Plight of the Pollinators

One of my daily treks along the Boise Greenbelt revealed a new addition—a native plant and pollinator garden.

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A posted sign explains: 

“As the human population grows, so does our impact on the natural world. Buildings, roadways, and crops crowd out or completely eliminate the natural habitat needed by some species to survive. Pollinators are among those whose numbers are in decline.

“The City of Boise has installed an ‘insect hotel‘ at this location to provide a safe nesting site for insect pollinators. Its proximity to flowering plants ensures an adequate supply of nectar for feeding, and the hotel’s nooks and crevices offer a safe place for rearing offspring.”

Do you, or does your city, take steps to promote native plants and pollinators? Click To Tweet

In 2017, my sister gave me 1,500 ladybugs for my birthday. They arrived via special delivery with a “hotel.” And while the ladybugs didn’t take up residence in it (they were having too much fun eliminating aphids in the rose bushes), lots of other insects did. We have it located against the carport wall, underneath one of the rosebushes. It looks like a miniature version of the one in the native plant and pollinator garden along the Boise Greenbelt.

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Do you, or does your city, take steps to promote native plants and pollinators?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

We Witnessed a Murder!

While Len and I were standing in our driveway, our attention was caught by a murder of crows.

“A group of crows is called a ‘murder.’ There are several different explanations for the origin of this term, mostly based on old folk tales and superstitions. For instance, there is a folktale that rows will gather and decide the capital fate of another crow.”

It was pretty cool to watch them land in the bare tree branches and listen to the cacophony of cawing.

Click the “play” button on the video below to hear the murder.

Have you ever seen a/an:

  • SHREWDNESS of apes
  • OBSTINACY of buffalo
  • POUNCE of cats
  • COALITION of cheetahs
  • GULP of cormorants
  • CONVOCATION of eagles
  • TROUBLING of goldfish
  • HEDGE of herons
  • BLOAT of hippos
  • EXALTATION of larks
  • LOUNGE of lizards
  • PARLIAMENT of owls
  • OSTENTATION of peacocks
  • TOWER of giraffes

What’s the most recent grouping of animals you’ve seen?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Life is Sweet

Tick-tock, tick-tock… I can choose to let the demands on my time and attention overwhelm me. Or I can decide to slow down and take a break. 

In the midst of my daily calendar, I schedule times for me to stop throughout the day. I have a mindfulness bell on my phone that’s set for specific intervals of my choice. Thank you Sheila Glazov for recommending this App to me. The sound of the singing bowl is my signal that It’s Time. 

Time for what? You ask. 

Time to put my shoulders down and take a deep breath. Time to take Willa for a walk. Time to eat. Time to stretch. Time to be grateful. And time to watch the bees on the hummingbird feeder enjoying the sweetness of life. They teach me how to fully be in a moment without a care about anything else in the world. They teach me that sometimes the greatest joys come in the smallest things. They remind me that life is sweet. It’s especially sweet when I’m fully present, fully aware, fully engaged, and fully enjoying it—joie de vivre!

What’s your signal that it’s time for a break?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Cut Deadwood

Len and I live in a carriage house (circa 1865) in the Warm Springs historic district of Boise. The main house and carriage house are separated by beautifully landscaped grounds that are lush with flowers, foliage, and trees. 

This year, one of the trees enjoyed a pair of peregrine falcons as residents. They subsequently had babies. It was fun to listen to their screams for “food, Food, MORE FOOD!”

All of the human observation to potentially catch “flying lessons” and other fledgling antics, caused the owners of the main house to notice some dead branches and decide to have the deadwood removed. But not until after the feathered family had safely flown the coop.

Deadwood — before and after. In the top photo (before), notice one of the peregrine parents perched on an upper-most limb.

Deadwood is a threat to tree health. Infestations thrive in the decaying wood, which can ultimately lead to the death of the tree—not to mention, it can make a tree structurally unsound.

Deadwood pruning is the removal from the tree of the dead, dying, or broken branches and diseased branch wood. This can be significant for the health of a tree—allowing the tree to flourish.

Certain people, places, things, events, and opportunities can drag individuals down—deadwood. Maybe they’re time or energy thieves, or perhaps they’re a financial drain. Regardless, they can weaken an otherwise sound structure.

What deadwood needs to be removed from your life so you can flourish?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Banana Belt In the Pacific Northwest

We live in Idaho’s Treasure Valley, more specifically, Boise. Len flies out of the Nampa Municipal Airport—just a hop, skip, and a jump from home. So it was with eye-popping interest that I read an article stating the following:

The Treasure Valley area around Nampa is known as Idaho’s Banana Belt.

The article defined a banana belt as, “Any segment of a larger geographic region that enjoys warmer weather conditions than the region as a whole, especially in the wintertime.” That’s certainly true for the area we live in.

