Cracking the Seed Germination Code

Many folks in the Pacific Northwest are starting seeds this month for transplanting later in the spring. But what about seeds that we can plant outside right now? I did some research and came up with a list of those plants that germinate better with a period of cold or fluctuating cold/thaw cycles, which is exactly what we experience at this time of year (and often throughout the entire winter).… Read more

Crocus, Frogs, and Bees! Oh My!

First Crocus
AHHHHH! The first crocus! The first sounds of frogs! The trumpeter swans returning – and the obvious increased chatter of everything from songbirds to eagles calling to each other across the fields! What a difference a month can make! The longer daylight hours are quite noticeable and much appreciated.… Read more

Fruits of December

willow winter

SparrowsOn this winter solstice, I cannot help but wonder – why does not our calendar begin at this turning point of darkness into light? And now that our days will begin to get longer, why are we not entering “spring?”

It seems to be the season of extremes – wind, heavy rains, even snow for us so close to sea level, and yes, also sunshine, all the more appreciated.… Read more

It’s Your Day

"It's Your Day" Early December already! I realize I have not posted anything on here since May, and the picture of those creepy-crawly caterpillars greeting me every time I went to the blog site was enough to make me turn away. I was starting to feel guilty. I had let down “my people.” I watched the site visit statistics drop precipitously. Continue reading

Caterpillar Slaughter

Large tent caterpillar nestI have squished them with my bare hands, blasted the nests open with a power hose, sprayed them with vinegar, burned them alive with a blow torch, and for those that survived all that, drowned them in soapy water. If you, too, have stood aghast at the havoc they have wreaked in your beloved fruit trees, have vowed to take action, if not declare outright war, and have been somewhat taken aback by their tenacity – yes, we are talking about tent caterpillars – read on. But fair warning: this post is not for the faint of heart! Continue reading

Bee Swarm Saga

cherry blossomsThis Bee Swarm Saga is, as some short stories are, rather long. If you want to skip to the lessons learned, go ahead to the bulleted items at the end. If, however, you want to grab a beverage of choice and hear a true tale of determination, courage, against-all-odds survival, instinct over reason, fate, and loyalty to the point of willing to give up one’s own life for the protection of one’s brethren, then this is the story for you. Continue reading

Earth Day: Plant Something for the Bees!

Earth Day Beach Cleanup

Beach cleanup on an earlier Earth Day.

Earth Day! Such an opportunity to do something positive for our planet! Whether you recycle, upcycle, bicycle, reduce your footprint, make a footprint, go for a simple walk, plant a tree – so much we can do to celebrate another day of living on this incredible planet that supports life as we know it.

Sometimes I just have to step back in amazement that any of this exists at all! Continue reading

Early Spring Blooms to Welcome the Bees

Do you keep a record of what is bloom throughout the year? Since we started providing homes for bees, I have become much more aware of what is blooming when – particularly during those months on either end of the warm season, when the weather is unsettled and food for them can be scarce.

It seems many of the first to bloom are some of our natives. Perhaps it is Nature’s way of taking care of her own. Continue reading