Forestry

Native tree harvest update

Last year held a gigantic bounty of persimmon fruits. It must have been a bumper crop because this year is promising much less fruit. I quickly manipulated the saturation and exposure to make the fruit more visible. Don’t worry, this image is not going into any photography portfolios!

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The walnuts on the other hand are showing a moderate yield:

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My one lone autumn olive tree is loaded as usual. I’ve never really kept track of its production in the past so I have no idea if this is more than usual or if my beehive 50 feet away had any effect. I also like to think I have a good handle on the tree population on the farm, and this is my only known autumn olive. It is pretty obviously self-fertile!

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Bees, Garden

My wild Wine Raspberry harvest thanks to the bees: Rubus phoenicolasius

I’ve been organizing my thoughts on our classification of “Invasive” species. This plant is one that has spurred that train of thought.

I’ve also had a series of very short posts written off-line at my farm regarding the natural(ized) nectar and pollen sources for the bees. Those posts were subsequently forgotten on my computer hard drive. Now I can publish those thoughts along with an update!

1 month ago I had written:

The naturalized, invasive by the definition of others, wine raspberry (Rubus phoenicolasius) are blooming in impressive quantity. The bees are crawling all over these plants and many of the flowers have already developed into burrs which will become raspberries in the next few weeks:

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As of yesterday, I have to say that I have never in the life of using this property had such an abundance of wine raspberries. A hunch says that my 2 honeybee hives are to thank:

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Picking commenced at 6:30 pm and concluded when the bowl was full at 7:45. The final haul:

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I want to again gush over my love of that kitchen scale. Now that I have used and abused the stainless steel bowl including weighting homebrewed beer ingredients, food preparation and even baking it at 500 degrees to contain steam around loaves of sourdough, I can fully endorse it! Amazon prices fluctuate quite a bit. The scale is currently at $50 but I bought it not long ago for $37. Either way, it was worth every penny!

The berries are just now beginning to ripen. For most of the bundles of berries, only one in the group was ripe (the beehive picture demonstrates this) so I will be able to harvest a huge amount in the coming weeks!

However not all non-native plants are as worthy of shedding the invasive label as this one. My current ecological dilemma is the subject of tomorrow’s post.

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Bees, General Pasture

Another wild edible found on the farm: The ancestor to the modern carrot

Daucus carota, Queen Anne’s Lace has been the subject of songs, poems and breeding efforts yielding our modern carrot. When harvested young enough, the tender tuber is: well… an edible carrot! Be careful if you choose to forage for these as their defense mechanism is to emulate poison relatives. It can be safely identified by the carrot odor of the roots.

I photographed this plant expecting to find the bees in a hive close by to be all over the Lace working if for nectar. I never saw a single one!

After more research, I found that Queen Anne’s Lace is not a prefered nectar source of bees. In fact, honey made from the plant smells like human body odor. Since I am not harvesting any honey yet, the bees are free to work the plant if desired to feed their young and continue building the colony.

Maybe next year I will visit this patch early to forage some wild carrots!

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Bees

The power of observation

I’ve been researching the best plants to include that either sustain or create habitat for native pollinators. While the documentation on the subject is valuable and will certainly be the subject of some future posts, by getting out there and observing, I have learned quite a bit.

Trees are my thing. Wild grasses, flowers, etc. are not but I’m doing my best to learn what is out there. I’ve decided to prioritize my learning on those plants which the pollinators demonstrate an affinity. I’ll venture out with my phone or camera later today and try to capture some pollinators in action!

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