Sunday, May 17, 2009

Nectarine update

I couldn't update my blog while my sister and her daughter were here. They had great time hanging out in our old fern house with gG. Took them all over the places including the Fashion District, Venice beach, Universal Studio, and Watts Tower. Ate out at The Lobster in Santa Monica, made wonderful petit steaks you can get at the Bristol Farms, let them bake their own pizzas, etc. I hope they had fun.

While I was busy entertaining my family, nectarines became RED! They are about 20% bigger than last year and they are VERY RED also. We tried one of them to see if it is ripe enough to eat, but it wasn't. I would say we need to wait for about a week or so. Can't wait to taste them!!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Thinning Nectarine Tree

It has been almost a month since I wrote about our nectarine tree. Our neighbor Ed came by and checked on the tree and suggested to thin the tree. Yes, the branches were draping like willows. It was gettig heavy with lots of nectarines.

So, over the weekend, I searched over the web and found this eHow article) and tried it myself. It looked to me that there were fewer nectarines than last year, but that may be due to the fact that we picked many what appeared-to-be--olives-but-then-turned-out-to-be-nectarines early on to cure them (yes^^;) last year. Maybe that did well on the tree accidentaly. Anyway I managed to take out about 50 of them. May not be enough but we'll see.

Of course gG came by and enjoyed watching me puzzlingly taking out some of the nectarines. Such a cutie.

Ants society

My hubby sent me this article and....reminded me of the company that I used to work for. Here is the excerpt:

Dr. Dornhaus is breaking new ground in her studies of whether the efficiency of ant society, based on a division of labor among ant specialists, is important to their success. To do that, she said, “I briefly anesthetized 1,200 ants, one by one, and painted them using a single wire-size brush, with model airplane paint — Rally Green, Racing Red, Daytona Yellow.”

After recording their behavior with two video cameras aiming down on an insect-size stage, she analyzed 300 hours of videotape of the ants in action. She discovered behavior more worthy of Aesop’s grasshopper than the proverbial industrious ants.

“The specialists aren’t necessarily good at their jobs,” she said. “And the other ants don’t seem to recognize their lack of ability.”

Dr. Dornhaus found that fast ants took one to five minutes to perform a task — collecting a piece of food, fetching a sand-grain stone to build a wall, transporting a brood item — while slow ants took more than an hour, and sometimes two. And she discovered that about 50 percent of the other ants do not do any work at all. In fact, small colonies may sometimes rely on a single hyperactive overachiever.

Why do some worker ants lean on their shovels and let the rest of the workers do all the work? “It’s like students living together — you’ll always find one will have a lower threshold for doing the washing up and will end up always doing it all,” she said.

Perhaps the division of labor — which the economist Adam Smith linked to human achievement — may not be the key to ant success. Possibly, Dr. Dornhaus said, “the lazing ants are resting, or are waiting in reserve in case something goes wrong.” Or the laggards may be cooking up some biochemical nest protection. (All ant species manufacture a fungicide to stave off mold in their nests.) Or, she said, “It’s possible they aren’t doing anything at all.”