Showing posts from May, 2016

A first look at some new bees

Last Sunday evening, Generous Beekeeper Lori gave me a second swarm from her bees.  Working with Lori is like not working at all. I mosey over to her beautiful home. Since she's already caught the bees, all I end up doing is spending a bit of time in her lovely garden (or the garden of her neighbors).  I wrap the carrying box in a shower curtain liner and pop the bees in the trunk of my car.  And on the drive home, I notice ever single solitary pothole in our roads.  Lori's bees are as hardworking and pleasant as their original keeper.  They've already started laying eggs, which means that I've got a healthy queen.  My approach, especially when the colonies are just getting established, is to minimize my intrusions into their hives.  In this case, I checked for eggs, and added a new box. This will give the bees plenty of room to expand into. I don't want to open this hive for another month, but I also don't want them to ge

Eating Things We Find On The Ground

We had a bit of rain this weekend, and another batch of morel mushrooms appeared in our backyard.  This is both crazy and delightful. We live in the city, not in a forest. And yet, we have all kinds of fungal life in our tiny garden. I imagine this is a direct result of all the wood chips and horse manure I've dragged home over the years.  Some people would be horrified at the thought of eating something like this. Robb and I are remarkably unfussy, and recognize that most food grows in the dirt.  We consider ourselves lucky to have such bio-diversity in our little urban garden. 

Picking Bees Up Off The Sidewalk

... Yesterday afternoon, I got a call from a woman who noticed a massive clump of bees on her neighbor's driveway.  She was concerned about the well-being of the bees, did a bit of online hunting, and found my friends at Pollinate Farm & Garden .  The lovely proprietors of Pollinate passed my information along, and I was able to stop by after work. The swarm of bees was about the size of a large pizza, and was probably three bees deep.   It's quite unusual for a swarm to land on the ground.  Typically, they land in a tree or on a wall, which I imagine offers more protection for the bees. There's always a bit of improvisation involved in collecting of honeybees.  When bees are in trees or bushes, beekeepers can either cut the branch on which the bees are clumped, or they can shake the bees into a collection box.  (Sometimes this has hilariously disastrous results.   Click here for my embarrassing photos. ) After

Poking at our Food

At some point in the last few days, one of our chickens laid an unusually soft-shelled egg.  I'm not certain when this happened, because I found the egg in the chickens' bedding. Normally, the chickens lay in their nest boxes, but at the moment, Maria Lucas is broody. She's acting all kinds of crazy, and deterring the use of all three nest boxes. So I discovered this particular egg on the floor of the henhouse along with another perfectly normal egg.  The shell of this egg is paper-thin. There must have been a disruption in egg-production. Somehow, less shell was deposited around the egg.  We'll give our girls a bit more calcium in the form of ground-up eggshells, and keep an eye on things. 

Stinky *and* Vulgar!

This is a Common Stinkhorn Mushroom. Latin name: phallus impudicus.  It is growing in my vegetable garden, between the fennel and the strawberries.  Robb found it, because its foul smell was overwhelming the entire back yard.  Robb and I really do live a charmed life.