Natural History Notes

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Well, Alex is moderating the temperature this week

Hurray! Last week was at or near 100°F every day. Yesterday was nice and cloudy; we got a lovely slow rain for much of the evening and night, and the rest of the week promises to be cloudy and low nineties, or even lower, with possibly more rain if Alex slings it our way.

Lots has been happening at the Ridge, that I haven't gotten around to writing about. The spring flowers have been and gone. The horsemint is blooming now, and deerpea. The black-eyed susans made a good show, but have totally dried up now. The last rain before last night was a thunderstorm in the early morning of the 15th, two weeks ago, and 3/4" of rain doesn't last for two weeks.

The bees, after a slow start, got going with a new queen, who is laying lots, Unfortunately the nectar has apparently dried up, so all those new bees don't have enough to do. Unemployment leads to too many security guards, and I got stung a second time Saturday, because I didn't heed the extra buzzing and flying around, and go right away to get more protection on.
In the first couple of weeks of this month, they made about 2/3 of a super of honey, but almost nothing since then. I am really hoping that this rain and, with luck, more this week will restart the honeyflow for a few more weeks.

Later -- the rain gauge in the herb garden by the front gate says 2.3 inches! A good "rescue rain," as Elizabeth Moon says. It will last a week or so, and we might possibly get some more later in the week, hope, hope.

The horsemint is done, however. The handsome upright stems with the white whorls of bracts still look lovely, but the bracts shelter globose clusters of maturing seeds, with very few flowers left. The snail-seed vine is starting to bloom, for whatever it may be worth to the bees, and the mesquite on the tank dam is blooming. The mimosas continue to bloom, but I have seen very few honeybees working it -- there was a bumblebee on the old one in the corner of the yard today.

(note — these two pictures of bees by my cousin Kieren Ladner)

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