Friday, April 30, 2010

here's what I had in mind for Nature ID

Must, must check out Jim K. Lindsey's The Ecology of Commanster.
I just found it this morning and WOW, WOW, WOW!!!

ps - I may add more of my thoughts later, but right now, I'm speechless!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

my Carlton Duty story

There's a rather large jar of Italian Nutella still sitting in my office. I neglected to mail it to Carlton before I left town again. He claims the Italian version is much better than the US product.

Anyways... this reminds me of a true story I wrote as a facebook note and have been meaning to post to my blog. With Carlton's permission, here it is:

As a kid, I liked show and tell almost as much as I loved bugs. My dad would come home from work and frequently find me in the middle of our long, dirt drive, in my bathing suit and rubber galoshes, crouched over an ant hill, simply watching the activity... well, alright, I preferred to plop unsuspecting caterpillars over the hole to see how each critter would react... and maybe I shouldn't mention I also liked to see if butterflies could still fly, missing a wing or two? Ants, butterflies, mayflies, spiders, praying mantids... you name it, I'd catch them, play with them for a while, and then let them go.

So, in the 2nd grade, I took a praying mantid to school for show and tell in my shiny, new bug cage from Grandma. Show and tell wasn't until after morning recess, so I carried my little friend out to the playground with me. While hanging around on the monkey bars, I looked down and noticed the cage was open and my mantid was... gone!

I looked up to see you, Carlton Duty, a very tall 3rd grader with your arms up in the air, proclaiming “FREE THE ANIMALS!!!"

In tears, I ran to the playground teacher and told on you. I’m sure she scolded you as we frantically looked around for my mantid before the end of recess. I finally found it...
Under the monkey bars.

Thanks, Carlton Duty. Your name is forever burned into my memory from 2nd grade.

But, wait! The story doesn’t end there…

I majored in entomology in the midwest and by happenstance headed the invert. zoo. dept. at a natural history museum for a couple years. I was studying the field effects of organic pesticides (bacteria and a virus) on non-target Lepidoptera with an eye towards more responsible stewardship of our natural areas. Also, I was participating in a couple butterfly conservation projects. As part of my job and with more knowledge than I had as a kid, I loved rearing various bug-type animals. My apartment was often FILLED with insects.

So, several years ago, Kia and I were catching up. I told her what I was doing and mentioned my 2nd grade story as evidence that I have always loved bugs. She then told me she had recently seen you, Carlton Duty. She said you were working for Clark Pest Control!

How ironic!!!


As a ps and in Carlton's defense, here's the following fb thread:

Carlton: Katie has a good story to tell, and I will start it with the apology from me to her. "I'm so sorry. I feel horrible."

Julie: She has been telling that story for years! I'm so glad she got to tell you about it. hahaha. :)

Carlton: The worst part is I vividly remember it.

Katie: Haha, Carlton, you remember it, too, from 3rd grade?!?

Carlton: Kia was yanking your chain. I think in 1999 I was farming grapes in Delano. Waaaayyy worse than Orkin. Meh, not so bad. I was an accountant. The last thing I wanted to do was pay for another round of pesticides. It hurt my P&L.

Katie: Seriously!?! Dang, the working for Clark was the cherry on top of my story. I may be seeing Kia later today and will have to ask her. But with 4 kids running around, her memory is shot. Julie was correct in stating that I've been telling this story for years!

Katie: Carlton, Kia confirmed that when she talked with you back when, she pictured that TM van with the big bug on the side. Are you sure you never worked for Clark Pest Control?

Carlton: 100% positive. I've done a lot of stuff, but pest control isn't one of them!

Carlton: I figured it out. I used to work for these guys. Kia got confused with the other Clark.

Katie: LOL! I'm almost sad to hear you never worked pest control. Thanks for letting me share my story with you! Welcome to fb! You look like you're doing really well with wife, old stang, and cute doggies. Great!

Kia: I was thinking about this all night trying to rack my brain, even dreaming about it. I knew I wasn't witty enough to make it up, but get confused, yeah, that's more like it. lol

Julie: Carlton, you look like you're ready to do some pest control in your profile pic.

