April-May-June Journal 2019

April 7th, 2019

Bees

I can’t get enough of them. I have a less-than premium site, so I can’t upload a video of the bees.  I should just upload them to my YouTube and then share. In fact. I think I’ll do that now.

Okay, it’s loading.  I noticed that on the iPhone, I can film in slow motion. I’ve been wanting to do this for some time because the bees move so quickly, I can’t see how they are exactly doing their work.  The slo-mo feature on the phone allows me to see this perfectly.

(Sorry, I have to digress. I’m out on the deck because it’s perfect outside…65 degrees and lovely.  I hear the water-like quaver of a bluebird.  He’s hanging out on one of the boxes that I attached to the blueberry-net post hoping to attract a girl.  This picture isn’t the box he’s hoping to move into with a Mrs. Bluebird, but one of three posts (black locust) that were installed to help me manage brambles and berries.  The bluebird boxes were purchased on Ebay…all four for under 50 dollars.  They’re made of cedar and built well. The fourth box is attached to the black locust that I keep pollarding.  It looks good!)wildloose bluebird box

Okay, back on point.  The bees.  The slow motion photography allows me to watch them haul their stores of pollen in up close.  It’s kind of a shit show when they arrive. It reminds me of an extremely busy, unorganized port of entry at some third world country.  Everyone is just single minded and driven.  Anything goes.  In the video, you can see bees crashing into each other head on, tumbling out of, and onto, the landing board, struggling to find the right scent or sight to get into the hive, and seemingly warn out with fatigue trying to get their pollen load home and into the hive.

It’s incredible to me how hard they have to work.  They have to figure out where the source is based on the instructions of another, fly towards the source (against wind, cold, predators, etc.), FIND the source, collect the pollen, carry the pollen around while they collect MORE pollen, then fly home after as much as an hour’s worth of carrying pollen around!  It’s no wonder that they fall to the landing board in complete exhaustion!

It looks beautiful here, but it wasn’t.  May was a record breaking rainy month.  The good news is that it started things off in the asparagus bed well (where there is great drainage) and the scallions that I put in along the borders of the asparagus took to the water very well.  My raised beds however had standing water in them, operative word there RAISED beds! Sprayed the trees to prevent brown rot and it seemed to have worked, but the overly concentrated spray ( I diluted it wrong) burned leaves on some of the pear and apple trees.  Maybe a peach got it too.  One, a lovely Red Haven, is yellow this month.  Too much water?  Too much spray?  God help us.  It’s amazing any of us eat anything at all.

 

 

 

I successfully grafted Liberty onto the wild crab I grew from seed last year.  I caged the whole thing to prevent deer and dog from digging it up, but I could not keep this sparrow from building a nest right in the midst of things.  The added protection didn’t work for the bird.  Something got at the nest and ate (?) all the eggs.  She never came back.

 

Look how beautiful that is!  About 50% of the grafts took this year. I stored scions in crisper in January after waxing both of the exposed ends and then wrapped them in plastic so I know that they were chilled evenly and consistently through the winter. I grafted in May.  I don’t know why I get the failure rate that I do.  I think birds have something to do with it.  They may be perching on the ends of the grafts and breaking the cambium connection (which I was very good about making sure was aligned.)

 

It was a great year for asparagus.  I’ve been home a lot this Spring so I was able to RoundUp, weed, pick and fertilize.  Asparagus started coming up about the 2nd week of May, but really kicked in at the end of the month.  It is now June 11th and I’m still picking, but I’ve decided to allow it to grow up.  I have about 10 bags in the freezer and there was plenty distributed to friends.

 

 

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