At 5:30 p.m. I get a call from Thomas and I knew from the excitement in his voice, I just needed to say yes and join him on this adventure.

Thomas caught a swarm and I took some pictures. We were late to dinner but our friends were very understanding. Thanks M&P!

The cluster of bees in the plum tree.

The only way to get to the swarm was to cut the tree branches.

One good shake and they were in the box.

Yes, we had an audience. They were entertained by us and we were entertained by them.

After Thomas took all the fallen plums and branches out of the box, he was able to cover the bee box. We were confident the queen was in the large cluster, so we actually let the bees that were on the ground and sheet crawl their way into the box. Since it was still light out, we left the site to celebrate with our friends and returned after dark. Later that night, all the bees were tucked in the hive. A short drive later they were at their new home. Not bad for a Friday night adventure. Oh and for those of you that are curious... neither Thomas or I got stung.

Friday, June 18, 2010


Two years ago Thomas and I found Oscar while walking at night on the north side of the creek trail near Willowside Road. He followed us part of the 2 mile walk home and we carried him the other half. The next morning we drove him to the animal control center thinking his owners were missing him. After two weeks no one had claimed him, so we adopted him.
What makes Oscar special? He is extremely playful, doesn't meow, and loves to lay on his side. Oscar came home from the animal shelter with a broken leg. The good thing is that they paid for his surgery, but that meant he had to wear a cast on his fractured rear leg for what felt like eternity. Since we have our cat Tuxedo at home, we had to keep Oscar in our bedroom with the cat box in the bathroom until the cast come off. A week into this ordeal, I woke up to Oscar sitting on Thomas' pillow and as soon as I opened my eyes Oscar's paw scratched my right eyeball. Not fun. We still had 7 more weeks to endure his playfulness in such a small space.

Oscar loves to hang out with Lily and will follow her around. This particular afternoon, Thomas was watching the bee hives with both Oscar and Lily at his feet. I think Oscar thinks himself a dog.

Oscar is actually a very good cat. An amazing hunter. A year ago my neighbors to the right were having rat problems. We had an open compost pile in our back yard. One morning I saw a rat checking the pile of rotting food. I stopped what I was doing, looked for Oscar, and got him on the rat's path. Two hours later he had the rat in his mouth. My neighbor ended up exterminating over 33 rats that summer. We had one! Thanks Oscar.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Long arm photography

Thomas and I are often alone when we travel or hang out.
Usually, I am capturing him in the action or he is taking pictures of me.
When we think of taking a picture together it inevitably ends up being a long arm shot.
From our most private archives....

At home on a sunday afternoon, laughing together.

On the top of a hill in Durango, Colorado on a cold November day. Yes it was early morning and we had just rolled out of bed.

On the double decker bus in Mexico City playing 'turistas' last September.

Five day backpacking trip in Covelo, CA in 2008. We were really alone on this one. No humans just bears.

Did you notice Thomas on the left and Diana on the right. Weird that's also how we sleep.

Purple, Red, Yellow and Green

June happenings in our garden...

Oh grasshopper, a little grasshopper.

Our first harvest of purple potatoes!

More bees foraging.

The ladybugs are here.

A beautiful poppy.

The sunflowers are here.

First one to open.