Mike Mulligan’s Annie
While there have been plenty of local complaints about the mountain of dirt and boulders arising from the roundabout at Agua Caliente Road, I found the scene laughable last week as I drove by.
Perched like a King of the Hill was an old beater backhoe tractor bearing the clever hand-scribbled sign, “Mike Mulligan’s Annie?” Of course, any kid who loved books remembers the hero of Virginia Lee Burton’s 1939 tale of Mike Mulligan and his hard working partner, Annie, an old fashioned steam shovel. I wonder how many folks passing by knew the reference. As for me and my sweetie, we were pleased.
On the other hand, the creation that is developing on that site remains a mystery and has not been so favorably accepted by all.
Complaints have ranged from “it blocks a safe view,” to “that looks like earthquake trouble ready to tumble.” As for us, we’ll form an opinion when we see what evolves.
Bee-utiful kids bee-haven
Schools have been foremost on my mind these past few weeks. First, I was thrilled to see that the students (and staff and parents, of course) of our own Dunbar School won two coveted prizes in the Glen Ellen Village Fair. Congratulations to them.
But that’s just one day, one celebration.
What I’ve noticed recently is the imaginative education that is going on at our local schools. Recently Renea Magnani, Dunbar third-grade teacher, invited me to join her class on a field trip to spread wildflower seeds. The purpose was to establish bee habitat. As vineyards increase in our Valley, it becomes even more important to establish bee habitat, because vineyards are bee deserts. Grapes are wind pollinated, leaving little need for bees. Yet bees are an important key species in all environments, because they pollinate just about everything else.
Working with Dunbar garden coordinator Alissa Pearce, all of the children had planted bee-licious wildflower seeds in broken eggshells. Then, the shells were tossed into a field near a vineyard, with the children offering wishes for their success.
After that, the students were treated to a fascinating outdoor lesson on bees and how they help by pollinating almost every food crop we know.
I was impressed how the students enjoyed listening to beekeeper and scientific expert Randy Sue Collins telling tales about bees.
Then the students eagerly participated, answering questions and responding with information.
However, not all questions were simple. Even principal Melanie Blake confessed that Randy Sue posed questions that she had never thought about, like what key do bees sing in? B maybe? No-o-o. We were all surprised to learn that a honeybee’s buzz is a pleasant middle C.
Dunbar meets Tow Mater at Justi Station
The clever trick that allowed this scientific experiment and lecture to come off so smoothly was the other part of the field trip, which was perfectly arranged to entertain kids, thanks to Krissy Landini’s plans. First, all of the school’s classes walked from campus over to the Lasseter Family Winery. Just a quarter of a mile, but a good trek to get them interested.