The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Monday, June 30, 2008

Tomatoes, Honeybees and Goldfish

Kathy has written about bees and tomatoes recently, so I will as well. And goldfish.

We have Cherokee Purple, Celebrity and Beefmaster tomatoes. The first Cherokees and Celebrity tomatoes are ripe, and I think we will have BLT's for dinner tonight. My tomatoes, like most of my yard, do not get a lot of sun all day, so production may be low.

When we were up on the farm near Hartselle in the spring we found a bee tree. When we went back at Memorial Day, I was able to get some pictures, although not the best. If you look closely, over to the lower left, with the branch as a background, you can spot a bee buzzing toward the hole in the tree.

Here is the bee:

Here is the bee's destination, the opening in the tree.

I used to raise bees in Vestavia when I was in high school. I learned a lot about bees then, mostly from a book called "The ABC and XYZ of Bee Culture." One of the neatest things was learning that if you go to a popular bee site like a patch of clover or a peach tree, early in the morning when the first bee arrives, you can watch the bee fill up with nectar and then she will leave the site, circle around and take off in the direction of her hive or bee tree. Measure the time until the bee returns (or another bee...from that direction) and, knowing the speed of bee flight, you can calculate the distance to the hive. I remember doing this, and finding a bee tree about 200 yards down the creek that ran behind our house.

This first bee goes back to the hive and communicates to the rest of the bees where the bounty is. Bees use what is called the "waggle dance" to communicate the direction, distance and quality of the location.

This fascinating video shows this process:

Honeybees, of course are in trouble. Read this article from The Guardian and then hope like the rest of us that we discover the cause of bee disappearance and that the bees recover.

Goldfish. We have goldfish in the basin of the fountain, and yesterday I noticed babies!!! This would not be a cause for excitement for those who have had goldfish in ponds for any length of time, probably, but since we are used to declining populations from whatever cause I was glad to see the little guys. I only noticed two, and they are about 3/4 inch long now. Lot's of "nature" goes on in and around the fountain, so they may not make it to big fish size, but I will be watching.


Anonymous said...

Joe, those are fascinating pictures. I'm worried about the bees as well. Can't imagine anyone raising them in Vestavia now -- or at least not in our part. The neighbors would probably have a fit. Not to mention, my girls would freak out, and the dogs would try to eat them (Freud loves to go after yellow jackets; fortunately he hasn't caught one yet).

Thanks for the link!

Anonymous said...

I still have that book! Every now and then the subject of bees will come up and generally, people will look at me with skepticism when I mention how much I enjoyed working with bees and what fascinating little creatures they are. I loved seeing you mention them.

Anonymous said...

I'd bet that you may likely have more than just 2 baby fish. Watch for them and try to keep them safe.