Archive for the ‘Bumblebees’ Category

…and the bees love it too.

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Want to grow spinach? We have been wildly unsuccessful in growing it, but guess what…steamed turnip greens taste just like spinach. It turns out they are very easy to grow and are good for you too. This was supposed to be a mixture of several cover crop seeds, Fava beans, Winter Rye, and Hairy Vetch included. It looks like the turnips took over. Uh, I might have broadcast them a little thick. My “solar-roller water pump panel” is positioned for the afternoon sun. Gotta keep the flow going. 🙂

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Turnip flowers in January provide nourishment for bees in the critical winter months.

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October 8…This bed was planted August 1. Turnips grow fast. Plant them thick, then you can harvest the thinnings by steaming the greens.  Leave a few to go to flowers in winter.

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We’ve been getting three crops a year in our raised beds. This was lettuce last winter, then kale, now turnips. In between we bury crab shell when we can get it. This being October, that resource will soon be gone.

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Oct. 10…My sweetheart made a delicious turnip soup for dinner this evening. These turnips were planted in early August. They grow fast!!!

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Oct. 8…just in case we haven’t planted enough turnips, here is another bed started…complete with drip water grid.

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Oct. 15…Turnips are up already. The shade cloth is to protect the little darlings from the hurricane force winds and 12-18 inches (300-450mm) of rain that was forecast…didn’t happen, at least, not yet.

Turnip soup recipe

Chop an onion, saute in olive oil, add 4 to 5 cups of peeled chopped turnips, two garlic cloves (peeled and cut in half), add two teaspoons of smoked paprika, and teaspoon of thyme  leaves.  Cook until lightly brown, add three cups of vegetable or chicken broth, salt to taste.  Bring to boil and simmer until veggies are cooked.  Blend in blender, return to pan, add a cup of milk, or milk alternative.

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The bees have been busy and so have we.   Gerard Van Duinen of La Tabú (The Hague) graciously let us use his Tango music.

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I could have shot a bunch of stills of these bees pollinating flowers, but the video together with the music conveys so much more.

I hope you especially enjoy the leaf cutter bees demonstrating their petal cutting abilities and the crab spider attacking the honeybee…and missing!  Hooray!

I shot some more video today (August 7) to show that the bees are still going strong on the African Blue Basil in August.  It’s good to have something for them after the main nectar flow of blackberries.  Jeff Kerker says that the African Blue Basil will produce flowers all summer.

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The new Echium Bee Bed is filling in well.  From the lobelia in the front to the tallest Tower of Jewels echium plant, they all attract bees.

The new Echium Bee Bed is filling in well. From the colorful lobelia in front to the tallest Tower of Jewels echium plant, they all attract bees.

July 3...Hugelkulture bed is looking so much better since we weeded, planted, and mulched with compost and wood chips.

July 3…The Hugelkulture bed is looking so much better since we weeded, planted, and mulched with compost and wood chips.

A view from our garden bench in July reveals the garden in full glory.

A view from our garden bench in July reveals the garden in full glory.

July 3...The dwarf sunflowers are open and attracting bees already.  It's older siblings can only watch with envy.

July 3…The dwarf sunflowers are open and attracting bees already. It’s older siblings can only watch with envy.

This deer seems to be asking me the question...

This deer seems to be asking me the question…”What are you doing out here at this time in the evening, this is MY time?”  In the video you’ll see why she looked up…she picked up the sound of the camera’s zoom lens.  Their hearing is phenomenal, but luckily their eyesight isn’t that good.  I’m standing in the sunlight just a short distance away, but she can’t see me very well.

Arrrgh!  Deer damage!

Arrrgh! Deer damage!

I'm not sure if there's any reason to net what's left of these potatoes.  They have been stripped of their leaves by the 'cute' deer. :(

I’m not sure if there’s any reason to net what’s left of these potatoes. They have been stripped of their leaves by the ‘cute’ deer. 😦

I mulched this corn in the morning...by the afternoon, the deer had already sampled it.  A temporary fence is now in place to protect it...I hope it recovers.

I mulched this corn in the morning…by the afternoon, the deer had already sampled it. A temporary fence is now in place to protect it…I hope it recovers.

This tomato's only crime was to be planted at the end of the bed where the deer could reach it easily.

This tomato’s only crime was to be planted at the end of the bed where the deer could reach it easily.

