Friday, February 24, 2012

Plants I'm Growing: First Blooms--Two-toned Daffodils, Rhododendron "Pink Snowflakes," Dwarf Peach (February 24, 2012)

With temperatures up into the seventies the past few days, flowers are beginning to open all over the garden. Today saw the first blooms on the two-toned daffodils in the front garden, on the rhododendron called "Pink Snowflakes," and on the dwarf peach in the side garden. "Pink Snowflakes" has been a very regular bloomer. Its first buds opened on February 22 in 2009, February 24 in 2010, February 16 in 2011, and on February 24 again this year. The dwarf peach has been somewhat more erratic, blooming on March 02, in 2009, February 22, in 2010, March 5 in 2011, and February 24 this year. The two-tone daffodils are another reliable bloomer, it seems. They first opened on February 22 in 2010 and on February 24 this year and last. The first blooms opened also on the yellow broom in the side garden (Cytisus).

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Plants I'm Growing: First Blooms--Ceanothus "Ray Hartman" and Ceanothus "Julia Phelps" (February 19-22, 2012)

I belatedly note that the first flowers opened on the large "Ray Hartman" ceanothus near the kitchen window on February 19 and that the first flowers on the "Julia Phelps" ceanothus opened yesterday, February 22. "Ray Hartman" is pictured above, "Julia Phelps" below. The "Ray Hartman" is trained up as a small tree. The plant bloomed on February 10 in 2011 and on February 22 in 2010, calculating years of 377 days and 353 days, which average to exactly 365 days. I don't seem to have a complete set of records for "Julia Phelps." The blossoms I note today are on a newer plant near the beehive.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Beekeeping: Time for a Belated Honey Harvest (February 22, 2012)

It was unseasonably warm today. I took the opportunity to open up the beehive for the first time in quite some time. It was filling with honey when I last looked, sometime in late October, perhaps, but there was enough empty space in many of the frames that I only extracted about 25lbs of honey in the autumn. There has been little activity around the entrance to the hive in recent weeks, so I've been a bit worried about my charges, but, if what I saw today is any indication, they've been--I hate to say it, but, busy as bees....

I took off a complete shallow super of ten frames, which should yield enough honey for friends and family for a while, and I suspect there is a second super that could be extracted as well. I expect to be busy tomorrow, if work permits such pastoral duties as honey extraction.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Plants I'm Growing: First Blooms--"Flavor King" Pluot

The first buds on our "Flavor King" pluot opened the day before yesterday, on February 19. There has been so little rain this year that I'm hoping we'll actually get an appreciable crop this year. In the past two years it rained heavily while this and our other plum and pluot trees were in bloom, which resulted in a tiny crop. We'll see. The plant bloomed on February 5 in 2009, february 15 in 2010, February 13 in 2011, and February 19 this year, calculating years of 375, 363, and 371 days, for an average so far of about 370 days, somewhat longer than an actual year, but I suspect this will average downward over time.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Miscellaneous: Bizarre

I spare myself the endless drivel of TV commentary about the ongoing GOP presidential contest, by having no TV service. Nevertheless, a fair amount of news trickles down to me from various sources. Two recent bits of news strike me as especially bizarre.

Newt Gingrich attempts to belittle Mitt Romney for his ability to speak French. Rick Santorum criticizes President Obama, saying Obama's political agenda " not a theology based on the Bible." Huh? Shouldn't we be praising Romney for the added perspective his bilingualism may give him? Shouldn't we be praising Obama for not basing his priorities on ideas set out in a book of ancient myths?
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