None of my honey bee colonies survived the winter, despite it being an exceptionally mild one. Last week I was sitting out on the back deck when I smelled something that reminded me of pipe tobacco smoke. Humongous agricultural machinery was planting soy beans and corn in fields surrounding our property. Slowly it dawned on me. That smell. Pipe tobacco? Nicotine? Neonicotinoid coated seed? Neonicotinoid pesticide is responsible for much accidental honey bee poisoning. Due to the vast industrial farming in my area, I believe honey bee health is too much at risk. After eleven years of beekeeping (thanks to my cousin, Peter) I'm reluctantly taking a 'bee break'.
Now for the good news.
Our weather is much nicer now and migrating birds have returned and are cheering up our gardens. The sight and sounds of them are pure delight! And goodness knows, our spirits need lifting after the past few months of pandemic devastation!
|This Baltimore Oreole requested and received it's accustomed treat of grape jam.|
|A lovely pair of Barn Swallows have decided to nest in my garage.|
|A screech owl taking day refuse in it's normally winter-time-only hide out.|
|This alert looking rabbit has lost most of it's winter coat.|
|The floor of our bush lot is greening up nicely. Wonderful spicy scent of opening buds.|
|This brook found a small dam to babble over. Music to my ears!|
|Was delighted to discover this Eastern Blue Bird using one of my nest boxes.|
|Welcome back, little one. You are the highlight of my day!|
|I certainly hope the pipe encasing the post will keep nest predators off.|
|What, a cactus this far north?|
|Oh, it's just Jimmy (or Jenny) Skunk digging for grubs.|
The best news, of course, is that countries around the world are slowly, but cautiously re-opening for business. None of my personal acquaintances (as far as I know) caught the dreaded virus. I sure hope you and your's stay safe as well.