‘Tis the Season for Spiders

‘Tis the Season for Spiders

E.B. White’s Charlotte Web was my favorite childhood book, and I’ve loved spiders and pigs ever since. Luckily my husband also shares my passion for our non-human creatures. When summer comes, this means we get to roam our property at night with flashlights and especially watch the female orb weaver spiders – Charlotte was an orb spider – spin their webs and over the weeks, grow larger before laying eggs in the fall. [Read more…]

Bugs! and Other Photos from Our Yard

Bugs! and Other Photos from Our Yard

Our yard is alive with wildlife this spring, so thought I would post some photos of the critters and a few native plants they’re especially attracted to. The insects attract a host of larger insects and in the chain of life, they in turn attract a rich bird and lizard population that feeds on them all. The last photo I took was of a Cooper’s hawk hoping to feed on one of those birds. [Read more…]

Low-water Yard Attracts People and Wildlife

Low-water Yard Attracts People and Wildlife

One thing Redlands resident Brenda Wolfe definitely didn’t expect after she converted her former landscape, primarily composed of a not-so-healthy lawn and an oleander hedge, to a low-water one. “I’ve learned I need to close the blinds in the bathroom. I’m not used to having people standing out front.  [Read more…]

Get Out of Your Car on Road Trips and… What Arizona’s Monsoons Bring

Get Out of Your Car on Road Trips and… What Arizona’s Monsoons Bring

Vultures taking advantage of the hundreds of sphinx moth caterpillars crossing the road, Colorado River toads, noisy grasshoppers and gorgeous sunsets….

I took a trip to Arizona last week, and happened to time it with the last days of Arizona’s monsoons.  When I lived in Flagstaff I relished the annual monsoons, those afternoon showers that hit every July though September. [Read more…]

Carpenter Bees: Reconsider Viewing Them as Pests

Carpenter Bees: Reconsider Viewing Them as Pests

We’ve got lots of carpenter bees — visiting the Cleveland Sage in our front yard, and now laying eggs above. About a year ago I saw sawdust below an old parrot perch sitting outside and over the next few months got to witness an adult carpenter bee drilling into the wood prior to laying eggs. Then I even caught a newbie below one of the holes as it adjusted to making its way into the natural world. We have other old wood posts where they appear to have nested – and I was glad to offer them nesting sites on our property. They are also very active in pollinating our flowers.

However, you hear so many negative things about them so I asked a couple bee experts [Read more…]

Ants! More Beneficial than You Think

Ants! More Beneficial than You Think

About a month ago, I got a letter in the mail from a termite company, Terminix, which began with the following: “Ants can be more harmful to your family than you think. That’s because these monsters (and others, like cockroaches may carry more than a dozen kinds of bacteria, like strep and staph. And where there’s one of these pests, there could be hundreds….”

I asked Anna Dornhaus, University of Arizona professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology,
Go Organic to Help the Bees

Go Organic to Help the Bees

One could say I’m on a bee kick. A number of my articles mention bees and despite being allergic to them – the last time I got stung I ended up in the ER, where I left with an epinephrine prescription for constant carry – they fascinate me.  Our native plants attract them, the hive under our neighbor’s roof (see photo) houses them, and now a new hive has begun in our palm tree down below. I’m in bee heaven. Then there’s the half dozen I save out of the pool everyday.  [Read more…]