Katie: I thought the same thing, too, Julie! That must be his old flame the mustang.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

grunion greeting, 2010 #1

unofficial grunion greeting
full moon cycle, 10:30-11:05pm, partly cloudy skies

I am out of my mind! After 8 hours of driving back home, through rain, snow, and hail, I barely finished unpacking when I asked my sniffly hubby (he has a cold in a major way and I haven't seen him in 12 days) if he was up for going grunion greeting. It's not even a Doc Martin-approved outing; she thinks it's too early and too cold for our area this far north. I think she's given up on the Monterey area, but I haven't. I'm determined to report a W-3!!! (I'm thinking my hubby is extremely accommodating to my enthusiasm or is possibly, a teeny bit, interested in nature, too. Haha!)

Sure enough the lighted, squid boats were out in full force. I'm starting to figure their timing has much to do with the tide cycles, but I can't seem to find any confirmation of this online. We hoped to at least see Charlie, our night heron "friend" from last year. No such luck. And, no grunion. Phooey!

The tide was very high compared to any outings last year. It went up to the 2nd parking meter and in some areas right up to the beach house shown above. Despite all the cars on the commercial wharf, we only saw 2 people fishing. One had a huge flood light, powered by his truck, and was looking for striper. He was extremely grumpy, as I've now found most fishermen are.

Since it was windy and starting to rain, we headed home to a warm bed after only a little over half an hour.

ps - As usual, I'll probably edit this post once I look up an e-mail from Dr. Martin a couple months back, asking if anyone here felt a training workshop would be beneficial. Plus, I know y'all have missed my mysterious, fuzzy, nighttime lights pics!

pss 04/29/10 - I heard back from Dr. Martin after I made the first comment below. Here's what she said, "A minor correction, we did have a report even farther north than San Francisco last year, in Tomales Bay. Small, but present. As far as we know they are gone from San Francisco Bay but I'll keep checking from time to time."

And, yes, I officially reported our non-finding to Apparently, not seeing any grunion is acceptable research data. Can you believe they have 560 volunteers this year?!?

For quick links to active grunion nights, versus numerous verbose posts of my fuzzy nighttime pics of lights, click May 24, 2009 and June 7, 2009. You'll notice in my pics that most people have nappy-noggin' warmers and heavy coats in June! Our experience last year was NOT like what they show on t.v. from SoCal, but I'll take it just the same and still hold out hope we'll witness something spectacular. For a great horror B-flick of grunion, check out James Cameron's Piranha II: The Spawning.

entomology in pop culture

Love, love Xtina.
Are those walking canes actually insect pins?
I don't think BioQuip carries that size.

Christina Aguilera's Fighter

ps - Testing how vids work on blogger. Looks like it needs to be a link.

pss 01/29/11 - Hey, I like Christina. I used to be embarrassed, b/c I'm a bit older than her. Really love this honest video:

pss 09/04/11 - I'm not the only one who has looked at videos and thought bugs. Morgan Jackson at Biodiversity in Focus blog has a great series called "Tuesday Tunes".

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

help ID plant from Rome

unknown green flower
among English lawn daisy (Bellis perennis)
Rome, Italy
March 17, 2010

I have no idea what this is. We don't see things like this in central CA. Related to golden saxifrage, maybe? Can anyone ID?

Monday, April 26, 2010

IDentity crisis!

pink dogwood
Cornus florida

Phoenix, Oregon

I'm changing the name of Nature ID! Uh, slightly... for now...

This morning, during my now habitual perusal of nature blogs while drinking coffee, I read Nature Blog Network's featured blog: Ohio Nature Blog. (Tom Arbour's blog is fantastic, btw!) They asked him about the name of his blog and he replied he thought the "name is WAY too presumptuous and have thought about dropping it for something a bit more modest..." Well, that statement really hit home for me.

It's 10 days shy of the one year anniversary of when I started Nature ID. I look back and, boy, was I a green blogger! I thought it'd be simple to take a couple pictures during hikes and use my handful of local nature guides to identify to species. Not! For the past month or so, I've been thinking about changing the name of Nature ID, because it sounds as if I know what I'm doing. The more I learn, the more I'm aware of how much I don't know. Granted, I picked up quite a bit about online ID resources, blogging, and the world of nature bloggers. Now that I actually have a couple blog followers, even some "professional" folks, I've been feeling self-conscious about my blog name.

Unfortunately, all my google searches for creative names came up with too many results. I'm playing around with the name and if I find something more suitable, it may just change again. For those who know me or follow my constantly-edited posts, they'll know I'm moody. So, being "ktnatureid" is apropos.

ps 04/27/10 - Nope, didn't like ktnatureid, so am back to Nature ID. Anyone have any ideas?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

banana slug
Ariolimax sp.

