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Frequent flyer filling up before the next round trip

Bee Lining

In my haste this morning my post went to my beer blog…..OOOOOPS!

Please check it out.

TTFN

Bishop

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Fall Bananas

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I just returned from a week long trip only to discover that my Burro(chunky banana) plant has opened up and has about 5 hands of bananas exposed with more to be  uncovered. The bees are diving in and enjoying the banana nectar. This planting also produced in mid November last year. I babied the bunches through the cold weather and was rewarded with some nice fat bananas in the spring.

I am overwhelmed this year as I have dozens of bananas frozen for banana bread, smoothies and maybe some more banana jam.

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Bees looking for more banana blossom nectar.

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I wonder if the bees from my nearby neighborhood hives are part of the crew supping upon the sweet nectar?

TTFN

Bishop

Bees and Bananas

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Witnessed some local bees burrowing their way deep into the recently uncovered hand of bananas and blossoms. The sweet nectar is deep in amongst the blossom petals.

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Looking around for a path to the nectar.

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Ready to dig in for a tasty treat.

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It doesn’t take long and the bee is out of sight.

I am looking forward to some great bananas this year and maybe…..just maybe the visitors are from my hive less than a mile from my yard.

All photos are copyright protected. Please contact me for permission to use.

TTFN

Bishop

Way too Early for Bananas

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I stepped out into the garden this afternoon and discovered the surprise. My banana plant has opened up the female flowering portion of the plant, the inflorescence. This variety produced a very nice bunch of at least 40 big bananas last SUMMER! This is February FIRST! I am praying that we don’t have one of those February hard freezes that will wipe out the bananas.

On a side note, my bees have been hauling in pollen big way for over a month! The bees have found the banana nectar. Hope they are my bees.

DSC_9884 L

DSC_9882  L

TTFN

Bishop

Where Have The Bees Gone?

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In the past my Meyer Lemon tree and the lime tree have been mobbed by bees when those blossoms burst out. The amazing citrus blossom scent can be detected by my puny olfactory senses from many yards away. Intoxicating! Spring of 2015 is very different. I have not observed a single honey bee visiting the blossoms. Not a single bee. What is odd about their absence? I have a huge bee hive in my backyard, 30 yards at the most from the two citrus trees. I see the bees returning to the hive loaded with pollen and the top two supers are packed with honey.

My Lemon Tree blossom being visited.....LAST YEAR!

My Lemon Tree blossom being visited…..LAST YEAR! Thee blossoms in 2015  have been lonely.

My Lemon tree just burst out into a second round of blossoms and they are lonely! For this second round of blossom I now have an additional two top bar hives, very active top bar hives! For whatever reason, my three hives are foraging somewhere else! The set of fruit has been very light this year but, this has been a very wet and stormy spring……not sure if that is a factor but I assumed that my bees would visit my citrus trees in large numbers….Wrong…..

This is what should be happening...again this is from 2014!

This is what should be happening…again this is from 2014!

Someone …. Probably many people in the neighborhood are benefitting from my bees, and yes, I do get a major benefits. The honey they are producing is mine to share as I see fit but, I may need to coach them a little better. Anybody speak bee? I could use a translator!!!!!

Maybe I need smarter  bees!

Maybe I need smarter bees!

TTFN

Bishop

Tomato Heaven Has Opened It’s Gates in My Backyard

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May 10th 2013 I picked the season’s first red, ripe and redolent of traditional flavor – tomatoes – yes plural form of the word tomato, more than one – Yee Haw cowboy! The Sweet Million variety is the first to deliver the goods. My Celebrity plant will not be too far behind. My mouth will just have to wait a little longer to savor a BLT with one of MY red, ripe and redolent of traditional flavor – real tomatoes. I will have to admit that I am not so optimistic with my Mortgage Lifter tomatoes – at least so far this season. I have had blossoms, I put my bumblebee suit on and buzzed the flowers with the electric toothbrush but the blossoms close up and drop off! Another update – I have my wife to thank for having tomatoes to pick today….she was tempted yesterday…thank goodness they weren’t apples or margaritas!

(see- https://bishopsbackyardfarm.com/2012/10/02/a-vibrating-garden-visitor/ ) I also planted some grafted heirloom varieties purchased from Burpee so maybe I will have some better luck!

The May 10th tomatoes picked in the dark. Dark at 10:30 AM. Yes AM - today's storm is very dark. 4 inches per hour of rain heading our way!

