Autumn Foragers

09/21/2011

 
Fall has definitely shown it's face.  We've been dipping into the upper 30's at night.  The days, however, are still climbing into the 80's.  This makes it tough to manage the hive.  I'm tempted to shut up the bottom board to keep them warm at night, but I don't want to them to over heat in the day time.  So far I've let them tough it out, but I'm anticipating closing them up soon.
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The bees are busy, though.  They have been working some wild flowers, such as this chicory.  The small blue flowers show up in the mornings and the bees gather a white pollen from them.  By noon, the flowers are completely gone, having shriveled up in the mid-day heat. 

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The bees aren't alone out there.  These little guys are common too.  They are flies (syrphid flies) and they mimic the coloration of bees.  You can typically find them hovering, seemingly motionless, over the ground.

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The sunflowers are finally out too.  While the bees ignored them initially, they are on them now, perhaps because other things are sparse.

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The bees get covered in pollen when they walk around on the flower heads (actually a large collection of numerous small flowers).

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Here too, they have company.  The bee on the left is a leaf cutter bee.  These guys are the ones that leave little circles cut out of your rose leaves.  They use the material for nesting.  They are also raised commercially as pollinators.  Unlike honey bees (on the right), leaf cutter bees collect their pollen on hairs under their bellies.

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Of course, the always present bumble bees are there too.

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And these bright colored bees.  This is a halictid bee, which can be iridescent like this (usually green).  Many people refer to them as flying jewels.

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So, while I'm busy getting ready for winter, the girls are at it too.  They have a bit of honey here on this comb, under the capped cells.

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Well, there is some R&R too :-)  I picked up a "must have" toy called a clock jack.  It is essentially a wind up rotisserie.  A bit of fun over a make-shift fire pit and a few beers.  Cooking a pork roast with blackberry glaze here.  Speaking of cooking, we have a new blog on that topic up in the menu above.  Drop by and check it out!

 

Fare Well

09/01/2011

 
The sun is just poking up over the back hill.  Half asleep, I walk out to survey the yard before going to work.  An unexpected shiver runs down my spine.  It's cold!  After weeks of uninterrupted dry heat, Autumn has briefly brushed her cool hand across the Palouse.  It's a reminder of things to come.  The signs have been there ... the lush green fields of grass and wheat have turned a bright golden hue, the leaves on the trees are drying from the lack of water, and a few tomatoes in the garden have dared to start turning yellow and orange.  The bees are starting up early, as usual, pushing these last days of sun to prepare for winter.  A quick inspection last weekend found a good number of bees, honey, brood, and a big fat golden queen.  So, I've left them to do their thing until I interrupt them again later in the fall to settle them in for the long haul through winter.

This seasonal changing of the guard was violently announced a few nights earlier when a flurry of lightning storms crashed through during the night, ending the slumbering doldrums of summer heat.  It was, perhaps, a fitting event.  Today, Kara and Trevor leave us for opportunities in Montana.  We've had a wonderful summer with them.  The parting is bittersweet.  We are sad to let them go, but enthralled with the excitement in their eyes, the places and things they will see and do, and thankful for the memories this brief time we have spent together has brought us.  It was, at times, hectic, dogs always underneath, each of us bumping into one another with the bustle of living together as family.  They too, I'm sure had to endure our "set" ways and my occasional grumpiness.  But I hope the memories will be of the good times, of the salmon and pasta, the fresh berries, the laughter, the family and friends.  It is a good reminder of what I'm sure Jess is tired of hearing me tell her ... "Enjoy where you are now.  These will be the good ol' times you will be laughing about later."  I know I will be fondly remembering this summer for a long time.

Farewell and Godspeed to both of you.  We'll miss you.
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