My husband checking the first of our new bees the day after arrival. We'll get two more shipments. Each home-made hive will have a different color combination to help the bees differentiate which one is theirs (not necessary but helpful)! He has also moved the one hive from last year to a new location on our farm that will be more secluded for them. This hive will also have an earlier start at their own honey making for winter food than our group did last year, which hopefully will allow them to winter over successfully.
We thought we only had one apricot tree, the smaller one on the left, but blooming together, these two trees now look like they may both be apricots. Last year the raccoons ate all the apricots we saw except for the ones at the tippy top ends of the skinniest branches that would not support their weight. It will be interesting to see what this year brings!
A close-up of a Mourning Cloak butterfly enjoying the nectar on those blooming trees. You can barely see the ragged wing tips, having just likely emerged from hibernation. What is not shown in this picture are the hundreds if not thousands of other insects feeding on the blossoms of this tree! You could hear the constant buzz in the air! They could have cared less about me being right in their midst fumbling with my camera trying to take these close-up picture, as they had business to take care of!!
Wild flowers anywhere? Yes, it is there, although it is difficult to see in this photo, there is one Spring Beauty with 4 blossoms right in the center of the picture. It was actually between two old old buckets that had been heaved there who knows when by who knows whom. This is way in the SW corner of our property, obviously in an oak stand. We'll get it cleaned up some day (some year?). I later found another small patch of these flowers near-by, but thought the juxtaposition of this one lone flower, so difficult to see but trying to be beautiful next to the garbage, was very symbolic of the help and attention this home and land need to come back to life.
Same location, the leaves of one solitary mayapple flower emerging. I also saw leaves for a few trout lilies but so far no trillium, bloodroot, twin flower, or mushrooms (although I am not an expert 'shroomer - not sure if that is a word or if I just made it up because I liked the sound of it!). I expect to learn a lot as I come to know our land. I find I have little desire to travel to other parts of the country (or even the county) to see things (people yes, things not so much), instead being content to see what's new literally right in my own backyard. And something is new each and every single day, which of course is true no matter how large or small is one's focus when outside. In fact, one of my favorite blogs is by a beautiful friend I have yet to actually meet, where Elaine (of Greens and Berries) lets us see and appreciate her observations from her apartment balcony. One reason I want to get out to Seattle while my younger son and his future wife still live there is to take advantage of the opportunity to drive up to Vancouver, BC to actually meet Elaine in person and enjoy a cup of tea while sitting on her beautiful balcony.
Whew - hang on Kaya!! Time to hunker down. Don't let those strong gusty spring winds blow you away, old girl. All the open ground in the background is where we have had excavating done to try to change the slope of the backyard so the water drains away from the house (d'oh!) instead of toward it. In addition, to add extra action to this land, what you can see is just a little section of the land that was dug up in order to place the tubing for our new geothermal system (providing more glacial boulders to add to our rock pile, which greets you at the beginning of our driveway). This disturbed land is on a south-facing slope, which we plan to terrace and eventually use for various perennial crops such as grapes, asparagus, raspberries, blackberries, etc. First things first though, we needed to get it planted with something to reduce erosion so out comes our trusty Kubota tractor to finish raking it smooth ready to plant white clover to hold the ground plus provide flowering plants for the bees.
Well, isn't that a bummer?! Yes, there is a learning curve to everything, sometimes straight up! Farming is by no means a romantic venture. Stuck! Stuck! Stuck! Not likely to be the last time this happens, but the first time is a rude surprise. I think I was far enough away not to learn any new words. However, my husband is a scientist as well as a good farmer and always follows what we also tried to teach our boys when growing up - that everything is an opportunity for learning, thus a mistake is only mistake if you don't learn something from it! I think we learned where to dig our future pond. :-) Thank goodness for friends willing to help without laughing too much (maybe mostly with empathy).
Enough for today. I hope you're enjoying spring wherever you are!
Cultivate your life - you are what you grow - inch by inch, row by row!
Diana Dyer, MS, RD