Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

We get by with a little help from our friends.

Through no fault of their own, autistic couple Rob and Mag and their beloved family of plants, cockatiels and hawks may soon find themselves thrust into the hard world of homelessness.

Rob is a dear friend of mine. Please read their story and help out if you can. Thanks.

By the way, some people have questions about keeping raptors: It is important to note that Rob is a fully-licensed falconer, with the proper permits and housing for his raptors. He is a fully trained and certified, licensed by the California Department of Fish and Game and the United States FIsh and Wildlife Service to fly and hunt with raptors. He is also licensed through Sonoma County Bird Rescue Center to operate field rescues and take part in rehab and release of wild raptors. Rob has worked with eagles, owls, hawks, ospreys, peregrines, kestrels, merlins, and many other raptors during his falconry and rehab experience. It is ILLEGAL to keep raptors without the proper training and licensing.

What’s growing in the yard

Just a few photos my husband shot of what’s growing. See more of his photos at his site.


The dogwood is starting to bloom.


I love the way the Japanese Maple sends out new leaves. It looks like fireworks.


Moonbeam Coreopsis cover the ground next to the Japanese Maple.

Helebore blooming.

Hellebore blooms.

Swarmageddon is Coming!

Heads up East Coast – The Invasion is almost here!

Magicicada Brood II is a 17-year periodic cicada due to make its appearance this spring along the east coast from New England to North Carolina. Sometime within the next 6 weeks, billions of nymphs will crawl up out of the ground, molt and have the biggest and noisiest cicada orgy since 1996.

Oh Hai! I hear there’s a party going on.

Hear a loud sample of the festivities. WARNING: turn down your speakers.

The party goes on for 6 weeks. After mating, the females will lay eggs in the tips of tree branches. The eggs hatch, the nymphs fall to the ground and burrow, starting another 17-year cycle.

Radiolab of WNYC of New York set up a Cicada Tracker Crowdsourcing Project to collect data from home-built soil thermometers to predict the date of Swarmageddon.When soil temperatures 8 inches down in the ground reach a steady 64°F, the emergence will begin.

All the instructions are on the website to build your own set-up, or you can do what I did and stick the compost thermometer 8 inches in the ground, take a reading once in the morning, and once in the evening, average it and enter the information at the Tracker website. If you don’t have a compost thermometer around, you can use a long meat thermometer if the range goes low enough, or buy a soil thermometer for about $8.

Yesterday, my soil temp was 48, today it’s 50. It shouldn’t be more than 2 or 3 weeks.

In my life, I don’t remember any emergence being  particularly annoying or even noticeable. Even the huge Brood X from 2004 wasn’t a bother here. But this year, I’m not going to miss the party. If it’s not in my neighborhood, I’ll go looking for it.

On a final note, the cicadas are harmless. They don’t eat crops, they won’t bite you. They are just a nuisance and will be gone by mid-July. I’m going to enjoy the show.

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