Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Spectacular Spring: Flowers, Food, Herps & Chickens

We received 1.5 inches of rain after none for over a month and now the sun is out and the weather is fabulous. Life is good! We spend less time on the computer at this time of year, but there is so much we want to share. The beauty of spring and the productivity we find is intoxicating.

Wild Hyacinth in bloom. Oooooo, we love this plant and so do the bees!

Homemade rhubarb pies with our own rhubarb straight from the garden made us sit down, savor and listen to all the spring song. (Thanks to Emily Eby for the happiest rhubarb plants EVER.)

Spinach, peas (almost), cilantro, chard, and asparagus are all feeding us daily. What a gift to walk to our little vegetable garden and harvest nutrient dense, chemical free food and to recognize the true miracle of seeds.

Aster and Fern love to hang right outside our library/dining room door waiting for treats and they are so excited for....

their brand new aviary build mostly by Steve the superstar. You all know we nurture some serious wanderlust and this little gem will help facilitate more time getting out into the world.

Steve, again - THE superstar - dug a 12" trench around the whole shebang and buried the fence. This aviary is so safe and we are thrilled.

The girls love to free range, but will love their new protection when we are gone too.


Ivy, Eby, Aster:


Steve is the snake man this spring, finding them everywhere and we completely lucked out when he found this mating ball of Garter Snakes. They no doubt overwintered in this rotting log and we found ourselves captivated by this whole process.

Our new vernal pool filled back up with this rain after two fill-ups with our well (that's how dry we are in north-central Ohio in May). This new rain prompted more amphibians to move and we are so excited to show you...

we have our first Gray Treefrog (most likely) or Spring Peeper eggs in this pool. YES! It worked friends! Refrog America! That's where it's at in our hearts right now. Deep, profound gratitude for this planet finds us daily. You?

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Pollinators: Bumble Bees & Bee Flies

Spring arrived here in Ohio in temperature this past week and it feels wonderful! We had some early glimpses of spring - think frogs, woodcock, swelling plant buds - but warmth sure took a while to get here this year.

While still chilly early this month, we observed multiple queen Common Eastern Bumble Bees emerging from their overwintering sites in the ground and were fascinated by their simultaneous emergence and wondered what they would find to eat on our land. (Clearly, we have a gaping hole in our wildflower/tree/shrub plantings, which we will remedy.)

Here's my awed/baffled video on the bumble bees emergence. 

There are currently 28 different species of bumble bees in the Eastern U.S. & Canada and we are working to learn more about them. They are incredibly efficient pollinators and form annual social colonies, in some ways like honeybees. (Heather Holm wrote some great books on bees and pollinators that we love.)

While hiking at a Seneca County park, we observed oodles of Spring Beauty and a few Trout Lily in bloom. The air around these plants was alive with the buzz of dozens of species of pollinators and many more individuals. The two plants on their own were such a beautiful sight to our eyes and spirits after a long winter, but to witness all the pollinators more joyful than we were to see these blooms was the true gift of the day.

Here's my wonder video on all the pollinators. We were seriously wowed!

A little Bee Fly chased everyone off the bloom and Steve caught an awesome video of this beautiful insect nectaring.

The Trout Lily were much sought after by many species and are definitely a plant we want to increase on our land. We've noticed so many trees and shrubs as other vital sources of early season nectar here in Ohio. Take a look around your there early food for these emerging, hungry and important pollinators?