Moving a House

This has nothing to do with bees, flowers, or gardening, but sometimes I just can’t help myself. This house was being picked up and moved to a location about a mile away. Since it’s on my morning walk and since I’m a curious type, I had to find out how they were going to do it.

August 5...I-beams are in place, house has been jacked up away from foundation.  How did they do it?

August 5…I-beams are in place, house has been jacked up away from foundation. How did they do it?

A look underneath reveals it all.  The I-beams are supported by cribs. The hydraulic jacks are centered within the cribs.  The jacks are controlled so they can all lift at the same time (or individually).

A look underneath reveals it all. The I-beams are supported by cribs. The hydraulic jacks are centered within the cribs. The jacks are controlled so they can all lift at the same time (or individually).

The house has been moved to new location...intact and ready for plumbing.

The house has been moved to new location…intact and ready for plumbing.

August 27...I'm a sucker for any 'gardening trick'. Here I'm holding up a dried banana peel. It's supposed to give your transplant a shot of something (potassium?) when the roots reach down to it (assuming you put it in the hole before the plant goes in.)

August 27…I’m a sucker for any ‘gardening trick’. Here I’m holding up a dried banana peel. It’s supposed to give your transplant a shot of something (potassium?) when the roots reach down to it (assuming you put it in the hole before the plant goes in.)

August 27...The lettuce transplants on the left have the dried banana peel under them. On the right, no banana peel. PVC water grid in place, deer netting over the top, we will see what happens.

August 27…The lettuce transplants on the upper left have the dried banana peel under them. On the lower right, no banana peel.
PVC water grid in place, deer netting over the top, we will see what happens.  I forgot to mention the heaps of fresh crab shell that were buried here last week.

August 20...This is WHY we are planting in this bed already. The oh-so-cute deer chomped our beautiful broccoli plants when we forgot to re-net it.

August 20…This is WHY we are planting in this bed already. The oh-so-cute deer chomped our beautiful broccoli plants when we forgot to re-net it after burying crab shell in one end.

The new fawn follows Mom to the bird feeders every evening.

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Growing turnips for the bees and for us

June 22...I mowed half the mustard flowers down and spaded them into the soil. Those lengths of white pvc were supposed to hold the deer netting over the clover, but the clover experienced a freeze at a delicate stage and died out. All this mustard is volunteer courtesy of our compost bin. Clearly, it doesn't get hot enough to kill the seeds.

June 22…I mowed half the mustard flowers down and spaded them into the soil. Those lengths of white pvc were supposed to hold the deer netting over the clover, but the clover experienced a freeze at a delicate stage and died out. All this mustard is volunteer courtesy of our compost bin. Clearly, it doesn’t get hot enough in the bin to kill the seeds.

Two years ago we planted turnip seeds in July and had the happy surprise of turnip flowers in January.  The bees appreciated having a nectar/pollen source in the middle of winter.

Last year we tried growing turnips for the bees again, but for some unknown reason, most of them didn’t germinate…only a few in the middle row.  We were looking for a place to bury crab shell and dug it in on both sides of the few turnips.  They must have liked it because they grew HUGE.  Since there were so few and since my wife makes a delicious turnip soup, those turnips never got to go to seed.

This year we’d like to try it again…with lots of crab shell, and lots of turnips.  This is our attempt to ‘grow for the bees.’

I had to get the trench dug and bury the crab shell before work. Crab shell doesn't keep very long before getting really rank. It's in the bin in the wheelbarrow. A tire is weighing down the lid to keep the raccoons out of it. You don't want raccoons to make a mess of things. Uh, they will if it's not protected.

I had to get the trench dug and bury the crab shell before work. Crab shell doesn’t keep very long before getting really rank. It’s in the bin in the wheelbarrow. A tire is weighing down the lid to keep the raccoons out of it. You don’t want raccoons to make a mess of things. Uh, they will if it’s not protected.

A bucket of kitchen garbage...

A bucket of kitchen garbage…

...and a bin of crab shell...

…and a bin of crab shell…

...go into the trench.

…go into the trench.

This is what crab shell looks like after being buried for 8 months.

This is what crab shell looks like after being buried for 8 months.

July 9...The drip water grid is in place. We're ready to plant.

July 9…The drip water grid is in place. We’re ready to plant.

July 10...Turnip seeds planted and covered with vermiculite.

July 10…Turnip seeds planted and covered with vermiculite.

Deer net hoops set up.

Deer net hoops set up.

July 17...It looks like ALL the turnip seeds germinated this year.

July 17…It looks like ALL the turnip seeds germinated this year.

We better use some fabric to protect them from the wire worm.

We better use some fabric to protect them from the wire worm.

