Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday to me.

Yesterday was my 70th Birthday. It is a bigger deal than I expected. Michele suggested that we celebrate -partially – by weeding. It was a great Idea.

Part of the rebuilding of the Portola Valley Town Hall was digging up the pipe and re-naturalizing part of a creek that used to flow through the Town Hall area – only sort of re-naturalizing because, here, the creek was probably a flood plain. The new creek fragment has been planted with natives by Acterra a self-described Environmental education and action nonprofit.

The new plants are thriving but so are the invasive non-natives. The good thing about natives is that the native bugs1 like them. In the past, I would have thought that was a bad thing, but now that I am over 70 – and wiser – I realize that it is a good thing. Bigger bugs and birds like the little bugs and need them to survive. Bugs eating plants is the first step of the food chain.

Because bugs haven't yet adapted to and don't eat – in general – non-native plants, a great looking South African bulb like Crinum macowanii might as well be plastic. They look great but are not part of the food chain. 

Crinum macowanii 

So we spent a couple of hours, under Acterra's tutelage, weeding. It turns out to be a great way to spend a couple of hours on a birthday: getting rid of those things that – while they may look good – don't add to our lives. Sort of like taking stock….with action points. And, when we were finished, the creek looked like we hadn't been there.


1 bugs as in insects, not bugs in the more limited sense of beetles only.

5 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday to me.

  1. Steve,
    Well your birthday was even bigger than i thought. I so enjoyed your posting; you’ve taught me something I didn’t really know or at least have long-forgotten. And on the metaphorical level, your point about weeding out that which looks good but doesn’t belong would fit well into any workshop I’ve ever taken or ever will.
    love and friendship,

  2. Happy Birthday, Steve! It sounds like you had an excellent time. We are so looking forward to seeing you in August. We’ll hoist a few in belated birthday wishes then, but no weeding, please.

  3. Thanks, Peter. I’m looking forward to seeing you guys again. I had hoped it would be in Vietnam, but anywhere will be great!

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