Black Monday

We returned Monday afternoon from the obligatory Memorial Day pool party/barbecue tired and sunbaked — a family sluggish in the hangover of four barbecues in four days, beginning with the optimistic pop of a pale ale bottle opening Friday afternoon and ending with the fizzle of a yawn 72 hours later.

It was as I was tending to my afternoon duties around the house that I first noticed an ominous sign out on the property: an explosion of white feathers down by the garden. More

The Accidental Beekeepers

Shortly after we moved into our house in Topanga a few years back, I bought an owl house. I had read that attracting owls to your property was one of the best ways to keep the rodent population in check. Barn owls will eat two to three rodents a night; a nesting pair with chicks up to 10 a night — that’s over 3,000 a year! So I climbed high in the oak tree outside our bedroom window and secured the owl house onto a branch.

Our honey

It took about a year before an owl moved in. It was the tiniest owl you’d ever seen — no match for an angry vermin. It stayed about 10 days. Every night, it would hoot away merrily in its owl box, sounding confident it had found the best house in the neighborhood. But disappointed, I suspect, with its inability to attract a mate to its new digs, it departed. That’s when the bees moved in. More