Let It Grow Organic Gardens

And I resumed the struggle. -Vladimir

Friday, May 28, 2010

Bees, Gentler Even Than Tunicates

Wasps, that raggedy band of otherwise non-assigned hymanopteras, are attacking the mason bee eggs.
Mason bee season is over. They haven't been seen in weeks, but their eggs are stockpiled in a nesting block hung from a chestnut in the front yard. Safely, I thought, until next Spring, when the adult bees would emerge to mate, forage and lay more eggs. But wasps are tunneling through the mud cappings the bees build over their eggs, and are messing with the eggs, the pollen the bees placed in there for the newly hatched eggs, or both. One by one, the cappings are penetrated, and the world loses another bee to be.
They're not hurting anyone. Bees don't hurt anyone. Or anything. They're the ultimate fruitarians. They don't kill animals and eat them. They don't kill plants and eat them. They only sip a little nectar now and then, nectar that the plants made just for them. A bit of pollen gets stuck to them sometimes, but the plants like that, too.
Bees go through their whole lives without hurting anything or anyone. What else can say that? Maybe a turkey vulture. Let's not talk about turkey vultures. Let's stick to bees. They need nothing but that which is freely given.

As promised, there is exciting bee news ahead. Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Highlight of Sunday Evening Used To Be Tinkerbell Flying Around That Cartoon Castle

But television has changed.
What does it for me now is the spiders that live on the living room window. Darling Jumping Spiders (Phidippus audax, according to our resident entomologist) live, hunt, eat and presumably reproduce, all on a flat piece of glass between the sofa and the cookbook shelf. They're happy there -able to hide in the corners but see their prey from any possible angle. And the entertainment value - at least, relative to other forms of entertainment available out here in the sticks - is immeasurable. The entirety of the soap opera of spider life is played out on the screen before. We've got them named and can distinguish individual personality traits. We even fight over who gets to control the remote.
Everyone's invited over pretty soon to enjoy the show. Pot luck. We might need a few extra chairs.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

ALERT: There Will Be No Snowstorn This May

The winds came in yesterday evening all gray and moist, and they laid everything flat. Grass, flowers, all tossed about, back and forth, and then laid down neatly on the ground.
The flowers on the big hydrangea in the front yard last most of their petals. Such was the timing of this storm: after the flowers had opened, before the petals naturally fell. One of the greatest joys of May in recent years has been to get as many people as possible under the hydrangea, and then shake the trunk as hard as possible. All the petals fall down upon us, our own little May blizzard.
But, this year, it is not to be.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Transitions, Again

Spring has officially turned to summer. I determine this not by astronomical device, nor by ancient pagan ritual, but by the disappearance of the garden hose.
Summer is when basic objects disappear. Garden hoses. Fire pits. shovels. Trucks.
In springtime, all is visible. Even in late spring, objects are visible at least enough to be mowed around.
Summer is the Great Disappearance.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

The Black Snake Has Saved Us Both

I've two chickens left, a rooster and a hen. They're survivors. Anything that has made it through the last winter deserves to stay in the gene pool, but these two have lasted when all the others have perished.(Last week the hen went broody, which is kind of nice and heart-warming, but I'd rather have the eggs.) She's on the box shelf, on the side of the packing shed where there would be stacks of waxed produce boxes if she wasn't there. She's between two bales of hay, left over from Krystal's aborted cob oven project. (I need the hay for mulch, but the chicken seems to need them more.) The rooster started raising a racket this morning, and I went over to find a black snake slithering its way up to the eggs. I reached under him with a stick, got him good and balanced, and carried him away.
Until he slithered off and continued on his way to the eggs. This process was repeated a good five or six times, until a fashioned a bit of a lasso on the end of the stick and carried him over to the walnut trees.
I thought that was the end of it, but, of course, it wasn't. A few hours later I saw him again, winding his way down the driveway, visions of fresh eggs in his eyes. I lassoed him again and tried to get him into a burlap bag, but he was having none of it. So I dropped him into a blue barrel and capped it good and tight. I loaded him into the van and dropped him off - well, the exact location might be in violation of a few Federal statutes, so let's just say he's safe and sound and elsewhere.

Okay, that may not be the most fascinating story ever, but it has saved me from continuing with my original idea of a post, which I promise you would have been tiresome.
Stay tuned, however, for some important bee news.

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