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Across the Country

This summer my husband and I have been busy traveling across the country with destinations in the state of North Carolina and Florida. This blog will focus on NC, which I have to say, I am enthralled with. The landscape of those interstate highways, particularly Interstate 85 and the adjacent roads and byways are delightful. 
 
My last drive between Charlotte and Raleigh took a little over 3 hours but it could have taken much longer if I had been allowed to take my time. Allas, the posted speed limit is 70 mph and given the dry sunny weather it seemed to be a mere suggestion. Highway 85 is multiple lanes for each direction as you would expect but the natural pine forests line the highways either side and it seems every other sort of road as well. The space between and on each side of the road is maintained as if it were a park setting which is mowed and planted with ornamental grasses, Crepe Myrtles, and perennials.
 
As I am a native Californian, I have taken our freeways and highways for granted as a means of getting from one place to another. The thought of a “landscaped” terrain frankly never entered my thoughts. That was until I started driving in this enthralling landscape. When not on the interstates I could hardly contain myself from stopping to photograph the scenery laying before me, it was mesmerizing. 
 
As I was nearing Charlotte heading west on Interstate 85 I noticed groupings of gorgeous dark maroon penstemon-like ornamental grasses, the stalks were full  maybe 3 1/2 to 4 feet tall. The Penstemon genus is the largest endemic group of flowering plants in North America. Commonly known as “Beardstongue”, I can relate to the name as the thickness and color did resemble a chorus of very dark bushy beards singing in the breeze.
 
Heading eastward on 85 for the first time I was shocked to see the plantings of banks of perennials to the sides and in the median lawns, is this real? Maybe if I spent more time driving out of state I would have encountered landscaped roads. I must say for me it provided a calming effect and gave me a peaceful serenity.  
 
What a different landscape when there is that scarce resource called “rain” throughout the year. Back home now and we are now into fall. Leaves are turning and the breezes can blow from the inland as well as offshore. In a few weeks, we should start receiving some rain as well which will relieve our parched landscape.

across the country trish
across the country trish

Posted on Wednesday, December 11, 2019 at 9:19 AM

Rachel Vannette: Two National Science Foundation Grants

A digger bee, Anthophoroa bomboides, at Bodega Hay, Sonoma County. This is a solitary ground nesting bee, one of the species that collaborators Rachel Vannette, Bryan Danforth, Shawn Steffan, and Quinn McFrederick will study in their grant,

Congratulations to community ecologist Rachel Vannette of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, recipient of two National Science...

A digger bee, Anthophoroa bomboides, at Bodega Hay, Sonoma County. This is a solitary ground nesting bee, one of the species that collaborators Rachel Vannette, Bryan Danforth, Shawn Steffan, and Quinn McFrederick will study in their grant,
A digger bee, Anthophoroa bomboides, at Bodega Hay, Sonoma County. This is a solitary ground nesting bee, one of the species that collaborators Rachel Vannette, Bryan Danforth, Shawn Steffan, and Quinn McFrederick will study in their grant, "The Brood Cell Microbiome of Solitary Bees: Origin, Diversity, Function, and Vulnerability.” (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A digger bee, Anthophoroa bomboides, at Bodega Hay, Sonoma County. This is a solitary ground nesting bee, one of the species that collaborators Rachel Vannette, Bryan Danforth, Shawn Steffan, and Quinn McFrederick will study in their grant, "The Brood Cell Microbiome of Solitary Bees: Origin, Diversity, Function, and Vulnerability.” (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The research of UC Davis community ecologist Rachel Vannette involves microscopic organisms in the nectar of California fuchsia, Epilobium canum. She uses nylon bags to prevent pollinator contact. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The research of UC Davis community ecologist Rachel Vannette involves microscopic organisms in the nectar of California fuchsia, Epilobium canum. She uses nylon bags to prevent pollinator contact. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The research of UC Davis community ecologist Rachel Vannette involves microscopic organisms in the nectar of California fuchsia, Epilobium canum. She uses nylon bags to prevent pollinator contact. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Microbial stains (fungi and bacteria) isolated from floral nectar. (Photo by Rachel Vannette)
Microbial stains (fungi and bacteria) isolated from floral nectar. (Photo by Rachel Vannette)

Microbial stains (fungi and bacteria) isolated from floral nectar. (Photo by Rachel Vannette)

Mendocino Botanical Gardens

A few getaway days found us in Fort Bragg.  Our first destination was the Mendocino Botanical Gardens. This garden is on 47 acres that has a forest of coastal pines, some wetlands and as you walk on the path that takes you to the ocean you can hear the waves. 

The garden is home to huge rhododendrons some are native to the area, and they grow wild, usually the purple ones. It is also home to some of the largest camellias trees that I have ever seen.  They must be very old from the sizes of their trunks.  It has almost every type of garden you can think of some are very manicured, some look natural with the native flowers of Mendocino County.  The woodland garden was one of my favorites.  It was hard to choose since all the gardens are beautiful. There is a dahlia garden but unfortunately, we did not have time to walk the path to the ocean to see that, so it will be saved for our next trip.

If you have not been to the Mendocino coast and these gardens it worth the trip.

pictures by Betty Victor
pictures by Betty Victor

Mendocino pic #2
Mendocino pic #2

Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2019 at 10:59 AM

Job Announcement - Livestock Apprentice at Swanton Pacific Ranch

Swanton Pacific Ranch is hiring an apprentice to work with their livestock program. Swanton Pacific Ranch is working towards a regenerative approach...

Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2019 at 10:38 AM

Why Drones Are Important in Sustainable Agriculture in the 21st Century

Lead author and entomologist Fernando Iost Filho of the Department of Entomology and Acarology, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. He is a former UC Davis exchange student.

Drones... If you're thinking of apiculture, you might be thinking of drones (male bees). But if you're thinking of agriculture--more specifically...

Lead author and entomologist Fernando Iost Filho of the Department of Entomology and Acarology, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. He is a former UC Davis exchange student.
Lead author and entomologist Fernando Iost Filho of the Department of Entomology and Acarology, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. He is a former UC Davis exchange student.

Lead author and entomologist Fernando Iost Filho of the Department of Entomology and Acarology, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. He is a former UC Davis exchange student.

A drone over a Santa Monica strawberry field. Drones can target pest outbreaks or hot spots in field crops and orchards, the scientists pointed out. (Photo by Elvira de Lange)
A drone over a Santa Monica strawberry field. Drones can target pest outbreaks or hot spots in field crops and orchards, the scientists pointed out. (Photo by Elvira de Lange)

A drone over a Santa Monica strawberry field. Drones can target pest outbreaks or hot spots in field crops and orchards, the scientists pointed out. (Photo by Elvira de Lange)

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