Wednesday, July 22, 2015
We have a history with bees here. Early in our time on this land, a former student asked if he could place bee hives here. Our quick yes was followed by the delivery of five hives. Soon the young man left his children, his wife and his hives. Taking care of the bees became our responsibility. A bee suit and smoker were purchased. I found that working in a cloud of bees caused me no alarm. One afternoon Becky stood a some distance away to take pictures as I harvested some honey. Apparently she had positioned herself on the line the bees were flying as they gathered food. After taking several stings, she ran from the area with the bees following in hot pursuit. I was never stung while working with the bees. My feeling was the inner calm that carried me through 34 years of teaching eighth graders also quieted the bees. Things went differently today.
We were working on the garden by the road this morning. That patch of pasture grass at the end of the planting needed to be removed in preparation for expanding the garden area. Dressed in my sun protecting clothing, only facial skin was exposed. Suddenly something flew inside of the hood and entered my right ear. An instant flashback to Star Trek had me ripping off the hat and hood and waving my arms wildly about. A medium sized bumble bee left my ear and began flying about my head. My sense of inner calm had been shattered and I was dancing about swatting at the bee. I've never moved like that before. It first stung my cheek. Then it landed dangerously close to my eye and stung again. Trapped between my finger and thumb, life quickly left the bee. My luck continues to hold as my eye is fine. Becky couldn't believe that I didn't swell up at all.
Our plan is to continue the Autumn Joy sedum and Siberian Iris line to the sumac trees. If the ground is prepared this year, we will have a chance to see if all of the quackgrass rhizomes have been removed before we plant. If even a small piece is missed, it will quickly work to reclaim its ground. Existing sedums will be levered out and cut in half with a huge knife. One piece will return to its former spot and the other planted in an open spot up the line. Our gardens will similarly supply Siberian Iris for replanting here.
These Black Dragon lilies are one of the few Orientals to have decent flowers here this year. Their scent is best when it is unexpectedly encountered on the wind. Placing one's nose near the flower does capture the fragrance and some pollen stains but it is nothing like walking into a sweet smelling cloud. Bees gathering pollen are usually quite calm and uninterested in combat. We frequently share flowers with no problems.