The new fawn follows Mom to the bird feeders every evening.
Archive for August, 2015
Posted in Bee Video, Gardening, Growing flowers for bees, Natural Beekeeping, Sustainable living, Videos, tagged crab shell in gardens, drip watering, Growing Turnips, solar-roller, trench composting, Turnip flowers for bees on August 22, 2015| Leave a Comment »
Growing turnips for the bees and for us
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.’
Posted in Log hives, Warre Hive, Wasps, tagged Ancistocerus antilope wasp, crab shell in garden, Deer netting, Ground wasps, mud for stings, natural honeycomb, Raised bed, top bars, Vespula_vulgaris, Warre hive, Wasps on berries, Wasps on honeycomb, Winter planting on August 19, 2015| 9 Comments »
Are there more wasps now or is it just me?
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???
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.
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…
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?
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.
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!!!