Sunday, October 18, 2009

Woodpecker granary

After two days of unrelenting sunshine, today was foggy and cooler. The sky was a pleasant gray, easy on the eyes. I wandered about, not sure what I was in the mood to draw when I heard some Acorn woodpeckers (Melanerpes formicivorus). I found them stuffing acorns into what looked like a million holes in this phone pole. I love the way California buckeye (Aesculus californica)looks when the leaves have dropped and the nuts are still on the trees, looking like rough green Christmas tree ornaments. Well, I pretty much love California buckeye in all it's seasonal forms.

Halfway through the drawing I was attacked by a yellow jacket. This is an ongoing problem for me that started three years ago. They go for my head and, apparently, get tangled in my really short hair. Usually I'm moving and in the woods and it's only one individual coming after me. Usually, since the first attack, I'm wearing a hat. Today I wasn't and got stung many times before I prevailed and a dead yellow jacket fell from my head to the ground. Wow! That hurt. And left me with all of these questions about why yellow jackets would want to dive into my hair at high speed. What's that all about? All I could find out was that they're aggressive, duh, and will go after people who disturb their nest. But I'd been sitting on the same rock for half an hour. I also found out I was lucky because if you murder a yellow jacket they exude some kind of pheromone that alerts the rest of the gang that they've been killed, so they'll come after you with vengeance on their insect brains. I guess my attacker was far from home. Anyway, I'm thinking I won't be forgetting my hat again, anytime soon.

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