While temperatures and humidity remain unbearably high, the fall nectar and pollen flows are on. We’re lucky to have a spring-fed creek running along two sides of our property as our evening and night-time temperatures are lower than the local average and we have heavy dew every morning. We’ve had a very dry week, but even areas that we don’t water remain green. The Goldenrod currently looks unimpressive, but that will change as temperatures drop and we hopefully get some rain.
We planted about two acres of buckwheat a few weeks ago, both to provide nectar and to improve soil in areas that we had not yet tilled and/or had recently cleared. We water it most days and this crop is the most impressive yet. On weekends I get to water it early in the morning which helps the nectar flow: by 9:00 a.m., this morning, the fields sounded like one big, happy bee hive. We have sunflower seeded in with the buckwheat and will sow white dutch clover once it actually feels like fall. Buckwheat is used as green manure and will provide nutrients and moisture to the clover seedlings.
I saw pollinators that I don’t remember ever seeing before and quite a few that are regular visitors on the blossoms today. A large variety of butterflies passes through almost year round, and carpenter bees are a permanent (and unwelcome) fixture.
There are two bugs that I really don’t like right now (well, three, if you count the aphids all of my tomato plants, especially the one that hitch-hiked a ride into the house last weekend): one is the Tomato Hornworm and the other is the Assassin Fly aka Robber Fly. Because of my neck/shoulder problem, I’ve been neglecting the tomato plants. As a result, I caught (?) / picked (?) 20+ hornworms from my tomato plants and ended up throwing away an equal number of munched-on tomatoes. The biggest worm was larger in length and width than my middle finger and the only way to dispatch them is to drown them in soapy water. Yuck! Well, I guess other people could squish them or attack them with garden shears, but I haven’t reached that point yet. Drowning works quite well, as long as you don’t forget the soap. (Yep, I forgot one day and they all crawled back out of the bucket.)
The Assassin Flies like to hang out by the lily pond and I find it very upsetting to see one cradling one of my honey bees like a baby only to suck its brains out! Luckily there are fewer of those around.
But let me end this with good news: I made it through two work days without taking any pain killers after breakfast two days this week. The doctor says my left tricep is “still weak as a kitten” and my right isn’t much better, but the nerves are healing. He’s added some exercises, and of course my Sleeping-Beauty muscles are just as cranky as I am when the alarm clock goes off now that they are being woken up! Healing isn’t always comfortable, but I am healing, and that’s what’s important.
It’s a beautiful day and life is good on the farm!