Sunday, September 23, 2012

Indian Summer

The girls enjoying a Purple Coneflower

     Today is the first day of Autumn and we are entering a period of time we like to call Indian Summer.  It is perhaps my favorite time of year with lots of sunshine and cooler temperatures (16-18 Celsius or 60-65 Fahrenheit).  In the morning there is a cool, freshness in the air that is missing in the heat of summer.  Though the days are shorter there is still a wide variety of blossoms for our bees to forage on.  While I love this time of year there is also a certain sadness at the passing of another year.  Birds are heading south to winter and the leaves are starting to turn colour.  We savour this time of year in the north country, hoping to enjoy every last drop of life before the arrival of winter.  It's like the passing of an old friend. 


These are the days when birds come back,
A very few, a bird or two,
To take a backward look.
These are the days when skies put on
The old, old sophistries of June, -
A blue and gold mistake.
Oh, fraud that cannot cheat the bee,
Almost thy plausibility
Induces my belief,
Till ranks of seeds their witness bear,
And softly through the altered air
Hurries a timid leaf!
Oh, sacrament of summer days,
Oh, last communion in the haze,
Permit a child to join,
Thy sacred emblems to partake,
Thy consecrated bread to break,
Taste thine immortal wine!

Emily Dickinson [1830-1886]

                                                     Bombus on a Japanese Anemone

     In the spring and summer there are periods of foraging dominated by large quantities of specific blossoms like cherry, plum, apple, raspberry, black locust and blackberry.  Though the time of high pollen collection of singular blossoms is over there is still a wide variety of individual flowers available.  Some of the flowers that enticed the girls today were Borage, Calendula, Anemone, Coneflower, Strawberry, Blackberry, Cucumber, Zucchini, Bee balm, Bugbane, Aster, Clematis, Honeysuckle, Lupine, Sunflower, Hydrainga (normal and oak leaf), Scarlet runner beans, Sunflower, Sedum, Rudbeckia, Mallow, Hollyhock, Tomato, Malva, Kafir Lily, Mint, Shoofly, Cardoon (artichoke), Cosmos and Lavender.  I am presently working on adding photos of all these plants to my Bee Plants pages.    

                                                       Unidentified Bombus on Cosmos (not Kramer)

     I was determined to improve my photographic skills this year and felt I had moderate success.  Any failings on the quality of my photos I prefer to blame on my camera (it can't defend itself).  So I apologize in advance for the poor performance of my camera ( I am often heard chastising my equipment "Bad camera").  I have noticed that mid day, summer light is too bright and produces a glare.  Earlier morning and dusk provide more interesting highlights.  Also, wind is an enemy of those photographing flowers and insects.  In a web post I made last year Beeutiful Bee Photography I discussed a few of my favourite bee photographers.  Biologist Zachery Huang (Beetography) has beautiful bee photography and Eric Tourneret (The Bee Photographer) has done many amazing photographic studies of the relationship between bees and humans.  I have been particularly enthralled with the traditional cultural relationships like the "Honey Hunters of Nepal" and the "Stingless Honey Bee of the Maya".

Left Bombus Mixtus (Male) and right Bombus Caliginosus or Bombus Vosnesenskii on sunflower

     I also made an effort to identify native bees and insects that resemble bees.  I was amazed at the variety of insects that called our garden home.  Due to the incredible number of insect species (Over 450 species of native bees in British Columbia) I could not have identified the insects without the aid of BugGuide.  BugGuide is a website hosted by Iowa State University department of Entomology which allows you and I to submit photos to be identified by volunteer experts.  Despite the poor performance of my camera ("Bad camera") they do an amazing job of identifying what I would have no hope of identifying accurately.

                                 Very large unidentified Bombus enjoying Japanese Anemone

Native Insects from our Garden

     Today I harvested rhubarb (I sweeten with honey), potatoes, chives, blackberries, raspberries, apples, cucumbers and zucchini (Zucchini Blues) from my garden.  The weather forecast is for continued sunshine for the next two weeks.  Hopefully our Indian Summer will last well into October.  Hope springs eternal.

Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never Is, but always To be blest:
The soul, uneasy and confin'd from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.

 Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man

                                                              Hazel enjoying a sedum

Indian Summer

The flowers' scent spiraling in the autumn air,
Beckons closer to warmth before coolness there,
The greenery makes us gasp with hidden delight,
The sun overhead embraces softly, glinting bright,
A sudden springish burst of life and rebirth,
Makes me frolic in fields of growth unearthed,
For a moment childhood feels quite near,
When conjured memories quietly appear,
Before summer commences its sad farewell,
The balmy weather murmurs a rapturous tale.

by Erin Bower  

                                                              Ahhhh!  Zucchini blossoms.

           The Girls enjoying an Indian Summer

Music by Eva Cassidy (l963-l996) My favourite singer

The girls were bringing in lots of orange or was it gold pollen today.

"Fields Of Gold"

You'll remember me when the west wind moves

Upon the fields of barley
You'll forget the sun in his jealous sky
As we walk in the fields of gold

So she took her love

For to gaze awhile
Upon the fields of barley
In his arms she fell as her hair came down
Among the fields of gold

Will you stay with me, will you be my love

Among the fields of barley
We'll forget the sun in his jealous sky
As we lie in the fields of gold

See the west wind move like a lover so

Upon the fields of barley
Feel her body rise when you kiss her mouth
Among the fields of gold
I never made promises lightly
And there have been some that I've broken
But I swear in the days still left
We'll walk in the fields of gold
We'll walk in the fields of gold

Many years have passed since those summer days

Among the fields of barley
See the children run as the sun goes down
Among the fields of gold
You'll remember me when the west wind moves
Upon the fields of barley
You can tell the sun in his jealous sky
When we walked in the fields of gold
When we walked in the fields of gold
When we walked in the fields of gold


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