Showing posts from June, 2017

A Swarm to Pollinate

... I can't explain why, but I really love working with swarms of bees.  When my friend Yolanda contacted me about a swarm she was going to collect, I asked if I could tag along.  It's always nice to have help with bees. These particular bees were in a bed of ground-covering juniper, up by the Oakland Zoo.  Yolanda had borrowed a bee vacuum, and was going to try to suck up the bees.  I'm such a tender-hearted weirdo that I can't bear to think of subjecting bees to this kind of treatment, so I asked if I could try picking the bees up with my hands. The objective in catching a swarm is to catch the queen.  If she is put in the beekeeper's box, and she decides to stay, the other bees will follow her in. Yolanda had a beautiful collection box, filled with inviting frames of wax comb.  I gently scooped up handfuls of bees and dropped them into the box.  Since the bees were all tangled up in the undergrowth, this took some doing.  I'd pi

Dye, Weeds, Dye!

I've been really distressed by the state of American politics.  It seems to me that the current administration is intent on destroying everything, either out of greed or spite.  I'm particularly appalled by the idea that they're about to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency and get rid of the Endangered Species Act.  Once they've ruined our wild places and the things that live there, those things will be gone forever. But since nothing changes if we sit on the couch and fret, I decided to go do some hard work for the environment.  There's a group in my neighborhood, the Friends of Sausal Creek , who work to restore the wild lands in the Sausal Creek watershed.  I wrote to them last week, and got myself on a work crew, restoring the land around one of the East Bay's rarest plants, the Pallid Manzanita . The Pallid Manzanita is incredibly rare .  It occurs only in Alameda and Contra Costa counties in Northern California. This plant i