Saturday, June 23, 2018

indifferent nature

something has been at my bees...when i took this photo yesterday it was of a diminished number of cocoons...this morning i found two in the bee house and another half dozen on the ground...irritated, i responded...
the first thing i did was to lash the bee house to the post more securely to eliminate most movement...the critter net would prevent anything too big from getting in the house so i surmise something ( miserable raccoons say ) was batting it around knocking cocoons out onto the ground...
i took off the critter net and opened up the chicken wire on the front of the house...
then i went to the vegetable crisper and got the bee cocoons i harvested last autumn and added them in with the remaining ones from this year in the mesh bag the new ones arrived in...
i put the bag, with the top open to allow the bees a way out, replaced the chicken wire...and pushed the wire in to the house in a concave to hole the mesh bag in...
then i wrapped two layers of critter net around the house and zip tied it to the post securely to prevent any unwarranted access...
in a further show of human vindictiveness i set up a perimeter fence using some old tomato cages and yet more zip tied critter net...
going a step further i spiked the bottom of the critter net to the ground using landscaping pins...i have never had a season without predation on bee cocoons...the first year i had them it was raccoons ( or squirrels...they are not innocent either ) and, in latter years, birds...some survive...my hope is the remainder here hatch out unharmed...it is dicey...nature doenas't care how i feel about the bees and they do have predators...i have done what i can within legal constraints to defend them...once the mesh bag is empty ( one way or another ) some of this can come down to ease bee navigation..they are small...none of this will impede them...still i will clear some off when it seems like it is no longer necessary.

Friday, June 22, 2018

first full day of summer

it is a chill first day of summer at the south end of the inland sea...
it is rainy as well...average june rainfall for these parts is just shy of three and a half inches and my micro-climate has received better than half that amount in two days...everything is wet...
the wheat is wet...
and the lamb's quarters...
the maize...
and the tesointe too...
i was concerned about the bees...however the cocoons are dry and i see a couple hatched...even if i cannot find the bees...
a second look at the bee house left me thinking, given the height of the post it is on, that the chicken wire was not really adequate protection so i added a layer of the same critter net i have around the wheat bed in an effort to secure the bees more effectively...
the winter rye is a bit bowed under the weight of the rain...however...
the spuds...
onions...
peppers...
and roses continue to bloom in spite of...or because of...the rain...there is more rain coming they say and the radar pretty much confirms..a soggy start to the season...we will see if it lasts...and wishing a happy birthday to Jean of puddle wheat and strawberry fame...have a lovely one.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

solstice bees

of course a damp, cool solstice is the perfect day fro warm weather bees to arrive...actually the cool part is okay..it slows them down...it is the wet that is an issue...no bee wants to hatch out of a wet cocoon...
so i took some cocoons out to the bee house ( this is why they are called leaf cutters )...
a few had hatched out on the trip ( which is why i stuck the mesh bag in the refrigerator for fifteen minutes before i started this...
they engaged in some group behaviors...these are solitary bees so i am unsure if it was social ( "some ride, huh herbie...and where the hell are we?" ) or aggression ...
eventually they wandered off on their own...
to ponder their surroundings...
after i finished here i took some cocoons over to my son's domicile for the bee house there...there was. apparently, on that a.) got knocked into the paper bag or, b.) hatched out on the trip over...either way another scout looking around

solstice garden

it was wet and in the sixties ( fahrenheit ) when i arrived at campus this morning...it has stayed that way...
the plants did not seem to mind...the asparagus has produced another new spear...doing what it does this time of year...feed the roots...
around the back of the bed the potatoes are looking healthy and some are preparing to bloom...
their nightshade cousins in the tomato cage have gotten tot that point first...
down in my bed the maize is showing robust growth...
barring a cataclysm "knee high by july" seems assured...
i found seven pole bean plants in various stages of development...
the tomato plant is filling the cage bit by bit...
and the pepper plant has been blooming.