This is perfect for my first Nisene Marks State Park post. Thanks, hubby! It happens to be UCSC's infamous mascot. We rarely see these anywhere but Nisene under the redwoods. I'm looking into it and will add more info here.

Friday, April 23, 2010

snakeflies are following me everywhere

Phoenix, Oregon
April 23, 2010

To quote NC_N8, "I don't want to brag or anything, but I'm really good at bad photos..." This pic was taken from my phone in the evening with low lighting. See previous entries on snakeflies for more information. This one was bigger and striped compared to the ones from home. I swear snakeflies are following me, everywhere! And, yes, there is a Phoenix in Oregon, not just in Arizona.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

about locations

Mt. Shasta
(from Weed airport)
April 17, 2010

While driving alone for 8 hours heading north on the I-5, I entertained myself by enjoying the stunning and varied, spring green of central and northern CA. If it were any other time of year, I would have yawned at the expansive stretches of yellow, dried grasses. I purposely left the camera at home, a decision I'm now regretting for not being able to capture the greenery, flowers, and birds along the way. My car, however, effectively sampled flying insects through 500 miles of travel - splat!

The photo above was taken with my phone. I've never seen Mt. Shasta with so much snow AND without clouds obscuring the view... which isn't saying much, considering I've only been through here a handful of times.

I try to limit my posts on Nature ID to the Central Coast of CA. However, I've already included a couple pics from our camping trips to the Sierras (Yosemite) and northward (Burney Falls, Humboldt & Richardson), which are not entirely coastal, nor central. Point Conception is commonly considered the southern boundary of CA's Central Coast, but it's been 20 years since I've visited coastal Santa Barbara County.

With all that said, I've decided to include more posts from northern CA. I've added labels to identify CA counties, now noted at the bottom of locations with a 'y'. Eventually, I'd like to link my locations with a map.

ps 05/02/10 - We love the Oregon State Parks (they do a much better job than CA, eh-hem...). I created a companion blog to Nature ID and, as I find time, I may post pics from our camping excursions up there.

pss 09/16/10 - Well, that didn't last very long. I moved most of my companion blog posts back here and added a new label: travel version of Nature ID.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

squid boat

Wait! Is it the new moon? I think I'm 'bout ready for grunion greeting. We see these massive boats in the Monterey Bay every spring, most notably for their extremely bright lights in the middle of the night - which would be beautiful and appreciated if they didn't light up our bedroom all night long. This is the first sighting since last year. I've looked with binoculars and those gulls are hovering around the boats past midnight, too. I'm searching online into this regular occurrence in our area, but I'm finding it difficult to find solid information. While we can see these boats plainly from home, this pic was taken between Cannery Row and the Plaza Hotel.

ps 04/17/10 - The boats were out Wednesday night and Thursday night. No sign of them Friday night.

wordless Wednesday #2

Friday, April 9, 2010

cormorants and sea lions

Simply a post to show that the cormorants aren't always on the rocks. Often during the day, they go off to feed or simply don't seem to be around. Yet, the sea lions don't move in to the empty space this time of year.
eared grebe
Podiceps nigricollis

For a moment, I thought this might be a horned grebe (Podiceps auritus). I find the seasonal changes of plumage to be challenging for IDs, especially since I know so little about birds in general. Based on Cornell's Lab of Ornithology (linked in the scientific names above), this eared grebe may likely be in the process of changing into its breeding plumage and the horned grebe is only in our area in its winter black and white form. I'm left with a question: what constitutes summer or winter, when we have "summer" flowers blooming here in late winter/early spring?

As side notes - I have trouble IDing grebes in particular. In fact, before researching last year's May 10, 2009 grunion greeting post, I never heard of a grebe before. I've found Cornell's site to be my favorite resource for bird IDs. Plus, they were very kind in replying to my query about rights to linking to their site.

ps 05/20/10 - I'm amused even experienced birders get these mixed up. Don Roberson spells out the differences between eared and horned grebes on his creagus site.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

about habitats label

Garland Ranch Regional Park
April 8, 2010

With these scenery shots, I hope to convey in pictures (more than I can state in words) what the local Central Coast of CA is like from location to location and seasonally from year to year - labeled as habitats. Maybe as I continue with this blog and learn specific IDs, I'll feel more comfortable writing about ecology, geology, hydrology, etc...

