Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Thank Heaven for Volunteers!

My woodland path that runs from one side of my yard around to the porch on the other side is a "work in progress".
Oh my, yes.
Much more progress needs to be made on this piece of construction.
It looks sort of lost - not really knowing where it's going, or just how to get there.

Perhaps some edging would keep that gravel going in the right direction.
Now if I can just find something easy to install, and cheap. It needs to fit in with the rest of the path and, most important, and to fit into a plastic bucket so that it can be carried from the front drive down to the back. This yard is NOT accessible by wheelbarrow.
I'll keep looking for that perfect solution, and in the meantime, the bracken ferns will cover a lot of unfinished business.

Yes, Thank Heavens for Volunteers!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

BUZZ, BUzz, buzz...

Thank heavens the wildlife in my front yard is much smaller!
They're busy working those azaleas and rhodos for all they're worth, but I'm not sure who they all are. I recognize the regulars - bumblebees, wasps, black flies. This year, however, there's a new guy in town. He (she?) looks the size of a bumblebee, is just as furry, but has different colours. The head is light brown, the thorax black, but end section of the abdomen is orangey-brown. I don't think he's a mason bee, though we did build a small hotel for the masons out back. So I'm calling him (her) my "orangey-bum bee" until I find a proper name.
This picture (you can just see him in the middle) doesn't show him well, as my little digital camera cannot get close enough without alarming him. I thought about trying to catch him in a jar, then cool him off in the fridge, as suggested on some sites as the best way to photograph small insects. Decided not to - after all, he is working.
If my drawing skills were better, I would try to sketch him. I greatly admire the skills of Valerie Littlewood, who shares her fantastic pictures of bees and flowers on her blog "Pencil & Leaf". I have been checking out her bees pics at
As she is based in Florida, I have not found a match for my little worker.
I also checked the Xerces Society site,, as they have lots of info about bees, but couldn't find a match.
I'll keep looking, and watching these little guys, and leaving them bee.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Three days ago, I was standing at the kitchen window, checking on those salmonberries and enjoying my morning coffee, when I spotted something odd on the ground by the dry creek.
"Who's been throwing pieces of wood in my yard?" I wondered. Surely my neighbours wouldn't have done this - they like our wild space. So after breakfast, I trekked back along the creek to see what was happening.

Looking up at the tree, just one side of my birdhouse was still attached. That pile of wood down on the ground was the rest of it, obviously pulled apart by some very strong animal with sharp claws who climbs well! Those scratches were six feet off the ground.
Looks like the local black bear has returned for the summer. We'd not seen any sign of him since early spring, and were hoping he'd moved to a neighbourhood with better garbage. No luck.
Those scratches were really deep. But we didn't hear him (I'm assuming it was a male, though three years ago the resident bear was a female with two cubs) when he took that birdhouse apart.
Not a sound.

There were no birds in the house, so I'm not sure why he destroyed it.
The winter berries have fed the birds, and the summer berries will be a while yet, so there's not much in the way of easy food here.

If it wasn't a bear, what creature made these deep gashes?

If it it Mr. Black Bear, I'm glad I left that hole in the hedge so that we can duck through and cross the neighbour's yard to get to the street.
Our evening 'glass on the patio' may be quite exciting this summer!