Sunday, July 26, 2015

Not about fitba

Sometimes I wonder what I'd be like if it weren't for working on books at work all the time. Did I have any idea there were so many types of owls--and woodpeckers--around before The Owl and the Woodpecker spent so much time on my desk? One doubts. And it was City Goats that provoked my ongoing obsession wtih goats though possibly my love of chevre predates my meeting Snowflake, Eloise, and--oh yes--Jennie Grant. Next up it was The Front Yard Forager, a book on eating weeds, and I now know that it's catsear, not dandelion, that I'm cutting down in my dried-up front yard these days and, by gosh, I could be making a succulent meal rather than filling the yard waste container. (It still ended up in the yard waste but the fennel cookie recipe I got from that book is the best.)

More recently I've been working on a book about cycling as a regular mode of transportation (Urban Cycing) and last weekend Scott and I rode our bikes all over West Seattle in the record-setting heat to look at gardens. It's not like I haven't owned my bike since the mid-1990s but I'm more aware of its needs since I've been working on this particular book--and I'm likely to exclaim, "Isn't biking just the best!" at regular intervals. Now I'm just starting on a book about bees--mason bees and leafcutters--and, well, I'm really wanting to know if the extremely methodical bee I observed today on the Alba lavender was a leafcutter. I took a number of photos, of course, and I've sent a couple to What's that Bug? because, of course, I'm not one to resist such a website. Nor the opportunity to share a few photos here, on the off-chance that a melittologist drops by blahdeblahblah.

Seriously, this little bee was darned cute, washing his little face or perhaps shoveling pollen someplace or other. There were any number of bumblebees and a honeybee or two also working the lavender but they all jumped from one stalk to the next while this little fellow stuck to the same one for a good ten minutes. I like a bee what's thorough.

 I also like the results of hardworking pollinators:

though I'm not sure how much they're involved in carrots. I guess carrots have to set seeds but that doesn't actually require pollination, does it? Regardless, it was a mammoth (and fine tasting) carrot. And also darned fine cucumber and teeny tomatoes.

Speaking of photogenic pollinators, here are a few more:

I had no idea there were so many types of bumblebees until I started trying to identify bees.

I believe this is the common honey bee. On the fennel I planted because while fennel can be a weed, it can also be planted.

It's a bird *and* a pollinator!  
Not so much a pollinator, I don't think, but just look at that adorable hair.


  1. What is "fitba"? The Old Fogey knows not the language of you youngsters.

    Nice bee photos.

    That carrot deserves a blue ribbon!

  2. That carrot was awarded the "sliced and eaten" award. It stinks to be a prize vegetable. "Fitba" is football. It's a "Trainspotting" reference:
    (Though I see there that it's more "shopping" and "fooootball.")

  3. What is the bird with the hair? I don't recognize him or the bee/bird pics! I would love a copy of the bee book when it's finished! hint hint....also had a funny encounter with a hummingbird in my back yard...was watering a plant and the water was sort of arcing out in the "shower" mode....I don't know if the bird was trying to take a drink or if my flowered dress had him thinking I might be a huge pollen source, but he flew from one side of the spray to the other, about a foot from my face and hovered just staring into my he was considering...."is it safe to take a drink?" "is this a person or some sort of moving garden of flowers?" Don't know if you've ever had this sort of was funny....the poor thing finally decided not to take the risk and flew this is your sister Wendy......

  4. Wendy, it's a younger Steller's jay--the PNW version of a proper blue jay. The hair style is not the norm.

    The bee book won't be out until next spring but of course I'd be happy to give one to you. I've just ordered a bunch of leafcutters so, with a lot of luck, maybe I'll be able to give you some bees too!

    Anna's hummingbirds can be pretty forward--try wearing an actual flower next time and see if the bird lands on you!