It’s the High Holy Days, and we’ve just finished celebrating Rosh Hashana/Feast of Trumpets. During this celebration of the Jewish new year, everyone wishes each other a good, sweet year as we eat apples and honey, as well as several dishes made with honey. Because of its sweetness, honey is a common symbol of Rosh Hashana. As I was making a honey cake for the holiday meal’s dessert (and using a pound of honey in the recipe), I started wondering about how honey is made. Just how DO bees create this syrupy goodness? Well, I decided to find out and share what I’ve found with you. (Above photo credit: http://www.beekeeping.wikia.com ) How bees make honey!
It’s amazing the critters I find in my garden. From mammals to birds to reptiles to insects (both wanted and unwanted), it’s almost like my back yard is a wildlife preserve. Although I have been unable to get pictures of everything in my garden — most notably the squirrels and insect pests – I have taken quite a few, and I’d like to share some of them with you. I’ve posted a few of these pictures on my blog throughout this spring and summer, but not all. Come take a look!
With all my talk of the nasty critters in my garden – the leaf-footed bugs, stink bugs, Japanese beetles, slugs – I thought I’d share one of the cuter critters I recently found in my yard. The other day, I pulled into my driveway and found this cute bunny in my front yard, eating my grass. He actually allowed me to sneak up on him and snap a couple of photos (zoom on) before he hopped away. Isn’t he cute?
Because my garden is within my fence-enclosed back yard, all he had to eat was my grass. As long as he stays out of my garden, he’ll stay cute!
What critters are in your garden?
Last summer, I found over a dozen Black Swallowtail caterpillars on my parsley and dill plants – twice. (I think there were two hatchings of eggs.) I’ve been wondering if the Swallowtail would return. Although I haven’t seen the actual butterflies yet, I found almost a dozen caterpillars on my dill this weekend. More!
Today, I want to give you an update on the Eastern Bluebird family which chose my birdhouse to raise their young. If you are new to my site, you can read my initial post regarding the first sighting of the bluebird couple, as well as the post on the newly hatched babies. Although I personally never saw the babies (only heard them), my beau had the wonderous experience of seeing them be fed – and had the ability to catch them on camera. (See above picture of one of the babies.) More!
In April, I posted about a couple of Eastern bluebirds checking out my birdhouse. We watched them build a nest and waited with anticipation for the sound of tiny peeps as baby bluebirds popped out of their eggs. However, after a couple of weeks, it seemed as if the couple decided they weren’t going to stay. Instead of carrying nesting material to the birdhouse, we watched them carry material from the birdhouse. And then, they were gone. Weeks went by with no activity. We didn’t even see a bluebird, male or female. The birdhouse sat empty, rejected, its entrance a gaping “oh” of sadness. But about three or four weeks ago, that changed!
My garden is supposed to be a place of peace, a botanical wonder of fruits and vegetables destined for my table or pantry. I work hard to give all my plants the care they need. The other day, I spent three hours pruning my tomato plants and spraying with fungicide to save them from the dreaded Septoria Leaf Spot. It wasn’t work to me; it was part of the loving relationship I have with my plants. But yesterday, I realized the springtime honeymoon for us was over when I caught two varieties of insects using my garden as their sleezy hotel to mate! See the intruders!
My string beans, wax beans, and lima beans are barely out of the ground, and they’re already being eaten by something! This morning, while performing my biweekly close examination of all my plants and trees, I discovered that several of my bean plants are sporting half-eaten leaves (as my wax beans in the picture above) or are merely spindly stalks sans leaves. I see no signs of insect infestation, nor bugs themselves. So, what is attacking my beans? Find out!
Spring’s warmer weather brings so much to the garden besides new growth. It brings new life – what I call garden critters. Some we expect, like birds and insects. Others we’re surprised by, like this snapping turtle that visited my homestead after a rainstorm a couple of weeks ago. I live at least two or three miles from the nearest water (a pond), so I’m not sure how this little guy found his way to my place. He was plodding along in the rivulets on the side of the road near my driveway, and I ran out in my slicker and wellies to get a picture. After avoiding quite a few snaps, we finally got him into a bucket so the neighbor’s excited boys could take him to the pond and release him. See more life in my garden!