April 2, 2015...The tree is getting leaves.  I'm hoping someone can ID this tree.

April 2, 2015…The tree is getting leaves. I’m hoping someone can ID it.

Does this look like an alder leaf?  I've looked at dozens of alder leaves, but they look slightly different...wider, with less exaggerated serrations.

Does this look like an alder leaf? I’ve looked at dozens of alder leaves, but they look slightly different…wider, with less exaggerated serrations.   Alder leaves are supposed to be egg-shaped.

This is what the back of the leaf looks like.

This is what the back of the leaf looks like.

Are these the female flowers?

Are these the female flowers?  I apologize for the blurriness of this photo, but it shows them as they are on the tree.  The below photo is sharper.

Are these the female flowers?  I snipped the branch and took it home to get a sharper photo.

I snipped the branch and took it home to get a sharper photo.

I don’t think this is a cottonwood even though the leaves are serrated, or a Balsam Poplar, or a Cascara Buckthorn, but I guess it still could be an Alder or even a birch.

You might think that I followed up on a decision to cut the ivy off this tree, but that's not factual.  After reading a comment by Steve Mitchell (in my last post) about the value of ivy growing on a tree, I hesitated.   The trimming was not done by myself, and at this time, I don't know 'who dun it."  The owners don't know either.

You might think that I followed up on a decision to cut the ivy off this tree, but that’s not factual. After reading a comment by Steve Mitchell (in my last post) about the value of ivy growing on a tree, I hesitated.
The trimming was not done by myself, and at this time, I don’t know ‘who dun it.” The owners don’t know either.

Just for a point of reference, these fir trees across the street from the mystery tree have ivy growing up their trunks.  They don't seem to be in any danger of dying, so what I've read on several web sites about ivy not being a parasite might be true.

Just for a point of reference, these fir trees across the street from the mystery tree have ivy growing up their trunks. They don’t seem to be in any danger of dying, so what I’ve read on several web sites about ivy not being a parasite might be true.

Gardening Know How says…Alder trees (Alnus spp.) are often used in reforestation projects and to stabilize soil in wet areas, but you seldom see them in residential landscapes.”

I suppose this tree could have been started just from a bird dropping a seed, but I would really like to know what it is.  Any ideas?

 

Thank You, East Coast

It should be raining sideways right now in March, but because the East Coast is grabbing all the cold air, we’ve been enjoying 66˙F weather on The Oregon Coast.

Because of the warm spell, we were able to move some things off the light stand and into the garden.  These lettuce, Parel cabbages, and (bought) broccoli were put into ground today.

Because of the warm spell, we were able to move some things off the light stand in the house and into the garden. These lettuce and Parel cabbage plants, and (bought) broccoli were put into ground today.

March 28...66˙F (18˙C)  Looking at tomorrow's weather forecast, I'm going to have to look for a shade cloth for the new transplants.

March 28…66˙F (18˙C) Looking at tomorrow’s weather forecast, I’m going to have to find a shade cloth for the new transplants.  Michael Marlow says it was 28˙F in Western Massachusetts this morning, lightly snowing on the foot of snow already there.

We even brought the Sun Oven to bake up a pot of beans.

We even brought out the Sun Oven to bake up a pot of beans.

While my wife was transplanting, I was preparing a base for my new log hive.  The wood carver said he would bring it out Monday.  I think I'm ready with packed sand under these heavy cement blocks.

While my wife was transplanting, I was preparing a base for my new log hive. The wood carver said he would bring it out Monday. I think I’m ready with packed sand under these heavy cement blocks.

When I proposed using an old bird feeding station on the log hive, Brian Vorwaller went quiet.  I don’t think he really wanted to see that old thing on top of his beautiful creation, so he asked me for another chunk of wood.

March 21...From this chunk of wood comes...

March 21…From this chunk of wood (in the care of the wood carver) comes…

...the pitched roof that will serve as the rain-shedding top of my Grand Kids Log hive.

…the ‘shake’ roof that will serve as the rain-shedding top of my Grand Kids Log hive.  It’s hard to see, but the quilt box is on the bottom 4 inches of it.  Brian worked it into the design so well.

March 28...To the bees' delight, our flowering cherry tree is in full bloom.

March 28…To the bees’ delight, our flowering cherry tree is in full bloom.

 

The Tower of Jewels echium are going to bloom this year...HOORAY!  I've waited two years for this.  They should bloom for about 3 months giving out nectar all day long.  How do I know they will bloom?

The Tower of Jewels echium plants are going to bloom this year…HOORAY! I’ve waited two years for this. They should bloom for about 3 months giving out nectar all day long. How do I know they will bloom?

They have shot up about 4 feet in the last month, but the telltale sign is under the leaves where they meet the main stem...bud beginnings!

They have shot up about 4 feet in the last month, but the telltale sign is under the leaves where they meet the main stem…bud beginnings!

5-27-15...Pink Chintz Thyme

5-27-14…Pink Chintz Thyme attracted bees last year

Butterflies like them too.

Butterflies like them too.

June 29, 2014...English Thyme

June 29, 2014…English Thyme

Head first in pink Thyme

Head first in pink Thyme

June 29...English Thyme

June 29…English Thyme

6-4-13...Red Thyme

6-4-13…Growing as a ground cover, this red thyme is hard to see until you bend down close.

Health benefits of thyme…

To finish out the beautiful music of La Tabú, I added some video of this new plant…a type of St. John’s Wort called HyPearls Hypericum.

July 10, 2014...HyPearls Hypericum attracted many bees, usually in the morning hours.

July 10, 2014…HyPearls Hypericum attracted many bees, usually in the morning hours.

