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Gardening For Wildlife #39 Is it still summer
October 22, 2007
Another week gone.
Where does the time go?
We had some much needed rain this past week. I understand some parts of America are still in a severe drought and our prayers go out to you.
Much of the Eastern half of the United States had some severe weather.
There were several severe storms here in Michigan some with tornadoes.
Thing is, we were sandwiched between it all and barely had some rain that night.
Next time severe weather is predicted, take some time and watch the birds and other wildlife.
Birds are so sensitive to barometric pressures, that they know how severe things will be by the drop in pressure.
You may notice birds in a feeding frenzy or they may disappear all together.
Often you wont hear a sound from them.
Other animals react as well.
Because of this, there is minimal bird loss during bad storms.
The one exception is when there is a nest to protect.
This past weekend was spectacular for late October.
I know, I'm starting to sound like a broken record (what would that be these days, a broken CD?).
I've enjoyed some extra peppers and tomatoes.
Yep, this late in the year and still some picking to do.
At this rate, there wont be any tomatoes left for "Green fried Tomatoes".
Akita and I spooked a couple of deer this past week. I would've thought she would've run from them, but she tried to take off after them.
All 8 pounds of here gave my arm a little tug with the leash.
Juncos are here in force now.
The white crowned sparrows still feast on the scratch corn.
Scores of robins fill the fields and open woodlands now. Only a few come into my yard.
Last week I mention a lack of cardinals. This week they are coming by more, but more so at dusk only.
DON"T THROW OUT THOSE PUMPKIN SEEDS.
Or winter squash seeds for that matter.
They make excellent bird treats.
You feathered friends will enjoy your pumpkin and squash seeds.
Wash off all the slimy pumpkin/squash guts and let them dry.
Place them in a saucer/tray feeder or toss them on the ground.
You will find your feathered friends wanting more.
Temperatures in the 70's brought a few butterflies out and there are still a couple of Monarchs that need to think about migration soon.
Honey bees have been real busy as well.
This is another reason why I am reluctant to pull up annuals still in bloom.
Watching the bees in mass this past weekend forced me to change subject matter.
When I was 15 or 16 years old, A friend and I came across a dead tree (snag) in the small woods behind our house.
About 20 feet up was the hole and buzzing in and out were honey bees.
Now honey bees can mean only one thing.
You know it.
Winnie the Pooh would've loved this.
We waiting for a cold winter day.
The two young he men that we were, rocked the snag until it crashed.
Honey bees would fly up a couple of feet and drop like a rock in the cold air. They can't survive in the cold winter air.
All of this sticky sweet stuff was ours for the taking.
And take we did.
As proud as a great conqueror , I brought my haul home to show off and brag about.
To my surprise, my parents gave me a different greeting.
Mom was disappointed with me and dad was flat out angry.
I was reminded how the bees help us and what will happen next spring if there aren't any honey bees to pollinate the garden.
Some how my plunder didn't taste as sweet as it did a few moments ago.
European honey bees are the only honey bee cultivated or used in America for pollination and of course the bi-product of honey and bee's wax.
Brought here by European settlers, the European honey bee actually is native to Asia and the Middle East.
Honey bees are responsible for 1/3 of the food we eat.
like ants and wasps, honey bees are a social creature.
One huge difference, is honey bees are vegetarians, while the other two above insects are also carnivorous.
While bumble bees and wasps cannot survive winter in cooler climates, honey bees to quit well.
In northern climates, only the queen wasp and bumble bee survives. Already fertilized, they will hibernate and start a new nest next spring.
With honey bees, the whole colony not only survives, but eats and keeps the nest and queen warm.
On late October days with temperatures around 57 degrees and warmer the honey bee is fast at work collecting nectar and pollen.
A few bonus days can make or break a hive come next spring.
A fertilized queen will begins to lay eggs in late February.
Sometimes at the rate of 1,000 a day.
Why so many?
To keep the colony going at peak efficiency.
A honey bee hive consists of tens of thousands of bees.
A worker bee typically live three to four weeks during the work season ( the fall workers live out the winter and start foraging in early spring).
The life is shortened because wings get tattered and wear out.
Once the bee cannot fly it is a slow bee death.
As you can see, the population is constantly turning over.
The European honey bee is a non aggressive bee.
Don't mess with it and she wont mess with you.
It will gladly fly on its way.
Most women can easily identify with the Worker Bee (a sterile female) and the Queen as these two Honey Bees do all the work inside the beehive.
The Drones just stop by to feed and/or to rest up for awhile and then they are off once again looking for a Young Queen. As they say, “What else is new” :-)
At the end of the season, the worker bees will give the drones the OLE heave ho. He will starve to death if he isn't bird food first.
For us guys.........................
The female honey bee is the only bee that can sting.
Female wasps, mosquitoes, bees......
Is there some kind of a pattern here we should know about?
All kidding aside,
We need the humble honey bee.
Scientists claim to have figured out what has been killing off million of honey bees.
Hopefully a cure is around the corner.
Africanized honey bees.....................
Another story all together.
Some where in the deep South Dennis has this to share about his yard and gardens:
We still have butterfly around also a lot of Gulf Fritillaries. There host plant is passion flower vines. They are out in force this time of year. These orange subtropical butterflies are becoming a symbol of autumn along the gulf coast. I had YT Hummers at the feeders for the last month. I don't know why but is seems like I have more in the fall them I do in the spring. Also have a lot of warblers starting to show up now. The days here are like yours around 80's in the day and at night in the high 70's. It has also been very dry here along the coast. Still have a lot of flowers in bloom. My humming bird vine are huge along with my moon vines.
Please forgive me Dennis for not getting your home state and city. Next time we will make sure you get proper recognition.
I've done a lot in my garden this year. I finally finished laying down lava rock in the walkways. I have alternated red and black lava, for visual interest and diversity. It was a lot of work, as I had to dig out all the weeds, lay down landscape fabric and anchor it with garden staples, then pour down the lava rock and smooth it out. It really looks great now, well worth the effort.
I have planted more Columbine, as this is one of my favorite flowers. I ordered some from Spring Hill Nursery. They sent it bare root, 12 plants, and 10 of them grew and bloomed for me. Next year, they should do a lot more.
Jan, with all the other plants you have growing, you must attract some nice wildlife. Keep it up dear friend.
Do you want to see your name in print?
Feel free to share some of your wildlife garden stories.
Did you have a surprise visit?
Tell us about your favorite blooms.
Did you create a new wildlife garden?
Gardening for wildlife,
It's A Happening Thing!
With your story, please give me your:
First Name with your city, state/province and country if needed.
It's time to fly for now.
Remember this my friend.
It is the librarian of our past.
Do you want a happy library?
Start today by sharing a smile.
Make it your best smile.
Maybe add a happy thought.
You will be amazed by the gift of smiling.
Until next time,
A blessed week to you.
"Treat the earth well:
It was not given to you by your parents,
It was loaned to you by your children.
We do not inherit the Earth from our
Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."
Ancient Indian Proverb
Your friend indeed,
PS: Feel free to forward this to friends and family or send them to www.gardening-for-wildlife.com so they can register to recieve their free copies.
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