Friday, December 18, 2015

Better than a scarecrow

Beautiful Hawk overlooking the garden area

Shortly after arriving at the Bee Farm yesterday I noticed a large bird overlooking the garden from a perch on the power line.  It was a large beautiful Hawk.  When the blueberries start to ripen, it will be convenient to have a Hawk around to keep birds away from the garden.  At least in theory.    Because after a few minutes of observing this Hawk a Blue Jay swooped down to engage the Hawk and they both flew off in a chaotic flight.  Obviously the Blue Jay was a little more agile in flight and able to provoke the Hawk somewhat.  

Our neighbor told a story that last year his wife saw a small Hawk take a baby Blue Jay from a nest.   The baby Blue Jay got away so perhaps this was the now grown up Blue Jay remembering that fateful day and taking it's vengeance out on the Hawk. 
Green Beans

Green Beans are growing like mad and we'll be harvesting some this weekend.  I tasted one yesterday and it was delicious. Eggplants are multiplying and growing fast.  Sugar cane has sprouted and a couple are about 8" already which surprised me.  Little tomatoes are on the vine and a few peppers are growing.  Strawberries doing poorly still and I don't hold much hope for them any longer.   I have enough papayas to supply an army.  What was I thinking?

Monday, December 7, 2015

Good Nature

Despite the fact that I have a cold, working at the Bee Farm was on the agenda for today.  You can be home and sick or outside working and enjoying the wonderful Florida weather.  And it was a beautiful day out at the Bee Farm today.

Just being outside sets you up for living life to the fullest and puts you in a good position to experience Mother Nature.  The last couple times out at the Bee Farm I witnessed thousands of crows flying around the area.  Quite cool.  They were communicating with each other and acting quite social.  I like crows and they are quite intelligent.  Once I read something where somebody wronged a crow and for a long time that crow went out of his way to harass the guy.  On the other hand they also remember acts of kindness.  A little girl in England would feed crows and they gave her little presents; beads, shiny objects, pieces of worn shiny glass, etc.  Read that story here.  I may change my tune when I catch the crows chomping down our strawberries or blueberries but probably not.

About an hour after the crows departed the area I was visited by two Bald Eagles flying around the Bee Farm.  They flew directly over me a few times at only a couple hundred feet.  One was talking to the other ... and one was bigger than the other which made me think they were probably courting.  They circled and flew around our place for about 15 minutes.

And then while watching the bees going in and out of their hives, I caught another Monarch butterfly showing off in front of the bees.  This is something I've seen numerous times.  A Monarch butterfly dips along in front of the hives within the congested landing and take off patterns of the honey bees.  Why do they do that?  I have no idea but I'll stick with my hypothesis that they're showing off.

This is just another benefit of gardening and working outdoors.  You set yourself up for seeing good nature.  That's part of the good stuff in life.  It was the perfect diversion for dealing with a cold.

A great day at the Bee Farm.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Strawberry relocation and Bee Farm has everything including the kitchen sink

For the past couple weeks I've been keeping a close eye on my strawberry plants.  They were really stressed out AND were getting relentlessly chewed on by some hungry bugs.  Since I had no clue how guarantee the future health of these strawberry plants, it was time to switch up their environment.  Maybe it had something to do with the mounds I planted them in. Maybe the soaker hoses weren't delivering enough water, Maybe the plastic on top of the soil was annoying the plants.  I didn't know.
Relocated Strawberries

So digging all of them up and replanting was what I felt needed to be done.  Fortunately after only a few days they seem to be much healthier.  I also sprayed them with an organic insect control to keep the bugs at bay.  It was some work digging them up but better than just watching them perish. 

Plant Stand
With all the potted plants I've been producing plus all the seedlings in line for being potted, it was evident I needed a bigger area where all these potted plants can reside.  I used scrap lumber to produce a fairly good size table that was covered with 1/2" hardware cloth.  It also will be tied into the watering system to automatically water the plants on this table. 

Plants on their new table
And while working on this I decided to do something that has been on my mind for awhile now.  Install a sink.  It will dispense fresh tap water and add convenience when I want to wash my hands after digging in the garden.  Ever try washing your very dirty hands while holding a garden hose?  Try it.   Needless to say, I can't wait for this project to be completed.
Kitchen Sink