Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Easy Energy Saver

We did something quick and easy to reduce our energy bill. We put up an old fashioned laundry line. Well not "old fashioned," actually we used a pole along the side of our car port.

By air drying half our laundry, we are cutting the use of our dryer in half. Who convinced us that on dry summer days we needed to use a machine to do what Mother Nature does just as well? Besides, air drying is gentler on clothing and helps maintain clothing color.

The drying pole is mounted between the car port supports on curtain rod hardware. When not in use the pole is unnoticeable to most people. 

Letting your laundry air dry is a quick and easy sustainable life choice. 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Six, Seven, Eight - Yellow-Breasted Chat

This morning while videoing hummingbirds for an upcoming project, I had an exciting surprise: my 678th Life Bird - a yellow-breasted chat.

We haven't traveled to many new destinations this year and that can make it difficult to see new bird species. On a weekend trip to San Diego I did spot my first black skimmer and a California gnatcatcher, but this sighting was truly rewarding because it was in our own yard.

The chat was feeding in some of our dense native shrubbery and taking a quick bath in the water pooled on some leaves. I didn't get a photo, but the bright yellow chest and long tail are printed in my mind.

We have now seen 71 species of birds in our yard in suburban Los Angeles. A perfect example of how recreating and restoring native habitat is vital to preserving biodiversity. A wildlife refuge is possible in your own backyard.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

From Mongolia, to Turkey, to Southern California

It's hard to believe that it was two years ago this week that we were in Mongolia to see our fifth total solar eclipse.

Video of Mongolia.

Two years before that we were in Turkey.

Both of these locations highlight the importance of water, the impacts of long-term human habitation on the environment and the dramatic effect climate change can have on the natural world and human cultures.

This August we are at home. Summer 2010 has been moderate, only a few days over 100 degrees. But as we approach high summer, this is the dormant period for our native plants and animals. Still the western fence lizard babies are emerging from hidden nests in the ground and the California towhees hatched out three chicks yesterday morning.

More on our native populations in summer to come. We're out in the field documenting our wildlife on video.