I just received a shipment of leafcutter bees in the mail the other day. Aren’t they neat?
Or I should say, leafcutter bee cocoons. The silken cocoons come encased in the leafy cells the mother bee created when she laid her eggs.
Unlike spring mason bees, which start flying when temperatures reach 55°F, summer leafcutter bees like hot weather and emerge when the weather is consistently in the mid-80°Fs.
We’re moving into a week of warmer weather so I suspect they’ll be waking up just as their mason bee cousins start to wind down. I’ve had my native bee houses hanging in the garden for a few weeks and it’s such a joy to spot the mason bees buzzing around the borage and nasturtiums every day.
I love my native bee houses so much, in fact, that I’ve asked Crown Bees to give one of my readers an opportunity to own a native bee house too!
Every spring, the first signs of life in my mulch (and everywhere else in my garden and neighborhood) are these ubiquitous weeds. You probably have them too. They invade lawns, landscapes, parkways, parking lots, drainage ditches, and all nooks and crannies when the weather is cool and damp.
Here in Los Angeles where our winters are mild, they start popping up in November or December if we’ve had some early rains. They usually appear in neglected areas and it doesn’t take long for a few plants to overrun a plot. With deep woody taproots and a fast growing habit, they’re often considered invasive.
Mallow is a much maligned weed to gardeners who feel the same disdain for dandelions. But did you know this common weed is actually edible?
I’ve been using OXO products ever since I started cooking… actually, before I started cooking. I still remember my first serious stroll through the kitchen section at Macy’s when I was 20 and living away from home. What did I find there that I thought I absolutely needed for my first kitchen in my first apartment? Not a pan, not a knife, not even a spatula… but an apple corer. I couldn’t believe that such a contraption existed! Imagine the countless apples I’d be able to core and slice in one fell swoop!
That corer is still in my kitchen 14 years, 1 cross-country move, 4 apartments and 1 house later. It’s joined by a whole family of OXO products collected over time, including measuring cups, measuring spoons, slotted spoons, silicone brushes, dish brushes, and not one, but two salad spinners.
You could say my kitchen style is anything but minimal. I believe having the right tools on hand will not only inspire you to cook more often, they will help you become a better cook. And that’s why I’m so excited to team up with OXO on this grand giveaway in conjunction with The CSA Cookbook!
The five little things that made my week…
1. After four years of waiting and watching them grow verdant in spring only to go dormant in winter, fruitless, our grapevines finally have… itty bitty little grapes!
When we talk about saving the bees, we often think of honeybees, hives, and how we can attract these pollinators to our gardens. We read about neonicotinoids and their devastating effects on honeybees, we petition garden centers to stop selling insecticide-laced “bee-friendly” plants, we see Facebook memes with pictures of half-empty store shelves and captions that warn, “This is what your supermarket will look like in a world without bees.”
And while all of that should definitely influence our landscaping and gardening decisions, we sometimes forget the other bees out there that fly solo and produce no honey, yet are just as important to our food system.
Wow. Just… wow. I was truly on a high this past Saturday, and I can’t even begin to express how thrilled, humbled, and grateful I am for all the people who came out to celebrate the release of The CSA Cookbook, as well as all the people who were there in spirit with us!
As soon as the last hors d’oeuvres were arranged and the first guest arrived (hi Tiana!), this was pretty much how I felt — all day long.
Friends, mark your calendars, we are CELEBRATIN’!