June–The Power of Paint

It’s Burano, Italy but we could do this in Seattle. Photo by Saffron Blaze – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

I’ve often thought that Seattleites should paint their houses wild and vibrant colors as an antidote to the gloom. I need that antidote right now. I’ve lived here for decades and I know that summer often doesn’t start until after the 4th of July but I am REALLY done with wearing fleece–and socks. By Saffron Blaze – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Pinkwater

I think we might all be happier if we followed the main character’s example in Daniel Pinkwater’s children’s book, The Big Orange Splot. An accidental splot led to a whole new paint job, a hammock, a pet alligator and long conversations with the neighbors.

My old house was a cheery yellow with a teal door. The one I’m in now came painted a nice, but fairly subdued, shade of blue. If you choose not to paint your house aqua or bright orange, you can make up for it by picking the right plants for your paint job. One benefit of the right subdued paint job is how they can showcase certain plants as seen with this rose. It takes the eye right off the meter (at least it did so in real life.)


June–gardens still running amuck

Living roof on little library–only a few blocks from the house but somehow never noticed it before

The bounty continues in Seattle–although in some places it is starting to fail. I mostly walk the same routes with the dog–have for years–but sometimes it’s like I’m seeing parts of the walk for the first time. Maybe senility is just setting in, but it does make the walk more interesting!


April–Spring running amuck, as seen while walking the dog

Berberis darwinii

Okay, I’d originally though spring overwhelmith which sounded okay in my head but looked pretty stupid when I wrote it, hence the title change. Nevertheless, I am finding the spring blooms around Seattle pretty overwhelming at the moment–for which I’m thankful. It maybe makes up for the fact that here at the end of April I still go out swaddled in 3 to 4 layers of clothes.


I’ve written a book about bees

I know I seldom post here any more–I’ve been in the throes of writing a book about America’s bees for the last two years or so. The book is a group of stories that shows that there is way more to bees than a stinger and honey.


Meet a native bee–Colletes with the wondrous tongue

Colletes validus male from the USGS Flickr website

Colletes, aka cellophane or polyester bees, get to start off the bee pageant I’m going to be showcasing on this page because they have cool tongues. Plus, I like the looks of Colletes. They are big enough to see pretty well without a microscope–which I appreciate– and they have sweet faces.They are nicely hairy around the middle and strongly stripy around the hind end. All together Colletes are solid, fine-looking bees although with none of the iridescent glory or massive teddy bear furriness of some others.


January-planning for bees

A North American native bee (Nomia melanderi aka alkali bees) used in alfalfa fields in eastern Washington peeks out of its nest hole

Check out this great post on native bees from The Humane Gardener.