Wednesday, October 31, 2012

In the space of a week

This is an "abandoned" veg bed - left to do its own thing.  There's chard, peas, poppies, mustard and who knows what.
 Ceanothus pacific blue - thick with flowers and with bees.
 Dense lilac flower head - divine smell.

This rhododendron is now in full bloom and there's not a space between the flower heads.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Political protest

Loving this story of the weekly political protest:

The Redwoods was built in the early 1970s as affordable housing that would encourage seniors to remain vital members of the community. A weekly tradition is political protest; on Fridays, residents congregate—with their lawn chairs and anti-war posters and giant bobbing Gandhi head—at a nearby intersection to urge motorists to honk for peace.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Macro views

The profusion of buds demands that the macro lens gets an airing.
Cox's orange pippin buds

Blueberry flower hanging by a thread

Quince - love the veining
Quince "candle" - see fuzz on the bud and leaves?

Different cherry


Grevillea - can you see the fine spider web threads on either side?

Wisteria bud

Slightly more wisteria bud
Three cherry trees - smaller on the right is a morello, the other two are from the original orchard and species unknown.  The centre tree, known as Warren's tree (because that was the first tree he picked when visiting the orchard), is covered in blossom still - we're hoping this variable weather is not detrimental to fruit budding.

Last summer there was a terrible infestation of aphids on the young leaf shoots and cherry fruit. This year phacelia will be sown under the cherry trees.  Have just sown the seeds in pots - hope they germinate in time to do their work.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A mowing is long overdue

Because it's spring grass and other green stuff is growing at a great rate.  And the poor bees have had a very hard time getting back into their hives after foraging forays.  So the beekeeper came over to mow the green stuff and impart another lesson in the life of bees. 

It's cool, overcast and windy today so not a lot of bees are out and about.  Having said that, you should have seen them race back to the hives once the entrances were cleared.
John moving the hives so he can mow

Looking for the queen - seems she decamped into the apartment below when the hive was opened

These are the quiet kids on the block
I got to insert a frame of honey, all by myself!  Despite blossom all over the place, there's not enough honey for the hive so they get food delivered by John.  This time it was honey; sometimes it's sugar water (1kg sugar to 1 litre water).  Steve Benbow uses fondant - easier to handle because it's in a slab which can be left on top of the frames (where the excluder is in the photo immediately above).

Monday, October 15, 2012

Paeony buds

The paeonies are in bud - and today playing host to several varieties of insects.  (Not) using their entomological names:
  • ants
  • very very small flies
  • small flies
  • ladybird
  • "normal" flies
  • large flying things
  • wasps
  • push me - pull you
I wonder if the buds are exuding something sweet? Nothing visible. Maybe a precursor of the gorgeous scent of the (future) flowers - assuming these freeloaders aren't causing damage.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

More pain

The day of the bee sting a single ant inflicted 6 - SIX - bites on my shoulder.  How can something so small cause so much pain?  It's taken almost a week for the itch/swelling of all bites and stings to go away.

And then yesterday, while pulling out an old kangaroo apple, I was a bit macho with the pushing and pulling and tore a chest muscle.  A bummer, as the willow saplings need to be removed and the pain is too much at the mo.

A warning - never plant willows where you don't want them eventually/permanently.  I planted two dozen in the igloo 18 months ago, thinking I'd transfer them later, maybe to create a living fence.  Didn't get around to it (of course) and now discover that their roots are way thicker and longer than the sapling trunks.

Moan moan! Pathetic, eh?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Painful lesson

First ever bee sting - and I wasn't anywhere near the hives.  We'd been fertilising the blueberries and it was my job to push the mulch back under the bushes.  An insect got stuck in my hair - I didn't realise it was a bee and swept it away. One dead bee and one sore finger.
The sting is the thing that looks like a pimple towards the left.  It's now deep purple.

Lesson: make sure you wear a hat while working amidst flowers!