Thursday, May 21, 2015

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Our Big, Bad Cherry Harvest

We've been waiting years for our two Stella cherry trees to start fruiting. Last year one of the trees fruited for the first time. This year they both started to produce. The truth about farming is yields are not always overwhelming; most harvests are not bumper crops. I like to be honest about our successes and failures and in-betweens. The 2015 cherry harvest is definitely an in-between.

That's it! That's the whole thing. And most of them have been damaged by critters in some way. There are many others on the tree that are rotting and are covered with ants.

That's just the way it is! And we're thankful for what we have. Maybe next year the trees will bear more, and little by little, we'll move toward a bumper crop. We'll see... But no need to be discouraged. We planted two beautiful trees that also yield (some) fruit and provide a nice place to plant guilds underneath, like the garlic pictured below. Can't complain about that!



Thursday, May 7, 2015

How to Save Carpenter Bees...and Your Woodwork!

Many people absolutely despise carpenter bees. "They're destroying my house!" they say. But are they just nuisances, causing only destruction? The answer, of course, is "no." These amazing bees are excellent pollinators, and with the collapse of honey bee colonies reaching epidemic proportions, our survival may be dependent on pollinators like these.

The good news is there is a way to save the bees AND your woodwork: a carpenter bee house!

It's just a simple piece of a 4x4 with the right sized holes; the carpenter bees take up residence naturally. In the picture below you can see 4 little black bee butts just inside the holes. That's 4 bees safely reproducing without destroying my porch!

I got mine from Ledfords Homespun-Creations, a local person I met on Facebook. Want one for yourself? Check out Ledfords Homespun-Creations on Facebook. I'm sure they'll be glad to help you out.

A few more carpenter bee facts: The males - they're the "annoying" ones buzzing around protecting their nests - CANNOT STING. They're actually amazing to watch as they hover effortlessly. They also keep away more dangerous insects like wasps.

My wife calls them "Mr. Bumbles." We love watching Mr. Bumbles and his bride in the nest, especially now that we know they're not destroying our deck!


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Another Meal (Mostly!) From Your Own Yard

I wonder what a restaurant would charge for a wrap with this impressively diverse list of local, organic ingredients:

3 kinds of red and green baby lettuces, curly kale, Swiss chard, spinach, purple radish, and carrot, along with homemade honey mustard.

But this zero-food-miles lunch came from my own backyard! And it is delicious (I should know; I'm eating it right now!). How's your backyard growing?