You can understand why it's called HyPearls.

You can understand why it’s called HyPearls.

 

March 17th...Since it was my birthday, I skipped work to see how Brian was progressing on the faces. The 'quilt box' has been added on top and Brian is figuring out what kind of carving he will add to the very top to shed rainwater and add another uniqueness to my already very unique hive.

March 17th…Since it was my birthday, I skipped work to see how Brian was progressing on the faces.
The ‘quilt box’ has been added on top and Brian is figuring out what kind of carving he will add to the very top for the purpose of shedding rainwater and to add another uniqueness to my already different looking hive.

Here he describes what he has done and what is remaining to be done.  He plans to be done in a week and that means I better get prepared for it…SOON!

Facing: the Challenge

March 10, 2015...Here's the roughing out of the faces for the Grand Kid Log hive.

March 10, 2015…Here’s the roughing out of the faces for the Grand Kid Log hive.

Images of grand kids for Brian Vorwaller to compare when carving the faces.

Images of grand kids for Brian Vorwaller, the wood carver.

March 16...The sun came out so I was able to get some time outside.  The pencil lines line up with the top bars on the top of the log hive.

March 16…The sun came out so I was able to get some time outside. The pencil lines line up with the top bars on the top of the log hive.

March 16...The sun came out so I was able to get some time outside.  This shows the first few cuts in the quilt box.  I'm using an electric chain saw plugged into my solar system with canola oil to lubricate the chain.  (I don't want any hydrocarbons in my hive)

This shows the first few cuts in the quilt box. I’m using an electric chain saw plugged into my solar system with canola oil to lubricate the chain. (I don’t want any hydrocarbons in my hive)

This was so easy I made a bunch of cuts...

This was so easy I made a bunch of cuts…

...and then pushed them out.

…and then pushed them out.

Then I enlarged it outwards towards the pencil line.

Then I enlarged it outwards towards the pencil line.

I cleaned up the sides with the "Sa-burr" wheel on the handheld grinder.

I cleaned up the insides with the “Sa-burr” wheel on a handheld grinder.

The #8 screen will hold the quilt and the sawdust at the top of the hive.  This will enable the bees to regulate the temperature and ventilation of the hive by plugging up or eating through sections of the cloth.

The #8 screen will hold the quilt and the sawdust at the top of the hive. This will enable the bees to regulate the temperature and ventilation of the hive by plugging up or eating through sections of the cloth.

I took a photo of this old 'quilt' taken from a Warré hive.  You can see where the bees have chewed spaces (I assume) for ventilation into the box above that's full of sawdust.  The upper box has another 'quilt' to keep the sawdust from falling into the interior of the hive.   When you let the bees build their own comb (I don't use any wax foundation or heaven forbid any plastic foundation) they are free to decide where to put holes in the comb for whatever purpose they want, be it ventilation or for just passing through  the comb.

I took a photo of this old ‘quilt’ taken from a Warré hive. You can see where the bees have chewed spaces (I assume) for ventilation into the box above that’s full of sawdust to hold the hive scent. The upper box has another ‘quilt’ to keep the sawdust from falling into the interior of the hive.

I’ll take the quilt box to the wood carver so he can shape up the structure on top of it.  I think he’s going to carve a type of birdhouse top that will shed water.

A Busy Bee Song

Chuck Barrett is pictured here with his signature orange cake.  Made from scratch, his secret ingredient is Triple sec.  Whenever he is invited to a gathering, he brings his cake and garners rave  reviews.  The ladies in the group are are always impressed with his baking skills.

Chuck Barrett is pictured here with his signature orange cake. Made from scratch, his secret ingredient is Triple sec. Whenever he is invited to a gathering, he brings his cake and garners rave reviews. The ladies in the group are are always impressed with his baking skills.

Inspired by my bee stories, my ninety-one year old father-in-law took pen in hand and wrote “A Busy Bee Song.”  Setting the words to a simple tune he composed, he hoped to inspire children to learn about and respect the honeybees.

Judy Rhodes

Judy Rhodes

He asked Judy Rhodes, a local singer in his home town of Phoenix, Arizona, to sing his song.  Judy performs with a small group, “Up the Road and Around the Bend,” who sing for folks in retirement homes around the Phoenix area.  He copyrighted his words and music to make it officially his own.

Chuck Barrett is truly an inspiration.  He leads an exercise group three days a week at his local YW.  His enthusiasm is contagious and people join in, some in wheelchairs, some with walkers with bingo in the next room as his fierce competition.

I set videos and photos of my bees to Chuck’s song, and we hope you will enjoy our efforts to bring awareness to the honeybees story.

The bare bones of the tree. I'm wondering if it's an alder.  I guess I'll find out when the leaves make their appearance.

The bare bones of the tree. I’m wondering if it’s an alder. I guess I’ll find out when the leaves make their appearance.

Looking up into the umbrella before the leaves form.

Looking up into the umbrella before the leaves form.

Here's a better look at the white bark.

Here’s a better look at the white bark.

A fat robin sits high in the branches.

A fat robin sits high in the branches.

These look like they could be alder cones.

These look like they could be alder cones.

My apologies to everyone in the UK, but this English Ivy has got to go...I hope by this time next month I will have removed it.  I've got to get permission from both owners first.  It happens I know both of them.  They will probably be very happy to have someone take care of it for them.

My apologies to everyone in the UK, but this English Ivy has got to go.  It will compete for food with the tree and if left to grow up the limbs, it could cause them to break by increasing their resistance to wind.  I hope by this time next month I will have removed it. I’ve got to get permission from both owners first. It happens I know both of them. I’m guessing they will be very happy to have someone take care of it for them.

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