Kari Prassack, a paleontologist at Hagerman Fossil Beds, elaborated: “It’s called a “banana belt” because it is an area that receives warmer weather and less snowfall than the areas surrounding it—like a belt of the ‘tropics’ in Idaho. 

“This happens because warm air lifts upwards over the mountains, expands and cools, producing rain. And then, as drier air, it descends along the other side—in this case into the valley here where the air compresses and warms.”

I was surprised to learn that we live in the banana belt of the Pacific Northwest. Furthering my flummox, I learned that we live relatively close to a fossiliferous Pliocene-aged site!

Banana Belt in the Pacific Northwest — Who Knew?! Click To Tweet

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve discovered about your geographic location?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Community

During our most recent trip to Montana, we were gifted with seeing several herds of elk. Watching the large herds move in harmony brought to mind their innate sense of community.

I belong to several communities—family, friends, writing, online, coaching, health and wellness—to name but a few. 

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The communities we belong to have vital qualities including experiential knowledge, resources, teamwork, strength, influence, service, engagement, connection, emotional support (upliftment), inspiration, and solutions.

To which community did you most recently contribute?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Squirrel Handles

Walking back home from the Boise River, Willa and I paused in front of the Fish and Game Department when we heard the tch, tch, tch, chatter of a squirrel. As I turned to say hello, it twitched its tail—a signal to others that it was uneasy or suspicious.

While assuring it that we were friends, not foe, another squirrel popped its head out on the other side of the tree— the stately oak now looking like it had squirrel handles—to confirm the first squirrel’s admonition, “Monsters! We’ve been invaded by monsters!”

And while double vision isn’t typically a pleasant experience, in this case, it was. Quickly dubbed Jekyll and Hyde, these two held the now famous “Squirrel Handles Yoga Pose” long enough for me to snap the photo—all the while tch, tch, tching a dire warning to others lest they end up in our evening stew.

What would you like to see more of?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Anticipation

Watching the sap on this tree—waiting for the drip to drop—brought to mind the Heinz ketchup commercial from back in the day; the one with the lyrics from Carly Simon’s mega-hit, Anticipation, playing in the background:

We can never know about the days to come
But we think about them anyway, yay
And I wonder if I’m really with you now
Or just chasin’ after some finer day

Anticipation, anticipation
Is makin’ me late
Is keepin’ me waitin’

Ever-so-slowly the ketchup would reach the mouth of the bottle, but it was well worth the wait.

Different from dread, anticipation is expecting something positive—something good—and preparing for it. For example, the anticipation of a vacation is half the fun!

What are you looking forward to with great anticipation?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Ladybugs Galore

It’s hard to shop for a minimalist. After all, we don’t want anything. So for my milestone birthday (I turn 60 on Sept 28), I received the coolest gift from my sister—1,500 live ladybugs!

Following the instructions to the letter, we waited until dusk, used a mister to spray the leaves with water, lightly dusted the accompanying ladybug food on the damp leaves, and then ever so carefully, released the ladybugs—a few here, a few there, until they were all free from the shavings in the mesh bag they’d arrived in.

I received the coolest gift for my birthday — 1,500 ladybugs! Click To Tweet

GARDEN FRIENDLY
“Gardeners greatly appreciate ladybugs as they eat aphids (each ladybug eats up to 5,000 aphids during its six-week life-cycle), mealybugs, mites, and scale bugs. These are all insects that destroy the habitat of the garden. Ladybug adults and larvae feed on pests they will eat the harmful bugs so your flowering plants can flourish.”

SYMBOLISM
“A ladybug is the perfect symbol for lady luck. The ladybug brings luck and abundance wherever she goes. When you see a ladybug, make a wish, and when you see her fly away, you’ll know she’s off to grant it.”

What was your most recent wish?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Path of Totality (almost)

Yesterday, a good portion of the United States had the rare opportunity to experience a solar eclipse. Boise, Idaho wasn’t in the “path of totality” for the moon blotting out 100 percent of the sun, but we peaked just shy of it at seeing 99.5 percent of the sun covered.

And what better place to use nature’s pinhole camera than “The City of Trees.” Len and I used protective eclipse eyewear to view the sun, but we also enjoyed seeing hundreds of tiny crescents covering the driveway. We’d read in the newspaper that:

“A pinhole camera is the most simple image-projection technology there is. You can use a thumbtack to punch a hole in card stock, hold that card under a direct light source, and a tiny, exact image of that light source will be projected on the other side of the hole.”

“Sunlight filtering through the branches of trees will create a field of crescent-shaped light on the sidewalk below it. It’s the pinhole camera effect, multiplied naturally hundreds of time underneath each tree. Each gap in the leaves acts as its own pinhole, so you see an image of the eclipse in each of those gaps.”

Where were you during the eclipse on August 21, 2017?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com