winter vetch
Vicia villosa ssp. varia

There are simply too many vetches for me to figure out. Can you ID? These pics were taken within 10 yards of each other. I'm fairly sure this is a non-native. Last year during our anniversary hike, this was the predominant blooming species on the mesa at Garland Ranch; this year that title goes to the blue-eyed grass.

ps 03/01/11 - I originally posted this as unknown vetch. While looking up other plants for a recent hike at Garland Ranch, I came across this vetch. I've made the corrections to the ID above. Erica in the comments below was correct in that this is what is commonly called a hairy vetch. Interestingly enough, the other subspecies (V. villosa ssp. villosa) is the only one actually hairy, and the one shown above is sometimes called a smooth vetch.

cardinal meadowhawk ~ 04/08/10 ~ Garland Ranch

cardinal meadowhawk
Sympetrum illotum

Other than the obvious bright red, I was unsure how to identify this dragonfly species. Thanks to my handy little Common Dragonflies of California, I distinguished this from the neon skimmer (Libellula croceipennis) based on the fact this cardinal meadowhawk perches with its wings held down and forward - a trait that definitely caught my eye!

ps 02/20/12 - Jim of Northwest Dragonflier has a recent post about cardinal meadowhawks.
dense-flowered owl's-clover
Castilleja densiflora ssp. densiflora
Orobanchaceae (formerly Scrophulariaceae)

Despite the common name of owl's-clover, this plant is in the Castilleja genus (family Scrophulariaceae) along with paintbrushes, not Trifolium (family Fabaceae) with other true clovers. For a fabulous picture of why this is called owl's clover, look at Doreen Smith's photo and imagine little owls sitting there.

I'm fairly positive about this ID. There are a couple of other similar looking species: C. brevistyla (short style owl's-clover) - it's difficult to find ID info on this and is not listed for Garland Ranch; and C. exserta ssp. exserta (purple owl's clover) - however, mine doesn't have hooked, hairy beaks.

Note: I did not link to Calflora & CNPLX's C. brevistyla entries because they are still showing a misidentified photo as corrected to C. densiflora by Jeffrey Greenhouse.

ps 04/13/10 - I rewrote this post because I mixed up my links. It's really easy to make mistakes. I can't imagine tackling something as impressive as CalPhotos.

I'll admit... I am totally making a guess as to species. I have many other hummingbird pics, but they're all just as fuzzy as this one.

ps 06/17/10 - For an interesting article on Anna's J-shaped dive and the resulting chirp, check out UC Berkeley News.

pss 09/21/10 - Given the red crown, I'm positive about this ID now.
bee fly
family Bombyliidae

This is the first time I'm linking to another nature blog in my ID. I really like Bug Eric's blog. Yes, I follow an extraordinary number of nature blogs, and I'm enjoying reading the new posts from around the world.

I strongly suspect this is Bombylius major, but Powell & Hogue state there are over 200 species in CA. I'm also surprised this is my first fly posting. I'll never catch up with my backdated ID pics!

ps 04/14/10 - It's been fun reading other people's nature blogs. Squirrel's View has an awesome post on bee flies.

blue-eyed grass & California buttercup
Sisyrinchium bellum & Ranunculus californicus
Iridaceae & Ranunculaceae

I've never before seen so much blue-eyed grass on any of my hikes. It's too bad we didn't capture a photo that shows the proliferation at Garland Ranch. It may have actually outnumbered the vetch on the mesa. On the trail up past the waterfall, we found a small stand of blue-eyed grass which had unusual spiky petals (see second picture above); I wonder why that happens.

pet peeves

Seriously, is oral hygene so important these days that one has to floss their teeth while out on a hike?

We see these plastic tooth flossers littered everywhere - in town, on the popular rec trail, and even deep in the woods away from any parking lot. My second trail pet peeve is finding used, green plastic bags for dog poo. Come on! If you took the care to clean up after your dog, wouldn't you pack the package out, too? My husband's biggest hiking pet peeve is finding orange peels on the trail; I'm still not sure if citrus peels are compostable. At least we didn't find abundant, used condoms during this hike, like we did behind La Sapienza's botanical garden in Rome!

Apologies to my blog followers! This post has undergone numerous revisions in the past day considering almost everything - from online arrogance to my frustration with not being able to find the information I want - has rubbed me the wrong way.

pineapple weed ~ 04/08/10 ~ Garland Ranch

pineapple weed
Matricaria discoidea (formerly Chamomilla suaveolens)

ps 08/04/10 - After seeing this post from Cabinet of Curiosities, I wondered why the genus name was different for what I considered a similar plant. Indeed, there's a new scientific name and I've made the correction above.