August 1...Hmmm. I think I planted these too close. I better thin them out.

August 1…Hmmm. I think I planted these too close. I better thin them out.

We'll be eating turnip greens for a few days.

We’ll be eating turnip greens for a few days.

I'm going to try some crab water mixed 1:5 parts water to see what happens.

I’m going to try some crab water mixed 1:5 parts water to see what happens.

August 1...I'm watering just the outboard rows of turnips with the crab water just to see if crab water encourages them to stronger.

August 1…I’m watering just the outboard rows of turnips with the crab water just to see if crab water encourages them to grow stronger.

This yearling deer is waiting for me to leave 'her' garden.

This yearling deer is waiting for me to leave ‘her’ garden.

Aug. 9...If a little crab shell is good, does that mean a lot is even better? Let's add some more on this side.

Aug. 9…If a little crab shell is good, does that mean a lot is even better? Let’s add some more on this side.

I better protect it from the raccoons. I don't want them tearing up the seedlings to get at the crab shell. If you're wondering where I got all the tires, I used to plant 60 tomato plants...inside the tires for warmth. I poked, cut, and drilled holes in each one to drain rain water out. Now a days, I'm not planting that many tomatoes, but it's costly to get rid of the tires...anyone want some free tires?

I better protect it from the raccoons. I don’t want them tearing up the seedlings to get at the crab shell. If you’re wondering where I got all the tires, I used to plant 60 tomato plants…inside the tires for warmth. I poked, cut, and drilled holes in each one to drain rain water out. Now a days, I’m not planting that many tomatoes, but it’s costly to get rid of the tires…anyone want some free tires?

August 23...Turnips are exploding with growth. Just in time because this part of the garden is starting to lose the sun.

August 23…Turnips are exploding with growth. Just in time because this part of the garden is starting to lose the sun.

August 23...Making Purple Top White Globe Turnips.

August 23…Making Purple Top White Globe Turnips.

August 29...Freshly picked turnip 'thinnings.'

August 29…Freshly picked turnip ‘thinnings.’

No bug holes, which is the reason why we use a 'pest protection' floating row cover.

No bug holes, which is the reason why we use a ‘pest protection’ floating row cover.

August 29...Turnip soup made from scratch by my Sweetie. :)

August 29…Turnip soup made from scratch by my Sweetie. :)

September 2...More turnip thinnings result in a Turnip Frittata.  Soooo very delicious!!! After reading about the health benefits of turnips, I planted more this evening.  If they flower in January or February, the bees will benefit as well.

September 2…More turnip thinnings result in a Turnip Frittata. Soooo very delicious!!!
After reading about the health benefits of turnips, I planted more this evening. If they flower in January or February, the bees will benefit as well.

Wasps in the Warre!!!

Are there more wasps now or is it just me?

Aug. 17...Please don't sting me!!! This wasp wouldn't stop crawling on my fingers while I was trying to bury crab shell in the garden.

Aug. 17…Please don’t sting me!!! This wasp wouldn’t stop crawling on my fingers while I was trying to bury crab shell in the garden.

That wasp didn't sting me, but the one in my glove did. A little mud works wonders.

That wasp didn’t sting me, but the one in my glove did. A little mud works wonders.

I decided I'd better wear a bee suit to keep the wasps off me. Wasps are carnivores. Maybe they eat the soft parts of the crab remains, but they always gather around whenever I pop the lid open. Lately they've taken to crawling on me as well.

I decided I’d better wear a bee suit to keep the wasps off me. Wasps are carnivores. Maybe they eat the soft parts of the crab remains, but they always gather around whenever I pop the lid open. Lately they’ve taken to crawling on me as well.

I got the largest single day load of crab shell. I can't have wasps holding up the process. Bury the crab shell. Plant directly on it four days later. We will plant beets, winter lettuce, and more turnips on this batch.

August 16, I just got the largest single day load of crab shell ever. I can’t have wasps holding up the process. Bury the crab shell. Plant directly on it four days later. We will plant beets, winter lettuce, and more turnips on this batch.

Aug. 20... Beets on left , turnips in middle, Sue plants winter lettuce on right. (Yes Pat, you did remember to put ashes under the beets.)

Aug. 20… Beets on left, turnips in middle, Sue plants winter lettuce on right. (Yes Pat, you did remember to put ashes under the beets.)

Planted 4 days after burying crab shell, hoops up, deer netting on, let's watch you grow. :)

Planted 4 days after burying crab shell, hoops up, deer netting on, let’s watch you grow. :)

July 1...I spotted this Ancistocerus antilope wasp getting into my Mason bee tubes. I relocated them in the house immediately. I hope the wasp didn't lay many eggs in any tubes before I moved it, or I'll be hatching wasps in the back bedroom.

