Bees, Dogs, Plants, and Pictures
Anyway, Mother's Day is the traditional planting day in central Maryland for tender plants, so true to tradition, we started to put our plants into the ground a week ago, which means that this week has been a lot of weeding, planting, fertilizing, mulching; weeding, planting, fertilizing, mulching; and so on. But everything is now in the ground and doing great.
I wish I could say the same for our bees. As I posted earlier, I made a dumb mistake when installing our package this year and popped the cork out of the wrong end of the queen cage. Before I knew what had happened, she flew out of the cage. Bobby emailed the supplier where we'd gotten our package, and he suggested waiting a few weeks because she may have flown into the hive and established just fine on her own. We did as instructed, but within a few weeks, it was very obvious that we did not have a queen. So we ordered another. We picked her up last week and installed her successfully, without popping the cork out of the wrong end this time. We went in today to check that she was out ... and every bee in her cage, including her, was dead. It was like they didn't even make an attempt to get out. (The queen cage is plugged with a soft candy at one end, so the attendant bees in with her eat their way to freedom and use the sugar in the candy to feed her.) So we're back to square one for the third time and now with the clock ticking, as we can already see the number of bees in the colony is lower than it was. Bobby has calls out to several semi-local bee suppliers to try to get another queen in early this week. It's been very frustrating, as otherwise the colony seems to be doing great.
We've also been busy socially, seeing friends on the weekend (sometimes accidentally! We went out for Indian on Friday, and I usually email our friends Tristan and Don to see if they want to meet us over there, but we decided to go so late that I didn't this time. But when we arrived, who had arrived only just shortly before us? So we got permission to combine our tables.) Last night, we hosted dinner for our parents as a belated Mother's Day dinner. We had a green salad, teriyaki chicken (asparagus quesadilla for me!), Bobby's incredible "island rice," grilled asparagus seasoned with that ubiquitous Maryland seasoning of Old Bay, and tres leche cake for dessert, topped with fresh strawberries and mango. Bobby made piña coladas and got the moms pretty soused. I was supposed to make strawberry ice cream, but every place we checked this weekend was sold out of local strawberries (Bobby had bought his for the cake earlier in the week), so I had to do vanilla instead.
We are dogsitting for our friend Dawn this weekend, so in addition to our two big dogs, we have her big black dog Duffy. And my inlaws, of course, brought their Great Pyrenees Bella, so the house was overrun with dogs. Big dogs.
This was doggie dinnertime yesterday, with my mom-in-law in a sea of dogs preparing food for them. That large white shape in the foreground is what is visible of Bella.
And Bobby with Duffy heading back from the stairs (having probably to tried to rile up Freyja, who was closed in the basement when the dogs came in, and gotten yelled at for it).
Okay, so the rest is just random pictures that I've either been meaning to post but haven't or have needed to take and just got around to doing today.
The other week, I was working in the vegetable garden (weeding--what else??) when Bobby called me into the yard. We'd just had a light rain, and there was a spectacular horizon-to-horizon rainbow stretched over the garden. The pictures don't do it justice. It was the most stunning rainbow I've ever seen, with three bands of colors (only one shows up on the pictures) and so dark at the horizon that it looked to be a solid, touchable thing.
I think the word amazing is overused, but this was pretty fecking amazing.
I might have mentioned that Bobby completely redid the landscaping in front of our house. Previously, we had one of those bland what I call "strip gardens": just a strip of tilled earth directly in front of the house, all lines and angles, filled with shrubs and a speckling of annual plants. We did our best to spruce it up with some decorative bricks and whatnot, but it was still pretty dumb-looking. Bobby had decided to put in a path leading to the house to match the steps he built last year, and we decided to rework the landscaping around it to get rid of the boring and linear look of the garden in front of the house.
We're both very happy with it. It extends beyond the tree, but since that area still needs a lot of work in terms of plants, I'm not showing it yet. Pretty much every time we pull into the driveway, Bobby nods all pleased with himself and declares, "That's some professional-ass shit."
Various garden plants: the azalea, one of my favorites (and a native plant to our eastern forests as well):
Clematis, one of my favorite flowering plants, which we are trying to train to climb the lamppost.
heartofoshun, this is the lantana that I thought I noticed in your photos the other day! It is perennial in the south but can't take the winters here, so it's just an expensive annual, but I love it (so do the butterflies!) and so usually end up planting several each year.
And the Halloween tree is flowering. The flowers are really pretty. My eternal gratitude would go out to anyone who could help me identify this tree. I have tried for years without success.
And we'll end with Goldens! Old Wisdom (with glimpses of Phil and Duffy):
And Phil. Since I was on the other side of the fence from him, he of course wants me to throw the ball for him, which results in him spitting the ball onto the other side of the fence.
The consequences this time were that the ball went into the pea garden that runs alongside the fence. But Phil has spit several balls over the fence and into the "flowering fence" that runs between our property and the street. You can see this "flowering fence" in the background. It originated at one point as a convivial collection of various flowering shrubs that look and smell lovely each spring and provide a nice, thick green barrier between our house and the road through the fall. (Bobby and I found it for sale, termed the "flowering fence" that we now call it, in a gardening catalog once.) However, it has long since grown wild with various wild shrubs and a couple of small trees growing in it. So when Phil spits the ball into it, the ball is gone. In the winter, when the flowering fence loses its leaves, you can see several orphaned toys abandoned among the wild tangle of branches. Every now and then, a Golden will spy one and stare mournfully into the flowering fence at intervals for days or weeks on end, as though unwishing that act that consigned a beloved toy into the hinterlands of the yard.
This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!