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If you live or are visiting British Columbia,Canada in October 2011 come and visit Saltspring Island. This is a great opportunity to meet the growers of apples and other local foods, taste many different apple varieties, try the tasty apple pies and meet some of the vendors at the Hall. Dr. Margriet Dogterom
-find over 350 varieties of apples, all grown organically,-connect with all the farms that grow those apples,-taste about 100 varieties of apples at just one of the farms,-see a labeled display of over 300 apple varieties.-taste labeled apple pies baked with 15 apple varieties. The Pie Ladies baked about 150 apple pies in 2010.-experience an apple history going back to 1860-get to enjoy a tremendous varieties of lunches right at the farms – a culinary adventure.-taste fresh apple juice made from specific apple varieties.-experience over 20 varieties of red flesh apples. That is why we call Salt Spring “APPLE HEAVEN.” Sunday, OCT 2, 2011
See past highlights at http://www.appleluscious.com/
Even though we have had an extended cold spring, apple trees are loaded and there have been several reports of trees falling over. Here is a video clip of uprighting a fallen tree.
What really took my fancy were the beautiful raised flowerbeds at the entrance to the building. Very welcoming. The colours were stunning. On closer inspection, bumble bees liked this array of flowers too.
At the end of summer bumble bee colonies stop growing and the colony begins to produce queens and males. Queens mate with the males or drones and then hibernate over the winter until the following spring. It is important to have well fed drones so they can fly and mate with the queens. Flowers that provide nectar for bumble bees are a must. The flowers in these photos are great nectar producers as the presence of these bumble bees indicate.
Most of these bumble bees are males. Males usually have yellow heads.
|This bumble bee is Bombus vosnechenskii|
Grow flowers and they will come.
In July/August blackberries bloom and flowers provide great food for bees. Blackberry flowers are great providers for bees. They provide both nectar and pollen to bees. For us, Blackberries are great eating and make tasty jams and jellies.
|Blackberries- ready to eat|
But watch out! Blackberries will easily take over and are tough to get rid of because of their extensive root system.
|If the hot weather holds, I will be picking more blackberries soon.|
More on Himalayan blackberry
We baby sat a home with some farm animals last week. An easy task, I’d say.
I was warned a bout the ram.
|I don’t know this fellow’s name….|
A nice looking fellow.
I was warned not to go into the pen, because I would very quickly be on my butt. He looked pretty calm to me.
This morning, I gave him fresh water, through the fence, but the bowl for his oats were a little distance from the fence- but close to the gate. Protected by a fence board from any onslaughts, I held the board at his head level and against my legs. I meekly entered the gate. I had not stepped into the pen before he head butted the board, cracked the board and off course I made my escape. Phew, that was close!
I have re-named him “Stew”
You may be wondering what this story has to do with mason bees. Since all the mason bees are in their cocoons and are awaiting fall cleaning, I am enjoyed a few days away on a farm on Vancouver Island.
On Vancouver Island (British Columbia, Canada) there are all kinds of wild and native fruit that are edible.
When I see fruit on native trees and shrubs, I straight away think that when these plants were in bloom, there were lots of bees in the area. It is always fun for me to have a closer look.
These photos were taken under a Douglas fir/Pine canopy. Filtered sunlight and sunlight available along trails and roads allows these plants to grow profusely.
|Salal berries. Ready to eat!|
|Some of these Salal berries are shriveling up from the drying sun.|
|Red Huckelberries- few, but great tangy morsels for eating|
|Thimble berry. A real treat!|
|A profuse number of Salal berries. Ready for eating.|
|Thimble berry flowers are about as big as a bumble bee. If a smaller bee visits
a Thimbleberry flower and if this smaller bee does not move around the flower, only part of the flower will be pollinated- as in this flower. 95 percent of the flower in this photo is pollinated, but a small strip was not pollinated (seen as a band of unpollinated ovaries).