Limonium sinuatum

I'm a little disappointed to discover this statice is not native to CA. Every year, I notice a small patch blooming along the Carmel River, just past the seasonal footbridge at Garland.

I also see the "bushier" (for lack of a better word) L. perezii planted in several local gardens and public spaces.

wedding tree ~ 04/08/10 ~ Garland Ranch

wedding tree

This oak has certainly changed its shape from 4 years ago. I believe more branches have broken off; however, the foilage was seasonally advanced compared to years past. And for the first time, flowers were blooming profusely, like I had envisioned when we set our wedding date. Purples and blues were everywhere in the form of blue-eyed grasses, vetches, fiesta flowers, lupines, Chinese houses, and blue dicks. I plan to post additional ID'd pics later.

Doh!... I just realized I haven't actually ID'd this tree. I'm 90% sure it's a CA white oak, aka valley oak, (Quercus lobata). Like I've said before, I have this odd brain block around identifying tree species. As I was looking up appropriate links I found this blue oak (Quercus douglassi) site to be particularly interesting.

harbor seal ~ 04/08/10 ~ Rec Trail

harbor seal
Phoca vitulina

This is the first pup sighting of the year. Granted, we haven't been down to the trail every single day to check since returning from our trip.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

wordless Wednesday #1


He's baaaaaack! Looking in on me from the office window. Seriously, I doubt this is the same individual from March 11, 2010.

dark-eyed junco ~ 04/07/10 ~ at home

dark-eyed junco perched on coast Douglas fir
Junco hyemalis perched on Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesiiPinaceae

I've been trying to capture one of these on camera since last fall. I believe this is the Oregon form. They love the pine next to our balcony (I'll ID this tree later) and appear to feed on it. They make a mess of my planters by tossing soil everywhere.

blossom ~ 04/07/10 ~ at home

unknown flowering fruit tree
outside our bathroom window

This tree was already blooming April 2 when we returned home from Rome. I believe it's strictly an ornamental as I've never seen any fruits from it. Based on last year's pic, dated April 21, 2009, and our anniversary hike at Garland, I'm guessing the blooms all around are early this year.

ps 02/11/12 - After reviewing all my blossom posts, I'm starting to suspect this may be an apple tree, with very small apples. The blooming time seems about right. The ground squirrel that likes to sit on the rocks outside our Bay facing windows frequently munches on small apples in late autumn and early winter. We've wondered where it gets its apples, because other than this tree there are no blooming fruit trees around the park.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Kool-Aid bush ~ 04/06/10 ~ Pacific Grove

Kool-Aid bush
Psoralea pinnata

At the Easter shindig, we met Michelle who tends this B&B's garden. She told us to stop and smell this tree since it only blooms for a short period of time. Considering the heavy rains we had Sunday night, I'm surprised the tree had any blooms left at all. She gave me the scientific name, but my auditory memory is incredibly poor - I need to take the hint from all the moms out there and carry around a notepad so I can take notes of things I want to remember. Next time I see Michelle, I'll make sure to correct the ID for this post.

ps 05/25/13 - I initially posted this as "Soon to be ID'd fragrant, flowering tree", and have finally gotten around to correcting the ID.  Michelle has since taken out this older tree and allowed one of its seedlings to grow in its place.  The only other spot I remember seeing this bush anywhere around here is on the way to the Monterey Peninsula Country Club in Pebble Beach where we went last spring for a fundraiser.  I'm thinking if it's not in bloom, I'd hardly give it a second look.  This garden plant hails from South Africa.
It's almost harbor seal pup season. The fencing was already up by the time we got back from Rome on Friday. We haven't seen any pups, yet. See April 15, 2009 for pics of last year's pups.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter 2010 in the Highlands

our eggs

brightest flowers (tulips) that caught my eye

Bird Island of Point Lobos

hidden egg

my favorite spring garden view

Realized I took similar pics last year, so am testing out how I want to post and label these...

We were fortunate that it didn't rain until late afternoon. There was a proliferation of calla lilies this year that isn't evident in any of the pics I've posted. Additionally, the hummingbirds were quite active, diving and chasing each other - as much as I'd love to post pics of them, I'm not fast enough with the camera.

