Blueberry Borage coffee cake with coffee ice cream
Farmers' Market veggies with fresh-caught salmon
Back-alley blackberries and parking strip golden raspberries
Rye-sourdough pancakes with kefir cream and berries
It's funny, if you asked me what the main colors were in our backyard garden, I would describe to you the borage, peppermint, and lavender purples, the California poppy oranges (and pink), and brilliant red clover...but, after tidying up the yard yesterday, I noticed that there were SO many white flowers everywhere! Some of them are really tiny, like the yarrow, cilantro, and buckwheat, but others are just lovely anomalies; I absolutely adore the white California poppies and the elegant white foxglove!
I know that I should probably name all these sweet blooms for you, but it is SUNNY outside, so I must get back out and soak up that Vitamin D while I can.
Enjoy the tour!
This Woolly Bear caterpillar was high speed cruising across our path at Seward Park last week. I LOVE Woolly Bears, but I do not see them very often, and I wondered why. I did a little research and found out that if you google them, you will get a lot of information on whether or not you can accurately predict the severity of the upcoming winter by the width of their colored bands =Nope :^)
I also found out that the Banded Woolly Bear can travel up to a mile a day looking for a protected place to spend the winter and that they like to burrow under piles of leaves. It turns out that a Woolly Bear needs the cold to complete its metamorphosis; that is, they almost freeze solid and when spring arrives they thaw out, eat some greens, and then spin a cocoon (that looks a bit like a cat hairball), before transforming into its adult form as a Tiger Moth. The Tiger Moth has only one task to complete in its two-week life: find a mate and lay eggs. They do not even have mouth parts, so need waste no time looking for food.
Does the Woolly Bear hibernate like its mammalian namesake? I dug a little deeper ...
Infinite Spider explains: "For a long time scientists weren't sure if the woolly bear caterpillar used a strategy of diapause (insect equivalent of hibernation) or quiescence to survive winter. Scientists from the University of Pennsylvania did some studies of different caterpillars collected in fall and winter and then compared their development and metabolic rates. They found that the woolly bear caterpillar goes into quiescence, hiding under leaf litter and literally going dormant until conditions change. They could wake easily if it got nice outside, unlike their diapausing cousins."
Xerces Society has created a slew of cute #LEAVETHELEAVES graphics to encourage folks to enjoy the benefits of leaf litter. Cheers for mulch and overwintering sites for our insect friends!
This is a big shout-out to Sherrie Pelsma, the face behind Portland's Pollinator Parkways (also seen on my Biodiversity page). Sherrie has created a Do-it-Yourself Manual for home-owners who would like to "Flip their Strip", i.e. convert their turf-grass parking strip into a pollinator habitat. This is an excellent resource that will guide you through all the steps of transforming your "hell-strip". The manual is packed with clear instructions, shady/sunny plant lists and planting guides, and photos. You can also follow Pollinator Parkways on Facebook for updates and to share your photos. I have included Sherrie's manual as a pdf download. Have fun with your strip!
Pollinator Parkways has created over 6000 square feet of pollinator habitat. Thank you Sherrie, for your community spirit and inspiration!
Pollinator Parkway's Do-it-Yourself Manual:
It's October, and that means it is time to get your backyard ready for winter here in the NW.
I am attaching a pdf of my Urban Birds mandala for you to print and enjoy.
Shine on Harvest Moon!
The tiny goldenrod blossoms are favorites of our honeybees as they prepare for winter (top).
Below, the lovely buckwheat blossoms offer another autumn feast for the bees,
and the buckwheat fruit seeds will make a nice addition to our porridge.
Six Weeks of Asparagus EVERYthing
Rhubarb coffee cake
Frisbee-sized (and edible) Shaggy Parasol mushrooms