Planted from seed last year, these Hollyhocks have survived the deer twice.   We're so happy to finally see the blooms, but we've yet to see the bees on them.

Planted from seed last year, these Hollyhocks have survived the deer twice. We’re so happy to finally see the blooms, but we’ve yet to see any bees on them.

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Since mid November this giant Oregon Grape Holly, (mahonia aquifolium) has been blooming and it's likely to keep blooming into January the way the weather has been.  Most people can't believe it, but I'm happy to see so many of my bees getting nourishment from it.  How do I know they're mine?  I'm sure I recognized them. :)

Since mid November this giant Oregon Grape Holly, (mahonia aquifolium) has been blooming and it’s likely to keep blooming into January the way the weather has been. Most people can’t believe it, but I’m happy to see so many of my bees getting nourishment from it. How do I know they’re mine? I’m sure I recognized them. 🙂

 

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June 29, 2014...Honeybees and hummingbirds get nectar from these little gems.

June 29, 2014…Honeybees and hummingbirds get nectar from these little gems.  We’ve decided to grow more alliums next year because the bees love them and the deer don’t.

June 23, 2014...We started these seeds under lights in the house, hoping they would turn out well.  We're very happy with the results and the bees love them too.

June 23, 2014…We started these Cosmos seeds under lights in the house, hoping they would turn out well. We’re very happy with the results and the bees love them too.

June 10, 2014...Honeybee getting nectar.

June 10, 2014…Honeybee getting nectar on this Cosmos

June 16, 2014...This little stand of California poppies planted itself on my Hugelkulture bed.  In the background you can see some wallflowers (Erysimum).

June 16, 2014…This little stand of California poppies planted itself on my Hugelkulture bed. In the background you can see some wallflowers (Erysimum).

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What kind of bee is this?  Maybe Amelia or standingoutinmyfield will know.

What kind of bee is this? Maybe Amelia or standingoutinmyfield will know.

A new type of poppy, called a Twister poppy.  Attracts bumblebees and is a pay grade above the California poppy.

A new type of poppy, called a Twister poppy. Attracts bumblebees and is a pay grade or two above the California poppy.

I started the Phacellia seeds in the house to attract the honeybees, but rarely do I see honeybees on them. No problem, we need to help the bumblebee as well, in this case the Yellow-faced bumblebee. (bombus Vosnosenkii)

I started the Phacellia seeds to attract the honeybees, but rarely do I see honeybees on them. No problem, we need to help the bumblebee as well, in this case the Yellow-faced bumblebee. (bombus Vosnosenkii)

Relatively short-lived, this Veronica Longifolia, 'Pink Eveline' served as a nectar source for a short time.

Relatively short-lived, (blossom wise) this Veronica Longifolia, ‘Pink Eveline’ served as a nectar source for a short time.

Speedwell, Veronica Spicata, 'Royal Candles.'  The colors of this one stand out well.

Speedwell, Veronica Spicata, ‘Royal Candles.’ The colors  stand out well.

June 29, 2014...Sometimes when the bumblebee exits this blossom, it will pick up a streak of white pollen

June 29, 2014…Sometimes when the bumblebee exits this blossom, it will pick up a streak of white pollen up it’s back.

Piano composition by Kiera O’Hara.

Music by “The Bottom Rung”

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May 29, 2014...At one time there were five bees in here.  By the time I grabbed the camera they had all left the scene.

May 29, 2014…My wife said there were five bees on this earlier, but when I grabbed the camera, I only caught one bee.

May 28, 2014...The New Zealand Cabbage trees are blooming.  Our bees love it.

May 28, 2014…My neighbor’s  New Zealand Cabbage trees are blooming. I’m glad it’s on someone else’s property because there is a strong odor associated with it.  Our bees love it.

May 28, 2014...New Zealand Cabbage has been blooming awhile.  There is  a strong odor that attracts the bees as they are numerous.

May 28, 2014…New Zealand Cabbage has been blooming awhile.  Our bees are all over it, all day.

May 27, 2014...A skipper is probing the depths for nectar.  In the video, you can see it try several spots before finally succeeding.  The bees love this plant as well.

May 27, 2014…A skipper is probing the depths of this Pink Chintz Thyme for nectar. In the video, you can see it try several spots before finally succeeding. The bees love this plant as well.

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