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Spring Unfolding Quickly

April 25th, 2009

Spring has moved so quickly that we’ve seen temperatures in the high 80’s for the past few days.  It has been downright hot and windy!  Where’s my cool spring air?  Ok, I’m not complaining- and the leaves are just bursting forth along with insects and everything else.   The bees have been frantically busy, and I’ve tried to keep up with them, adding boxes of “supers” so they have plenty of room and can continue to build comb and store honey.  The bees need these warmer temperatures to help produce and manipulate the wax while building comb.  Since this is the second year for my bees, they still need to build, or draw, honeycomb on many frames of plain blank foundation– the sheets of wax or plastic that give them a start in each frame. 

The redbuds were beautiful this year, and the bees took the most advantage of it that they could. 

redbud-flowers-honeybee

They didn’t seem to mind when I got up close- they simply went about their business.  For at least a week I enjoyed the hum of their efforts all around the house.  I love this rear-shot of a a honeybee, heavy with pollen, cruising in to another redbud flower.

honeybee-redbud-pollen

The critters of the pond have really emerged too. I’ve noticed that the bass and bluegill have begun swishing out nesting areas for the spring spawn, and the frogs are all about now.  And we have more turtles this year!  I’ve seen at least four different ones around the pond, and caught a picture of these three enjoying the the sunshine on a warm afternoon.  I need to sneak up closer to see if they’re the same species- I don’t think so, but they “plop” off the log really fast if I try to get too close.

three-turtles

We did have a pair of wood ducks hanging about near the woody area at the top of the pond.  I hoped they were nesting, and saw a pair last year with a half-dozen ducklings paddling about. 

wood-ducks

But lo and behold, yesterday I found that our too-friendly Canada geese have returned, bringing with them a half-dozen of their own goslings! If you know much about these big, beautiful birds, you know that having them around- right here where we live- is a mixed blessing.  While wonderful to watch, especially while raising their young, they can also be a mess- leaving bird stuff all around the pond, and they have voracious appetites, pulling grass by the rootful from around the edge of the pond.   I do enjoy watching them swim gently around the pond, and the little ones are really cute.

canada-geese-family

I was successful at discouraging them from nesting here in February and early March, but there are 2-3 smaller ponds in the area that they can use for nest sites.  Once their young have hatched in March, they gradually get to know the area.  And yesterday they walked them through field and forest to our pond where they would like to spend a lot of time.  It’s fun to watch them paddle about and learn to fly, but I’m not really a fan of the idea… given their tenacious nature however, we may have little choice!

The oak trees are in full bloom right now too- these red oak catkins must be 3 inches long.  I wonder if bees gather pollen from oak trees?  Maybe not when their is so much flower nectar and pollen available.  But they do gather maple pollen, so…

red-oak-catkins

I hope you have time to get outdoors and enjoy the warming weather. Spring and fall are my favorite times of the year- I don’t think I can really pick just one!

12 Responses to “Spring Unfolding Quickly”

  1. R. Shermanon 25 Apr 2009 at 10:27 am

    Your pond looks to be in great shape. Is there a small subsurface source or is it just brilliant stewardship?

    Good luck with the geese. Two are ok, but after about 6, they start being a real pain.

    Cheers.

  2. Ronon 25 Apr 2009 at 8:31 pm

    What a fantastic post, Beau! Love the photos, the bee shots are incredible.

    I think, overnight, the forest has come alive here too. With the dogwoods still in bloom, it sure is pretty.

    Ron

  3. pabloon 26 Apr 2009 at 6:34 am

    Wood ducks! I’m envious. I don’t think my pond is large enuf to keep them, and I worry that the lake fluctuates too much to attract them.

  4. Beauon 26 Apr 2009 at 12:19 pm

    R.- It’s getting there; we think there’s a spring, but the drainage helps with about 20-30 acres. I guess I bring a little dogged, stubborn persistence to keep the shoreline in shape. I go around weekly with loppers and the tractor to cut or pull out trees and anything else that tries to take hold, and then keep it trimmed every month. It really helps to make a nicer border rather than let it grow up in brush. Of course that invites our friendly waterfowl… and I’m with you on the geese!
     
    Ron- Thanks! It is pretty- seems like a strong year for dogwoods doesn’t it? We’re still way behind on the garden… I need to put down the camera and get busier! :)
     
    Pablo- I’ll bet you get some one of these days; yours is bigger anyway, but they really like a woody cove or shelter of some sort- and we have that at the top of the draw. I’ve also seen folks put up wood duck nesting boxes near a water/tree border area- is it worth trying that? (Oops… looks like you already did… :)
     

  5. Edelweiss Transplantedon 26 Apr 2009 at 4:20 pm

    Oh, these are beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing them!

    I actually got to see a morel yesterday! But alas, it wasn’t in a place where I could pick and eat it. I put a link to your blog in mine for those who want to see a picture.

  6. Sageon 26 Apr 2009 at 6:25 pm

    this morning I looked out my kitchen window and noticed that the dogwood tree was just about to bud out! Later I saw my neighbor’s tulip tree was in bloom–all after yesterday’s storms.

  7. Beauon 26 Apr 2009 at 8:43 pm

    Edelweiss- That’s great that you found one! They are so hard to see at times- and thanks for the link :)

    Sage- Thanks for the update on the dogwoods- about 10-14 days later than here. Tulip trees are cool, and beautiful, especially when mature.

  8. Ed Abbeyon 27 Apr 2009 at 8:16 am

    I spent the last three days in a hospital with my mom so haven’t been able to enjoy spring or mushrooms. Right now it is cold and rainy here. But seeing your pictures has sure cheered me up. I like that bee one too.

  9. Beauon 28 Apr 2009 at 8:23 am

    I hope you’re both doing okay…

  10. pamelaon 29 Apr 2009 at 7:54 pm

    I think everything flowered much more beautifully this year. I should take notes and photographs to document how spectacular this spring has been.
    I’ll put that right on the list.

  11. Beauon 30 Apr 2009 at 3:44 pm

    Pamela- I’m not sure, but if you’re in the same region I agree with you- and not only beautifully, but everything has come out very fast! One of the things I enjoy about writing here is that it keeps a record of sorts. I’ve found myself going back a couple of years to check when things bloomed and such. I’ve never had the patience to keep a written journal before, go figure :)

  12. MObugs41on 30 Apr 2009 at 9:53 pm

    I just got around to reading your past posts. These are lovely pictures. I live in NWMO and I agree things are blooming at a spectacular rate. We worried early that the frost would put a damper on things, but fortunately that didn’t happen. The spring show has been gorgeous this year. We have had tons of bees. The wild plums are absolutely loaded with blooms this year and the bees are in heaven. If you have a chance check out my Missouri blog http://naturalmissouri.blogspot.com. I’ve posted some of the blooms from this spring here in the northern reaches of MO.

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