Friday, July 10, 2015

A cheerful morning in Paradise...

A cheerful morning in Paradise...  How can you help but smile when you see a sunflower in bloom, like this one that we saw on our walk this morning (at right)?  These sunflowers are common around here.  I don't know if they're natives, escapees, invaders, or something else – but they show up mostly at the edges of cultivated fields.  They're a bird magnet for any seed eaters.  A few weeks from now, these things will be covered by goldfinches and house finches, and probably magpies, too.

On the way up the hill this morning, we had nearly perfect lighting for photography: a perfectly diffusive layer of clouds giving us even omnidirectional lighting.  No shadows, and everything lit up.  That's how I got this photo of a sea of alfalfa.  This field was cut just two weeks ago.  Since then it's been irrigated twice and rained on twice, and there were about 10 sunny days.  That is apparently the recipe for luxurious 2' tall alfalfa!  There are going to be some happy moo cows at Clausen's dairy later this year (the Clausens lease this field for hay).

While looking at one of the sunflowers along the road, I spotted this yellow jacket (wasp) at right.  Look closely at it and you'll see that its wings have been clipped.  I've seen this before when a bird attempts to eat the wasp before it realizes what its grabbed.  I didn't see it happen to this one, but that would be my best guess.  It's doomed, I'm sure – I can't imagine that it could grow those wings back out (if that even happens!) before it starves...

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