As I was giving some salvias supplemental water over the weekend, a creature leapt out and scurried across the front stoop:

I was so excited, I called everyone to come out and meet our resident alligator lizard. I've been trying to attract lizards to our yard for years. I've piled rocks, I've stacked wood. I certainly have enough bugs for them to eat, plus a water source. I've seen salamanders near the water feature. But this is the first lizard I have ever seen in our yard. This is a terrific sign of the health of my little ecosystem.

Lizards are certainly not in short supply in Northern California. It's a rare hike that I don't see at least one. Today, hiking in Acalanes open space in Lafayette, I saw swarms of lizard babies. They are the same color as the fallen oak leaves, but quite active, so I was able to see lots of them. They're so cute! I couldn't determine what kind I was seeing today, but there are lots of native lizards here.

Lizards are diurnal, meaning they are active during the day; also crepuscular, active at both dawn and dusk. They have babies in summer, which might be why I saw so many today. They are opportunistic eaters, not fussy at all, and eats scores of insects.

I wonder if they also feed on the dead and dying bees beneath the hive?

Speaking of the bees, we opened the hive this past weekend, and all is well. They still have plenty of empty bars, but no new comb is being built since there is little nectar coming in. There are two bars dedicated to only capped honey, and it looks as though they are converting a previously used brood comb to just honey. This makes me happy, as they will have lots to eat over the winter. I can't imagine what they might be collecting right now, although I have seen lots of bees in my cucumber blossoms. Did you know that bees collect from only one kind of flower on each trip? For instance, if they collect from a sunflower, than they will only collect from sunflowers on that foraging trip. This is why bee experts suggest planting swathes of flowers, rather than just one or two. I've been horrible at this all my life; I like having lots of different flowers and plants, so I often just plant one of something. I'm trying to correct this for the bees.

I put out the farm stand this morning, hawking surplus cucumbers, beans, peppers, and the first of the apples from the tree. I had very few takers. I won't be making a living off the garden any time soon. At least I can supplement our own grocery bill in a significant way.

I experimented making salsa this past weekend, it was delicious but too runny. Next time I'll make it chunkier. I like the 'hot' peppers from the garden, they have a very fresh taste, not hot at all. We'll have the mild peppers tonight with our grilled steak. They're delicious sautéed or grilled with olive oil and salt. (But pretty much any veg is delicious prepared this way.)

The corn is maturing and I have several ears getting quite large. Yay!