The Birds & the Bees – Blue Honey?

Spring on the Maumee River had 2 escaped white farmyard ducks trying to join in the mating fun with their wild companions. We’ll watch out for dappled white ducklings.

Among the wild ducks one often sees one single female being wooed/saught by ten or more drakes,  sometimes with much splashing. Where are the other 9?

The geese are all paired up – we never see the mating but some are obviously carrying eggs judging be the size of their tail ends. The male is more alert with head up and watching for problems like pesky photographers.

As soon as it was warm enough to fly, the bees climbed out of their winter cluster where they’d huddled for warmth.  My project this year is to simply record, as best I can with a cell phone camera, each flower harvested by the bees.

Starting with the Snowdrop: I could confirm that one as it was the only flower open when the first bees were bringing in yellow pollen.

This is my best close-up yet showing Snowdrop pollen on the hind legs, just about to be brought into the hive. Unlike the regular camera which does not like to zoom in when in macro mode, this phone camera has no macro, but when fully zoomed, and using flash, it took this amazing detail from about 4 inches away. Very hard to focus properly.

Then this delightful blue Siberian Scilla or Squill (thanks to Jen & Scott for i.d.) flower gave some bees bright blue pollen. It should be used to feed baby bees and hopefully does not make blue honey.

The Pear tree was next to blossom:

Then Myrtle:

The bees like Myrtle but so does this impersonator who seems to have no stinger (I’ll check it if I can catch it) but looks enough like a bee for the predators to avoided it.

In the river the Walleye are running and many fisherfolk are standing in very cold water for long times:

 This man caught 3 but appears to have used 4 arms to do it:

In the house, O’s Amaryllis finally decided to gloriously bloom after at least 2 years of false starts. I’m tempted to bring in a few bees for it, but Alice might not approve.

As the Equinox passed we had one clear sky at sunrise letting me catch another solar alignment. It will need a small picture placed on that sunny spot on the wall to see if it will light up again at the next Equinox on September 21st?





In the night sky last Sunday and Monday (3/25, 26) the Moon danced with Venus and Jupiter.


The Moon quickly shifted position as Venus and Jupiter slowly drift apart.  (The lowest 6 lights in the right hand image are only from Maumee  buildings)


One Final Observation:

The Exxon Valdez, which dumped so much crude oil on Alaskan shores years ago, was sold for scrap the other day. I had never realized she’d been sailing in the interim, under the most amazing name of “Oriental Nicety”.   I don’t want to know under whose flag?

Signs of Life in Stowe Snow

At what seems to be the end of the shortest winter I can remember, we drove last week to the North-East, and up a thousand feet, for 13+ hours. The very pleasant Von Trapp Lodge in the North mountains of Vermont fortunately had great early March 2012 snow.

The strangest sign of mountain life were the toboggan tracks from some unseen fun-loving four footed animal. The biggest suspect, after much discussion with many locals, is that it might be a Fisher Cat, a local relative of the weasel, on the West coast it is said that it can eat a porcupine.






The right hand image enlarges the top of the left hand view showing a long glide, a few quick steps and then another long glide. The animal has captured the classic Cross-Country Ski magic motion of gliding – stepping and then more gliding.  Bigger animals just glide along on very old wooden boards: (A hidden spy-cam in the woods took the video in the link below).

You never know who you’ll see in the mountains. There are 100 km of frequently groomed trails, and other wilder ones too. A log cabin high up in the forest shelters an employee who sleeps there for a few nights at a time and serves delicious hot soup to the handful of visitors.


At the end of the week the temperature warmed; the snow started sliding off the roofs

and the maple sap started running.

Just outside the Lodge area which only uses traditional buckets, there are  modern commercial sap operations linking the trees with plastic pipe, one way valves and vacuum pumps which look as though they could suck a tree dry. But they have to be inspected frequently because moose often wander through and accidentally rip out the pipes.

Meanwhile, back in the rented house great joy was had around fabulous meals eaten with mountainous appetites.