On the Web

As I went out to open the gate to the garden two days ago, I saw a spider web draped high above it, seemingly suspended in air. The sun glistened on it and I thought I would see if my limited camera skills could capture it. spider web above gate

This morning as I opened the gate and walked out, I forgot about the web and walked headlong into it. I spent some time brushing the infinitesimally small strong webs from my eyelashes, my hair, my face and my clothes. I had not meant to destroy it. The spider, a tenacious survivor, has taken this destruction in stride. By this evening she has rebuilt an even lovelier replacement. And taught me a lesson in living with whatever adversity may befall.

spider web rebuilt

For a while I think I will use the other gate to the garden.

Bees!

They swirled around in a noisy, buzzing cloud right outside the window where I am writing this. A queen and her court were swarming, looking for a new home to settle down in. I was sure our neighbor could help. She is a beekeeper–a real estate agent for bees who gets paid in honey . I have never known exactly how she gets the bees to live in boxes, but now I do.

Bees from CApoppy on Vimeo.

Coyotes and Banana Slugs

Banana slug eating coyote scatWe have coyotes. We have banana slugs. But until this morning I never knew their paths crossed.

From the desk where I am writing this I often see coyotes coming out of the chaparral in the morning and going down the driveway  and coming up the driveway in the evening to disappear into the chaparral. Sometimes they leave their calling card, a pile of scat in the drive or on the patio.

In the morning when I take a thermos of water down the driveway to leave for the mountain bikers, I often see banana slugs foraging in the area around the pond.They eat the litter around the pond that has dropped from the trees and bushes.

But this morning was different. A large slug had venture out of its “safe” zone around the pond. It was feasting on the scat a coyote had left on the patio.

By evening the scat was not gone, but greatly diminished. How little we humans know about how the world works!

Apricots

apricot tree before pruningOur four decades old apricot tree has suffered from my inept and uneducated pruning for years. My friend Anne, who once taught high school with me, comes up every summer. She is from a couple of generations of local orchardists and has been dismayed at the state of our tree. Last year she sent her husband Earl up to help the poor old tree. He has it on a 3-year plan. After an initial pruning last year, which caused it to provide more fruit than usual, he came up again this year and gave it a second year’s rejuvenation. Not only that, he is giving me lessons along the way.

Earl uses large pruners to trim apricot tree When we arrived home today, Earl was here. He is not only a knowledgeable fruit grower and outdoorsman, but also a beekeeper, and a former police officer. He has lived in the Santa Clara Valley all his life and seen more of it than most of us. I think our tree knows that it has been adopted by someone who cares. I am dusting off all my apricot recipes. Grateful to my friends. Thanks. Ear!l

Snakes Alive – Again

rattlesnake on patioToday is the Fourth of July. Another hot day, following a week of them. In the 80s and 90s both day and night for a week. Avid bicyclists started climbing the hill early, pedaling by before 7 a.m. And I was out gardening and sweeping before the sun got too high in the sky. As I came around the house and started walking across the patio, I saw it, a spotted rattler camouflaged with fallen leaves. Not a huge one, but not a tiny one either. It was resting, not going any where, and was oblivious to me. What to do.

Usually when I come upon snakes, they decide it is time to leave. I quietly got a little closer thinking it might decide to take a hike. But no. Continue reading