July 1…I spotted this Ancistocerus antilope wasp getting into my Mason bee tubes. I relocated them in the house immediately. I hope the wasp didn’t lay many eggs in any tubes before I moved it, or I’ll be hatching wasps in the back bedroom.

I shot some video on the Warre hive just to make sure what was going into the hive were wasps. Yes, there were some robber bees, but mostly wasps.

I shot some video on the Warre hive just to make sure what was going into the hive were wasps. Yes, there were some robber bees, but mostly wasps.

August 7...The numbers of bees at the entrance of the hive has been lessening. Looking down at the pile of dead bees, I notice there are mostly drones, but there are also some dead wasps.

August 7…The numbers of bees at the entrance of the hive has been lessening. Looking down at the pile of dead bees, I notice there are mostly drones, but there are also some dead wasps.

August 7...I picked up a couple of dead wasps from the pile in front of the Warre. Did the bees kill them? I doubt it. There were very few bees left.

August 7…I picked up a couple of dead wasps from the pile in front of the Warre. Did the bees kill them? I doubt it. There were very few bees left.

This hive (the one on the right) was real active back in June, and heavy with honey weight. What happened?

This hive (the one on the right) was real active back in June, and heavy with honey weight. What happened?

Most of the comb was empty like this. No eggs, no larva, spotty drone cells. We might have had a laying worker.

Most of the comb was empty like this. No eggs, no larva, spotty drone cells. We might have had a laying worker.

This is what the wasps were after...a comb or two of honey.

This is what the wasps were after…a comb or two of honey.

After removing most of the comb, I put these top bars out for the bees to clean them off. Where are the bees? These are all wasps!

After removing most of the comb, I put these top bars out for the bees to clean them off, but where are the bees? These are all wasps!

August 16...Wasps are in search of sugars. Here's one on the blackberries.

August 16…Wasps are in search of sugars. Here’s one on the blackberries.

Sadly, Bee-atrice log hive is infested with wasps too.

Sadly, Bee-atrice log hive is infested with wasps too.

Bee-atrice log hive...Looking through the observation window, we see the final indignation...wasps are roaming at will inside. We must remove the comb. I won't kill the wasps, but I don't want to grow their numbers by feeding them honey.

Bee-atrice log hive…Looking through the observation window, we see the final indignation…wasps are roaming at will inside. We must remove the comb. I won’t kill the wasps, but I don’t want to grow their numbers by feeding them honey.

What's the bee suit for? There aren't any bees, but a bunch of wasps. The wasps didn't attack me like the bees would have, but I had already been stung once as an accident. With that many wasps flying around, I wasn't taking any chances.

What’s the bee suit for? There aren’t any bees, but a bunch of wasps. The wasps didn’t attack me like the bees would have, but I had already been stung once as an accident. With that many wasps flying around, I wasn’t taking any chances.

This is where the ground nest is, in the laurel hedge area. My wife discovered it when she was coaxing the cat out. Luckily, she only got stung once. In the video you can see how fast they move...at least twice as fast as a honeybee.

This is where the ground nest is, in the laurel hedge area. My wife discovered it when she was coaxing the cat out. Luckily, she only got stung once.
In the video you can see how fast they move…at least twice as fast as a honeybee.

July 8...We won't be killing the wasp nest. Wasps are good for the garden. My wife spotted this wasp flying into the cabbage to rid us of the cabbage worm. We haven't seen ANY this year. In years' past, we would have to painstakingly pull little green worms off the seedlings. The wasps didn't kill my bee hives...they just took advantage after the bees had died out.

July 8…We won’t be killing the wasp nest. Wasps are good for the garden. My wife spotted this wasp flying into the cabbage to rid us of the cabbage worm. We haven’t seen ANY this year. In years’ past, we would have to painstakingly pull little green worms off the seedlings.
The wasps didn’t kill my bee hives…they just took advantage after the bees had died out.

Are there more wasps now?  We think so.  The winter was mild, we didn’t get as much rain as usual, and the wasps had an earlier start.

River Birch or Himalayan Birch???

8-4-15...A look at the River Birch, (Betula nigra) while the sun is out.

8-4-15…A look at the Birch, while the sun is out.

I was happy to meet Ollie who happened to be walking her dog at the same time.  I explained that I was ‘following’ this tree, but was still unsure as to which species it was.  She said that she was the one who had trimmed the ivy off the tree.  “I know it’s a birch,” she says, “try looking up Himalayan birch” (betula utilis Jacquemontii)

I looked it up, but the Himalayan birch leaf is squarer at the base, not so wedge-shaped.

