Smoky Horizons....The wild fires of '08 may go down as some of the worst. Certainly the earliest. We had lightning storms about a week ago, they triggered over 100 fires just in Humboldt county. There are fires all over the north part of California and today the smoke is the worst yet. Blech. Below, Weird Cloud Formations ...that preceded the dry lightning.
Eating Good in the Neighborhood..Spinach beet salad for days. Mustard and broccoli are mostly all done and a second sweet crop of collards and broccoli are coming on. We are eating peas, strawberries and just in the last few days, raspberries. I love the small fruits. The cherries? The ones I did enjoy were eaten before they were ripe, just like the birds...who cleaned up on all the rest. They literally left me with just pits hanging in the clump! Picture was too sad. Whatever, it was a pretty minimal crop and I was just too lazy and gimpy to climb up the ladder and net them. Sigh. Oh well, there is always next year. Golden Delicious Apple...Red in its youth. Peach...Planted as part of our home school studies into James and the Giant Peach. Its first year in the ground and already bearing fruit! No curl either, could be a keeper. Above Lilies...This is a very dependable day lily from Ruby Valley. Old school rules. Below, Nasturtium Volunteer...These are cheery flowers. The leaves and blooms are edible.
BEE LESSON: These two images clearly show little baby bee BROOD; Notice the C shaped object in the bottom of the cell. This brood is about 3-4 days old.
Bee EGGS...You can clearly see the small rice shaped object in the bottom of the cell. These are freshly deposited. Below, CAPPED BROOD. Notice the color is darker than the capped honey below it.
Worker Bees vs Drone Bees...Clearly illustrated above and below. My weaker hive has about a million drone so it is easy to find them when picture day comes around. More on the antics of this hive below...
Notice the drone has a much larger body. The worker bee is smaller and its eyes are much less prominent. The worker bees are sterile females, and the drones are the males. Drone bees gather no pollen or nectar and are just basically loafers who wait around for a virgin queen to fly by, which is not very often! At the close of the season the bees kick all the drones out of the hive, for they can't afford to feed them all winter. The queen will lay new drones in the spring. Drones are very loud buzzers when they do fly (bees leave the hive to relieve themselves.)
ADDENDUM: My YouTube BEE VIDEO of the hive entrance: Blah-g is right. The smoke has me choking; these hips are not happy to blog; and my knee is tweaked but good. Still I blah-g on. In my healing I have ventured back onto the bike. (yea!) We rode in the G.ville parade and I hope to offer a complete report of all our recent escapades on my mushing blog.Team HumDog...waiting for their turn in the G.ville parade. Below, Pepper on the DL with a bee sting! She would sometimes put her nose right into the hive! Bet she might not do that anymore! Her nose got all puffed up. Dog On Ice...On the homestead it's the bees that have taken a good deal of my attention and focus. I worry about them all the time! I'm not sure if it will help, but I can't seem to forget about them. My queen-less hive is now officially queen-right. I inspected on Wednesday, and found she had been released and there were newly lain eggs! yeah! The mood of that hive has improved a lot, and I am looking forward to them building up normally in these long hot days of summer. I planted about a hundred sunflowers to boost the summer nectar flow. Now that the blackberries are done, I don't know where they go, or what exactly they are feeding on. But they are coming home heavy, and still bringing in lots of pollen. I hope the smoke doesn't get them too upset. Bee keepers use smoke to calm the bees while we work them. There are several theories on why it works: One, is that is causes them to think their home is in danger, so they gorge themselves on nectar and honey in preparation to leave. The influx of sugar leaves them in a stupor. Some also believe, the smoke may interfere with their complex communication system. Whatever the case, there is too much smoke today.P.S. ADDENDUM II: Here is a silly Simba video on YouTube. Need a kitty fix?