Wednesday, July 29, 2015

There is a lot going on in this picture. Once again, lacewing eggs are evident (the little white dots suspended above the hull). The leaves on this fruiting spur are drying up. The culprit here is "hull rot" which is caused by several fungi that thrive on the fleshy moist hull and create a toxin that kills the spur, and often the wood several inches back from the spur. A close look at the shell below the open hull shows a split in the shell that an ant can walk through to the meat, or a newly hatched NOW larvae could walk through to gain access to the meat. Nonpareil, the most popular almond, is notorious for having a poorly sealed shell. I think I see rust fungi forming on the underside of the dying leaves.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Here is a nut at early hull split. I was happy to see that many of the nuts had one or more lacewing eggs on them. Lacewing larvae are generalized predators and I expect they would eat the egg of a navel orangeworm or a newly hatched worm.  The lacewing egg is laid at the tip of a very fine stalk.
Wednesday evening I attended a "Water Summit" at the Gallo Center for the Arts. The event was sponsored by the Modesto Bee newspaper. Each of the five panelists brought knowledge of lifetimes spent dealing with water issues in California,  I had ideas about many of the topics discussed, but the information shared expanded my understanding of the complexity of the issues. The event was very well attended with a "full house". At the end of the summit, the panelists agreed that we need to pursue an "all of the above" effort in solving our water supply issues including conservation, additional large and small scale surface storage, underground storage, recharging aquifers, more efficient and extensive transport and desalination. Here is a link to a story in today's Bee about the event. Valley Water Summit

Saturday, July 4, 2015

It is the 4th of July and I am organizing the many photographs I have taken over the last several months. These pictures were taken last January.  As we endure the 100 + degree days of a typical valley summer, it is with some longing that I remember the cool winter day when this train passed by a pumping station under construction.