This is a Himalayan birch leaf. Note the rounded base of leaf...clearly not the same as a River birch. This image is courtesy of Oregon State University.

This is a Himalayan birch leaf. Note the rounded base of leaf…clearly not the same as a River birch. This image is courtesy of Oregon State University.

Here is another Himalayan leaf furnished by oregonstate.edu. The leaf is tapered similar to the River Birch. How am I supposed to know the difference???

Here is another Himalayan leaf furnished by oregonstate.edu.
The leaf is tapered similar to the River Birch. How am I supposed to know the difference???

August 13...River birch still putting out a few new leaves.

August 13…I picked another leaf off this morning to get another look at it.

Aug. 13...I shot another leaf with a new camera. This is just to see how well the zoomed close up option works.

Aug. 13…I shot this close up with a new camera. This is just to see how well the zoomed close up option works and get a good close up look.

According to Washington State University, Himalayan birch is the most widely grown of the birch species in the Pacific Northwest and is greatly prized for its distinctive white bark which makes it a welcome addition during the darker days of winter.

Logically, since the Himalayan birch is more prevalent in the Pacific Northwest, it follows that this is a Himalayan birch…but of all the Himalayan leaves that are shown on Google images, most of them are “square” at the base, and while the River Birch is native to the southeastern United States, it is tolerant in other climates too as long as it can grow in moist acidic soils.  Since it was planted possibly over 40 years ago, this area was getting about 65 inches of rain a year then.  It would have been moist enough for a River Birch.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. :)

Speaking of leaves…

Hmmm. I think the leaves are starting to turn already. We've been having many days of sunny weather

I think the leaves are starting to turn already. We’ve been having many days of sunny weather.

August 4...example of a leaf that has lost it's chlorophyll. Chlorophyll gives leaves their green color and absorbs light that is used in photosynthesis. You have to wonder why some leaves lose color while others don't. "Okay everyone on this list gets no more chlorophyll." I'm sure there's a good reason, but this leaf here must be on the list. :) Eventually, because of shorter days and decreasing sunlight, the tree will stop producing chlorophyll altogether and all the leaves will turn color.

August 4…example of a leaf that has lost it’s chlorophyll. Chlorophyll gives leaves their green color and absorbs light that is used in photosynthesis. You have to wonder why some leaves lose color while others don’t. “Okay everyone on this list gets no more chlorophyll.” I’m sure there’s a good reason, but this leaf here must be on the list. :)  Eventually, because of shorter days and decreasing sunlight, the tree will stop producing chlorophyll altogether and all the leaves will turn color.

Cinnamon bark is a-peeling. (Sorry about that, I couldn't resist)

Cinnamon bark is a-peeling.

An even closer look at the peeling bark.

An even closer look at the peeling bark.

8-4-15...Holes in the trunk...are the dreaded

8-4-15…Uh oh, holes in the trunk…Is this the result of the dreaded Bronze Birch Borer?  Not to worry, the River Birch is resistant to it, whereas it can severely damage a Himalayan Birch.

Some birch cones are 'maturing.' This one fell apart in my hand. Next month I'll take one home and try to find the seeds.

Some birch cones are ‘maturing.’ This one fell apart in my hand. Next month I’ll take one home and try to find the seeds.

According to SF Gate, “River birch also is valuable as a source of erosion control and is used to reclaim areas with high soil acid caused by mining. Wildlife, such as birds and rodents, eat its seeds, and deer eat its twigs and foliage. Ruby-throated hummingbirds drink its sap.”

Any birch tree experts out there?

 

 

Pedal Power

This was probably about 40 years ago, my sweetheart is showing how my bicycle can pump water.  We had bought an old (very old) Fairbanks-Morse water pump and I think we were testing it out.

This was probably about 40 years ago, my sweetheart is showing how my bicycle can pump water. We had bought an old (very old) Fairbanks-Morse water pump and I think we were testing it out.

My sister sent me this picture from long ago of my wife using my old 10 speed Schwinn Varsity to pump water. That was when we were young and more energetic…probably about 40 years ago. Since then, we’ve hooked up solar…much less work.

Solar panels on handmade wheeled cart

Solar panels on handmade wheeled cart

Footnote…The first photo is a black and white which I had developed in my little darkroom.  I’m sure I made some 8 x 10’s and sent them to Mom and Dad to show off our pioneering efforts.  Recalling all the work that went into the darkroom, using different photo papers to get more contrast, hours of trying to get the perfect exposure with the enlarger, tray development, it’s a marvel to be able to perform all those functions and more on my laptop…40 years later.  Thank you digital photography!!!

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