Ella the Cat

Ella the Cat

SUMMER is fast approaching and we experienced its first "heat wave" this week as temperatures climbed into the 90's.  What happened to those mild spring days with gentle April showers?  Apparently not this year.  The air conditioner has been checked and portable fans deployed throughout the house for indoor comfort.  And outdoors, the tender young plants have received extra (recycled!) water to survive the midday sun while extra compost mulch has been spread in the garden to conserve moisture.  We're getting prepared for a challenging season ahead.

Meanwhile Ella, our furry feline, is reacting to sultry weather by seeking shade, drinking more water, and avoiding unnecessary activity.  Without the ability to change wardrobes, all she can do is... RELAX!

Posted
AuthorRich Monroe
Chaotic Sailboats

Chaotic Sailboats

ANOTHER QUILT nears completion for donation to our local hospital neonatal intensive care unit.  Frances has been creating these lap sized quilts for some time at the rate of one per week, and we're delighted to donate them to mothers of preemies and tiny infants, when they leave with their precious offspring. These small blankets -- gift from strangers -- are certain to brighten that happy transition from hospital ward to a new home and into the world beyond.

Posted
AuthorRich Monroe
image.jpg

MY APPLE WATCH vigil is finally over -- much to my delight!  Ever since its announcement last September I've wondered how it would feel to wear and possibly affect my internet experience.  While heavy media attention has undoubtedly exaggerated its impact and capabilities, I can confirm that the watch is a real joy to wear. The new watch appears to be a winner -- it looks good, feels light and comfortable, and is very convenient to use.

And so the high tech evolution continues.  Just as personal computers liberated us from huge IBM mainframes and laptops provided more portability to the masses, the smart watch makes this powerful information even more convenient -- from our pocket to our wrist.  By becoming more personal and ubiquitous, I believe that wearable computers will profoundly change our life.  So what's next?  Only time will tell.

We'll just have to watch and see! 

Posted
AuthorRich Monroe
image.jpg

TODAY WE CELEBRATE the Earth, this lovely Island planet we call home.  I hope we humans will continue to appreciate and enjoy its many treasures and remain responsible stewards of its resources...

image.jpg

The marvels of nature can be found everywhere if we look closely at the environment.  Take, for instance, the lowly millipede we might find at our feet.  Did you know its ancestors were among the first to emerge from the seas to colonize the dry land over 400 million years ago?  They fed on organic matter, algae, moss, and high-nutrient plants while adapting to earth's oxygen-rich environment.  Those early explorers discovered new horizons for development on the planet.  That's amazing, if you think about it!

Millipede leg segments 

Millipede leg segments 

Millipedes have a head, eyes, mouth and antennae, with hard-shell segmented bodies that differ from centipedes  with leg pairs attached to each segment.  (Centipedes have a single leg on each segment.)

So be kind to the lowly millipede; it's been around for a long time -- back to the days when our planet was just a baby!

Posted
AuthorRich Monroe

Checkerspot Butterfly

Checkerspot Butterfly

THIS BAY CHECKERSPOT BUTTERFLY was "spotted" sipping nectar with its long tongue from a wildflower during a recent hike on Coyote Ridge overlooking Silicon Valley.  Its distinctive wing spots and black banding easily identifies the species and suggests its unusual name.  The butterfly is found exclusively in the Bay Area so I was delighted to snap this photo.  Also, the Checkerspot is rare enough to be listed as a federal threatened species -- which made the encounter even more special.  

image.jpg

Scientists have found that increased urbanization and airborne nitrogen (from auto pollution, etc.) has encouraged bad invasive plants while discouraging good host plants that produce nectar that the Checkerspot needs.  There are conservation efforts to preserve the species which include: designating "critical habitats," restoring landfill and hillside escarpments, replanting beneficial plants, and limiting future harmful foothill development. 

An unfortunate chain of events that's made it difficult for these little guys!  

Posted
AuthorRich Monroe