Thursday, April 9, 2009

Nature Notes: Dirty Sexy Honey

Thursday! Time to grab the camera and head out of doors for a visit with Mother Nature.

Waking Onions

On the way out, I opened a cabinet door in the garage to check on the produce situation for tonight's dinner. I keep onions and potatoes out there in the winter. They last longer. However, despite the dark and chilly location, the onions have gotten wind of the fact that spring has sprung. Fortunately, they haven't told the potatoes.

I roamed around a little bit, but as far as I could tell there wasn't much new to see this week. I settled down on the deck to enjoy the sun and just watched for a while.

The red tailed hawk perched on a fence post once. He was too far away for a decent photo, but I smiled to see the arrogant tilt of his head as he surveyed his kingdom, and the lazy beat of his wide wings as he glided away.

The frogs' mating season is still in full swing, though they chorus much more in the late evening and night than during the day. From the sound of things, they are prodigious at procreation. I still haven't managed to upload a recording, though. Maybe next time.

There is always a flock of robins here now, a regular robin rabble. I never knew they hung out in numbers that way. They come late in the afternoon to the same part of the yard that draws large numbers of deer. I don't know what the attraction is, but something must be different about that patch of grass.

Which led me to check out the grass. It's full of weeds. I don't mind in the least, and I have no intention of attempting to grow a lawn out here. Why would you want plain old grass anyway, when you could have chickweed:


Check out the bottom-most flower in that cluster above, would ya? I've never seen anything so serious about getting pollinated.

Heading around to the front yard, I passed these tiny, blue-flowered weeds growing in the stone mulch by the walkway.

Corn Speedwell

It took some time surfing around the Web to identify it, but it would appear to be a kind of veronica, or speedwell. There are over 500 kinds, so I'm not sure which one it is. Veronica is both a medicinal plant and a noxious weed, native to Africa and Asia. It was brought here for rock gardens and, as so often happens with these things, it escaped and is running amok. Regardless, this one is safe with me.

The light was too harsh in this photo, so I went back to try again when evening came. Sadly, the little blue flowers were gone. Either they close up at night, or they only last a day. Somehow, that makes it even more charming in my book.

On to the front yard, where that pussy willow I showed you a few posts ago has become a suspiciously allergenic-looking mass of yellow fuzz.

Pussywillow Pollen

And it is attracting bees like you wouldn't believe. But weird bees. They aren't honey bees, or bumble bees, or those little sweat bees, or even anything waspish looking. As I approached the bush, I became aware that I was being accompanied by hundreds of these little guys, all making ... well, a beeline for it.

Even stranger, they didn't seem to be landing on it, as you'd expect, or flying away again, though I assume they were collecting the makings for weird-bee honey.

They stayed very high, almost as if they were just gathering around to admire the thing. I did try to photograph them, but since they wouldn't come close, land, or hold still they're just dots in the images. Click the photo for a little bit better look.

It's amazing what you can see, even when there's nothing to see, isn't it?

Check out what everyone else found at Michelle's meme. Just click the link and you're there.

Click Here: Nature Notes.


Char said...

Absolutely beautiful! Thanks

Sylvia K said...

Really lovely post and your photos are fabulous! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Oh..this is great Vicki..I had to laugh at the onions not telling the potatoes..Usually my potatoes go to sprout immediately after I buy them. I didn't know that pussy willows go to yellow fuzz. I thought they just kind of stayed the way there were. But I am learning lots of stuff via this meme. Thank you for participating in Nature Notes.. Michelle

Anonymous said...

You inspired me to take a walk and I found pussy willows looking the same..Here is the info
The male tree are the showy ones with the little yellow flowers.

Kiva said...

Are you sure those bees are those little hornets that eat the aphids off the trees?

Carletta said...

Lovely post Vickie!
"It's amazing what you can see, even when there's nothing to see, isn't it?" So true! I din't know for sure what I would post this week for Nature Notes either and then I looked at everything I had and there was an idea.
Love the pussy willow image!
I think I have those same blue flowers around the crawl space of my house. I took a picture but I didn't know what they were called. They are tiny and pretty though.

2sweetnsaxy said...

These are really beautiful. I love the clarity of your shots. Thanks for the visit and comment. Have a wonderful Easter!

Kelly said...

Lovely post and gorgeous photos!

Celeste said...

Looks like spring has definitely arrived in your neighbourhood. I particularly liked your first pussy willow shot - so clear, it's beautiful.

MyMaracas said...

Thanks, everyone, for your kind comments. I apologize for being so late in replying. Sometimes life gets in the way of blogging, I'm afraid.

Thanks for the info on pussywillows, Michelle! I've learned a lot from your research into them, and I'll be trying to propagate a few new ones.

Kiva, there are bees that eat aphids? Man, I hope these are those.

Carletta, I think they are Persian speedwell. Pretty little things, aren't they?

It's amazing how much I've learned already with this project. I think it's my favorite meme.