The May 10th tomatoes picked in the dark. Dark at 10:30 AM. Yes AM – today’s storm is very dark. 4 inches per hour of rain heading our way!

The asparagus bed gets better each year…I think it is on year 5 for the oldest root crowns. Sometimes the spears never make the kitchen……they are so good freshly cut! Last night I snacked on a few after my return from McAllen Texas, down in the Rio Grande River valley. I also savored a few Alpine strawberries and a few full sized berries off of my strawberry towers. The white Pineberries seem to be busy sending out runners…..I may have to snip that behavior and try to force it until later this summer.

Finger sized asparagus spear....flash photograph at 10:30 AM!!!!!

Finger sized asparagus spear….flash photograph at 10:30 AM!!!!!

My friend John and I have cucumber seeds in the ground ready to start up the trellis. He is a bit more limited with space so he is only growing a slicing variety. Me, on the other hand have slicers, Armenian long style and “picklers” planted in my beds. I will promise my family….no more attempts at making dill pickle. I can’t compete with your favorites! So, sweet or bread and butter types will be my focus. Several years ago I made a spicy, mildly hot bread and butter recipe….I liked it! If I remember I will share that recipe later on this summer.

I am pleasantly surprised, my quiet strawberry beds, resting after an early spring burst of activity, are showing lots of blossoms….again, Yee Haw cowboy! I really don’t think a person can have too may strawberries! The arches over the garden entry I built with Crepe Myrtle pruning’s are supporting several varieties of pole beans. The blossoms are heavy on some of the supports indicating a potentially bountiful harvest. Once the vines are filled in a little better I will share a photo. I have a mix of red, purple and white pole bean blossoms showing. Fingers crossed that the vision in my head is reflected in the end result of the planting.

The pole bean arches with some red blossoms.

The pole bean arches with some red blossoms.

Chard, Brussels Sprouts and some tomatoes

Chard, Brussels Sprouts and some tomatoes

My Dwarf Meyer Lemon tree has set a good number of lemons, some are approaching egg size right now. What is interesting though is that there is evidence of many new blossom forming on the tree now. Not sure if this is in the realm of normal behavior but I won’t look a gift horse in the mouth….I will certainly take and enjoy any extra efforts by my little lemon tree!

Weather update….nearly 2000 lightning strike per hour in some areas just east of Houston. Flooding, hail and dark, dark skies! we are bracing for some very wet weather.

TTFN

Bishop

Bees and my Strawberries

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It really started with my broccoli plants that took off and went to blossom. Theyhave beautiful yellow blossoms that are attracting honeybees and a small variety of bumblebee. I found this a real positive change from previous springs. In fact, the number of honeybees spotted in my garden area has been dismal and seemed to be getting worse. I actually employed some Mason Bees the past two years. There seems to be a steady crew working from mid-morning until late afternoon. My guess is that these are a wild variety that hang out in the woods nearby.

I put my macro lens of my Nikon D-200 and attempted to capture the guys at work. The yellow broccoli blossoms must be a bee magnet. I will try to remember that fact next year to draw bees in. I seem to be getting a little better handling this lens.

Bee and broccoli blossom

Bee and broccoli blossom

Carrying quite a load while working this blossom

Carrying quite a load while working this blossom

Off to another one. Trying to improve my moving critter skills. My goal is get a crisp shot of the bee flying!

Off to another one. Trying to improve my moving critter skills. My goal is get a crisp shot of the bee flying!

Strawberries grown outside seem to pollinate themselves pretty well but the fruit size may improve with help from the bees. If you are anal enough, you can take on the task yourself armed with a magnifying glass and an artist’s brush. I have used an electric toothbrush with my tomatoes with outstanding results. If I get frisky enough to crawl around the berry patch soon I will let you know!

Although small, strawberry blossoms have a delicate beauty about them. I caught some of the broccoli work crew sliding on over to the strawberry bed and working their magic. I may hire on tomorrow with my magnifying glass and brush….Love those strawberries! I will make jam in a couple of days and will hopefully put up a couple of dozen jars!

Do your magic little guy!

Do your magic little guy!

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Very nice strawberry  blossom

Very nice strawberry blossom

Now for the payoff –

Just starting to show!

Just starting to show!

Yes - developing nicely

Yes – developing nicely

The final payoff

The final payoff

Yum!!!!!

TTFN

Bishop

 

 

 

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