I'm still not sure if these Easter pics are appropriate for this blog. Use the Easter label below to see last year's pics.

ps 02/19/11 - I don't know where else to express this. So, I'm including a copy of the local Monterey Herald's obit here before it disappears online:

Cynthia Criley Williams
1915 ~ 2011

CARMEL HIGHLANDS - Cynthia Criley Williams, "the Mother of all Mothers," died peacefully at home on January 29, 2011 at the age of 95. Her memorial celebration will be held on Easter Sunday, April 24, 2011, following the traditional egg hunt in her garden.

Cynthia was born in Monterey, in 1915. Her parents, painter Theodore Morrow Criley and Myrtle "Tootie" Criley, were members of the early Carmel artists' colony. They built a house in Carmel Highlands, on the southern boundary of Point Lobos, and the family moved there when Cynthia was two. They traveled widely in Europe, spending a year in France when she was six and again when she was thirteen, which fostered in her an old-world sensibility. Back home, Cynthia attended Sunset School, Monterey Union High School, and Scripps College, Claremont.

In 1935 Cynthia married physician Russell Williams. They moved to New York, where she attended Barnard College, and started a family. In 1940, back in the Highlands, they built a house on the family property, designed by Cynthia's architect brother, Theodore. Although Russell's medical training and military service took the growing family at various times to Baltimore, Las Vegas, and Topeka, Carmel Highlands was always home, and where they finished raising their five children.

Cynthia's father was from a hotel-keeping family, and perhaps following this tradition Cynthia opened her home, welcoming neighborhood children, family friends and friends of friends, temperamental artists, struggling writers, serious scholars, lively fishermen, blossoming singer/song-writers, crazy carpenters, earnest scientists, left-wing politicians, student activists, weary world travelers, and wayward teenagers; people might come for the weekend and stay for months. She established an ever-evolving eclectic community, rich with traditions and rituals that she devised. Generations of children learned the joys of camping from her, and lounged on her couch reading comic books; no television allowed. Her menagerie over time included dogs, cats, horses, goats, chickens, ducks, geese, parrots, and injured wildlife (including a seal). The family was devastated by the loss of son Richard ("Red") Williams, who suffered from depression and took his own life in 1961. The marriage ended in 1963.

In 1956, Cynthia had begun purchasing small rental houses in Pacific Grove, and developed a career as a landlady. Her reputation for fairness and generosity spread, and her little houses were much in demand; many of her tenants became part of her extended family community.

Like her Civil Libertarian brother, Richard Criley, Cynthia was a committed advocate for civil rights. She was a true egalitarian who treated everyone alike (except for pregnant women and parents of small children, who got special dispensations). Even in her 90s she attended peace demonstrations on Highway One near her home.

Cynthia had a deep love of language and literature. Her love of learning was life-long; she began studying ancient Greek in her 80s. Her open-mindedness, her generosity of spirit, and her passion for thriftiness were legend. Her mottos were "Waste not, want not" and "It's a great life if you don't weaken." She loved her garden, her view of Point Lobos, summer fog, and a good cup of tea.

Marian "Bee" Chaffey, John Williams, Margaret "Honey" Williams, and Molly Williams are her living children. She leaves four grandchildren: John Chaffey, Margaret Chaffey, Richard Russell Williams, and Sarah Williams; four great-grandchildren; the vast extended family; and her devoted dogs.

In her last year Cynthia's health declined. Her family and friends gratefully acknowledge her superb team of caregivers: Henrietta "Cha Cha" Nuno, Eustacia Pedraza, and Anna Casteneda; and the wonderful services of Hospice of the Central Coast. Cynthia herself requested that her friends honor her memory with donations to the Bookmobile (The Monterey County Free Library System).

Nothing we can say here can adequately express our gratitude for her life.


Here's a link to another blog I found in Cynthia's memory:

Friday, April 2, 2010

pride of Madeira ~ 04/02/10 ~ at home

pride of Madeira
Echium candicans

We leave for a couple weeks and the first thing I notice after the sun rises is the blooming pride of Madeira below our balcony. When we left, these were all green with many grey, spindly, dried sticks from last year's flowers - hey, it's in the park and no one deadheads. These are a little late blooming compared to others in town. Also, this is the first time I've noticed the two different colors, one blue, the other purple.

E. candicans is in the Borage family, which apparently includes the classic forget-me-not and fiddlenecks. Who knew!?! I would never have figured that out on my own. Everything I've seen on this plant says it's "resistant to deer." Haha, no wonder we have so much around town!