Tag Archives: nature

Adipose Rex

Mirror, mirror, on the wall. Who’s the fattest bear of all?

Today kicks off Fat Bear Week, which for whatever reason I find endlessly amusing. Maybe because “fat” is such a loaded word in human terms but completely endearing when it applies to animals?

Get ready to vote, my friends. The portly pairs of bears will face off in multiple elimination rounds as they lumber forward to the finals. Who will be crowned “Most Corpulent”? Will it be pulchritudinously hefty Holly, last year’s champion? (Good golly, Miss Holly, you sure like to eat!) Or 747, who takes gorging to new heights? Or another full-bellied bruin? Oddsmakers are betting 1000 pounds of salmon on a surprise waddling-in-from-behind winner. I’ll be waiting with baited breath.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The Summer of COVID

IMG_1952

What’s better than an early morning barefoot walk along a deserted beach? The sand rubbing away rough skin, the tang of the ocean, the whoosh of the waves… all contribute to a feeling of deep peacefulness — temporary, but still restorative.

Here a few scenes from this week’s excursions, plus a useful hack at the end.

The starfish returns

After years of decimation by disease, we’re finally seeing a resurgence of glorious orange and purple sea stars.

IMG_6847

Nature’s patterns

Sand crabs create patterns that suggest a rose and its leaves. Others mirror a grove of trees.

Some plants grow anywhere

IMG_1932

Ducks: They’re just like us — calm on the surface, paddling furiously to stay afloat

IMG_1946

A surreal beachscape

IMG_1937

Summer hack: How to keep sand from sticking to feet

First of all, why does it stick? Sand is highly hydrophilic (“water-loving”), i.e., water molecules attach to each grain. This creates tiny water channels that attract additional moisture from anything that’s even slightly damp.

What to do? Shake a little baby powder on your feet. It’s even more hydrophilic than sand, so the grains should fall away. Also, the powder is less sticky and any residue is more easily brushed off when you leave the beach.

Good News Monday: Natural Stress Relief

I admit it’s hard to find any good news today.  But I did find a wonderful way to relax, courtesy of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Jelly Cam.  The livestream, available from 10 am to 9 pm PDT on their website, features hypnotic images of floating jellyfish, accompanied by spa sounds.

You can also ooh and ahh over live footage of their sea otters and penguins.

I’ll take whatever distractions I can get.

Good News Monday: More Buzz About Endangered Bees

Have you ever heard of National Pollinators Week? Neither had I.  Apparently, it’s in June, and after this year’s meeting, the California Fish and Game Commission voted to begin the process of classifying four species of native bumble bees as endangered.

Why does this matter? Wild bees pollinate 80% of crops on our planet, and one out of every three bites of food we eat results from pollination. With California leading the way, it’s hoped that more states will join to protect these fuzzy little creatures.

Two of the four species are named Crotch’s and Suckley.  Sounds like a degenerate law firm. Or a strip club.

bee bumblebee insect macro

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

Two Exhibits and a Hotel Surprise

Ah, the holidays are over and I can finally finish writing about our fall trip (late October/early November), which we wrap up with a few days in London and Paris.

One day, as we stroll through the Marais in Paris, we stumble upon a weird but surprisingly entertaining museum with both permanent and temporary exhibits dedicated to hunting and nature.  It certainly makes a change from the Louvre, D’Orsay etc. even if you’re not into taxidermy (which I’m decidedly not).img-0789

More my style is the wonderful Atelier des Lumières installation, an immersive experience quite unlike looking at art hanging on a wall.img-0829Still photographs cannot do justice to these huge projections of paintings by Gustave Klimt and more, set to music to create an intensely dramatic adventure which surrounds you with ever-changing sound and images. Do check out this website if you can’t get there in person!img-0817img-0810img-0816img-0827img-0822We’ve bookended our short trip to Paris with some time in London, arriving October 31. Highlights include a tapas dinner with friends at Ibèrica on Great Portland Street (who roll their eyes at our having chosen Devon rather than, say, Cornwall), lots of walking, and the new production of Sondheim’s musical Company at the Gielgud Theatre. Highly recommend you see this show if you can.

We return from Paris on my birthday and our hotel has a nice surprise: They’ve upgraded us to the ridiculously huge Governor’s Suite — essentially the size of a nice London flat, with kitchen, dining room, two bedrooms, two baths and a generous sitting room. img-0844img-0839My favorite find is the enormous copper bathtub, perfect for indulging before the long flight back to the US the following morning. img-0837First week November, 2018.