Continuing on from the previous post, more weird scenes. Plus, lots more happy snaps, an update on Scrappy with video clip, danger averted, and mushrooms galore.
Starting with the weird and disgusting, so those trying to eat and read, or others simply of an easily-queasy disposition, may skip right down to the happy snaps post haste.
Thanks to the lovely rains last week, which may or may not have destroyed our blackberries (still documenting), we’ve been finding plenty of mushrooms. Some we know very well, like chanterelles, and hunt for them routinely. Most others we collect, and I try to identify, usually without success.
Occasionally that proves to be a disgusting lesson. Boletes in particular bring unwelcome inhabitants and you may just wake up to this sight as you’re making your morning coffee.
If that concerns you, best to leave them in the wild and admire from a safe distance!
Not edible, but cute!
Staying in the weird-disgusting realm, I mentioned last we lost an established bee colony, which was a big disappointment. I wanted to figure out what went wrong with them, and thankfully Hubby noticed the empty hive almost immediately, thanks to the observation window, that so many beekeepers complain about.
I was able to bring all the comb in for inspection. It was highly unusual, because the colony left behind quite a bit of resources, in this case pollen. That means something must’ve been very wrong. Luckily we did capture a swarm off this hive the last month, so it wasn’t a total loss. The culprit behind their total departure from the hive, the dreaded wax moth.
Hubby noticed immediately the spotty brood pattern, sure sign of a failing queen. Had he not noticed and had I not taken action, very quickly all the colony’s painstaking acquisition of pollen and long, hard work of drawing out the wax comb, all would’ve been lost within a fortnight. Wax moth damage in a hive is truly disgusting, the clean-up of which is probably the dirtiest job a beekeeper faces.
Saving the comb, therefor the pollen, therefor the hive body, was the silver lining to this colony collapse. And, it was a good scientific observation for me. What happens is the wax moth eggs as they develop, having been laid in the empty cells where the bees then place their pollen, grow into larvae that pushes out the pollen. From that point they squiggle around a lot. Some of them are able to make it as far as the next room in search of a place to cocoon. Pretty amazing!
Bee pollen is actually pretty tasty, is said to be healthy, and makes a great flavoring for kombucha. I’m sure they eat the larvae in some cultures, just like with silk moths, but don’t worry, I’m not that weird, yet.
*******The rest of this post is safe for the easily-queasy!********
But, there is still danger afoot! And Bubba lets us know about it. A water moccasin on the loose and ready to terrorize the troop, if not for Bubba’s keen scouting.
In other homestead news, Scrappy, whose Mama rejected him at birth, is doing just fine raised on the bottle. Hubby even set up a portable milk station for him, which he adjusted to almost immediately.
In garden news we’ve been harvesting onions and we’re quite pleased with the prolific results for the 2nd year in a row. We’re about 2/3 to completion. Where the onions and garlic have come out, we’ll be planting okra, sweet potatoes, and melons.
The tomatoes and green beans are coming in great, and a few forgotten flowers too.
In more critter news, Shadow is still adjusting well to country life, with occasional hiccups. Like, he still likes to chase the goats and the lambs if they stray too far from the herd.
Only the pigs remain unconcerned with his massive curiosity.
And he seems to find the kittens quite exasperating!
And that’s kinda weird for us too, because we’re not cat people, this is the first time having kittens around at all, yet they seem to be taking over!
It’s an exhausting life for a townie-dog, I’m sure!
Thanks for stopping by!
Do you have any critter or garden news to share?