Tuesday, September 13, 2011

change in the air

Change - small change - in the air last week with a cooler night (50) producing some fog over the bottomlands. The previous weeks had seen a remarkably stable pattern of lows of 55 and highs of 90, plus or minus a few degrees. We missed this year the scattering of very cold nights (with lows close to 40) that we'd seen in previous Augusts.

The last few days have witnessed some relatively high heat, with a couple of 97s and 98s and night-time lows in the mid-60s (and some uncomfortable humidity) but we've now reverted to what seems to be the new norms of 55-88, plus or minus. The plants aren't complaining. We continue to get prodigious amounts of corn and tomatoes while beginning to enjoy lettuce and broccoli from the first wave of plantings for the fall garden.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

greenhouse buddy

A volunteer in my greenhouse integrated pest management program. We have long, deep conversations.

He (or she) is Pseudacris regilla, a Pacific Tree Frog, somewhat misnamed because they don't spend much time in trees. Pseudacris is Latin for chorus, and a choir they are, beginning all at once on an evening in May and filling our nights with sound for a few months. They eat insects and seeds.

His habitat, below, is a small forest of plants for the fall garden; many have been potted up into recycled coffee cups. We're mid-way in the fall planting season. A first round of broccoli, chinese cabbage, lettuce, kale, and others have gone out into my garden, the community garden, and to friends. We'll plant another couple of rounds this month, then sit back and enjoy the results.

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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Italy meets Galt

We ready ourselves for a visit to Kingbird by Paolo di Croce, President of Slow Food International. Di Croce recently succeeded Carlo Petrini, founding President of Slow Food. He's on a US tour for the purpose of strengthening connections between the US program and the Italy-based gobal organization.

The hooks for his visit here are an heirloom bean event near here next Sunday (see here for details; navigate elsewhere on that site to enjoy some great photos!) and Ms Kingbird's relatively new status as Governor of Slow Food for inland Northern California (we call her "Guv" ...). We'll host a meeting here for chapter leaders and di Croce before the bean event.
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waiting zone

These barn swallows (and many, many more), a mix of parents and young-of-the-year hatched here, wait for the trigger that tells them to start moving south.

What is that trigger? There are theories, but no hard facts. They leave this neighborhood long before their food base (flying insects) becomes scarce, probably moving gradually south until at some point they undertake the long flight to Central and South America, encouraged by cooler temperatures and shortening days.

Related posts are here, here, here, and here for anyone wanting to explore my obsession with barn swallows!
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