Friday, May 29, 2009

Birds I'm Watching: California Quail Babies

I startled a male California quail this morning and set him off, exhorting his chicks to take cover. These are the first chicks I've seen so far this year. I saw only three, but heard more. They are tiny. They've probably just hatched in the last day or two. Later saw the whole brood. There are about twelve babies--for the time being. They tend to disappear--to cats, to crows, to hawks....

Lately I've seen a fair number of acorn woodpeckers trying to get seed from the feeder and the usual Nuttal's woodpeckers there as well. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Plants I'm growing: First Blooms--Phlomis Purpurea, Aloe Aristata

First blooms today on the Phlomis purpurea behind the house. It looks very similar to the more common Phlomis fruiticosa, but has hairier leaves, stays somewhat lower, and the flowers are pinkish lavender rather than yellow.

Also blooming today is the ball-shaped Aloe aristata called "Tegelberg's Triumph."

Monday, May 25, 2009

Places I'm Visiting: Sunrise State Beach

Just back from two nights camping at Sunrise State Beach, near Watsonville, California (the self-proclaimed Artichoke Capital of the World). The campsite was next to an ocean of strawberry fields on one side, the actual ocean on the other. The facilities were very good (coin-operated hot showers) and the food was great--not that that had anything to do with the place itself. I'm not much of a camping enthusiast--although I loved camping as a Boy Scout and backpacking in my days of summers at the Outdoor Education Center at Glen Helen, in Yellow Springs, Ohio--but it was mostly fun. It would have been more enjoyable if my foot hadn't been so painful from the bee stings. Bizarrely, I got stung again, this time by a lone bumblebee on the beach, and then fell asleep there and got a terrible sunburn.

Do you have a voodoo doll of me?

Didn't see any interesting new birds. Saw quite a few interesting wildflowers, though. I haven't yet identified these.

Miscllaneous: Oakmont Classic Car Show (2009)

I showed my 1978 Alfa Romeo Spider at the Oakmont Classic Car Show (Santa Rosa, CA) on Saturday, hobbling around on my swollen, bee-stung foot. Mine was one of only four foreign cars at the show. Members of the Oakmont crowd are mostly nostalgic for the cars they grew up with, so, in that spirit, I offer the photo posted here--a miniature celebration of American steel. The amount of chromed steel that went into 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s American automobiles is truly staggering. When I get around to it, I'll post a photo of the Spider. The show was fun, but I feel more at home at the annual Alameda All-Italian show in the autumn.
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