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Tales from Pecos River Cabins Bees May 2020

Bee Keeper Spring 2020They say the pedigree of honey does not concern the bee, for any clover to him is aristocracy.

New Bees are in the house! Well, actually, in their hive.  Sweet tempered, Italian honey bees transported from Texas.  After 2 days on the road, they didn’t skip a “bee”t when introduced to their new hive.

Their shipping container has a circular silver lid in the top middle.  This is the top to a can of syrup, which provided food during their journey to Pecos River Cabins.

Queen Bee Shipping ContainerThe Queen is shipped inside the shipping container in a smaller screened container.  Placed inside the new hive overnight, the next day a small marshmallow is used to replace the wooden stopper on the Queen’s container.  The bees eat through the marshmallow to allow the Queen to enter the hive. By the time this happens, the Queen has been in the hive long enough for her pheromones to have permeated the colony’s new home.

Bees are amazing in their work ethic and navigational skills.  Last summer, one worker bee delighted in hitching a ride on my shoulder when I mowed the lawn.  Never threatening, I concluded that this behavior allowed for scouting the property and a cataloging of the flowering plants. And the main expenditure of energy was mine!

Bee shipping containerPlum, apple, currant, pear, cherry and dandelions all in blossom. As spring blooms burst with color and aroma, our new bees haven’t skipped a day of work.  Their admirable industry has spurred me to create new flower beds, adding flower varieties to their dining options. I am looking forward to a bumper crop of fruits and veggies come summer and fall. And, of course, honey!

Thanks to Charles, our Bee Keeper, for patiently answering all my questions as I continue to learn about these fascinating insects. 

We request guests view the hives from a distance.  Our hives are enclosed by a live electric fence.  This discourages forest creatures from sampling the honey and disturbing the hives.

And guests who visit in the Autumn, ask about our honey harvest. 

Thanks for checking in!

From the east bank of the Upper Pecos,

Kimberly

Tales from Pecos River Cabins Cottonwoods Spring 2020

North Gate Cottonwoods resizeDo not speak to me of Cottonwoods in Spring.  Plentiful on the property, beloved for shade and habitat.  This time of year they create extra work and nuisance.  First come the swelling leaf buds encased in a sticky, sharp-ended, hard casing.  As the leaves swell this casing pops and falls to the ground, where it sticks to decks, the patio furniture, on windshields, on the cat.  In short, everywhere.  This is followed by the “snows of May and June”.  The flowering phase during which catkin-like flowers produce tiny, red blooms resulting in masses of seeds with a cottony cover.  The cotton floats and flies in the breeze, often falling so rapidly it looks like snow and adheres annoyingly well on window screens.

Tree Work Sign resizeTwo Cottonwoods, Grand Dames, stood sentinel at the north gate for a century. Age, lightning, traffic, drought, all took their toll.  Twisted, leaning with age, cracking and randomly dropping huge limbs, gravity was winning this contest.  The question became whether they were coming down on my terms or theirs. 

The day these trees witnessed their last dawn, a large number of birds perched on their branches singing to the world their displeasure at this impending loss. I shared their despair, as I shall never see, in my lifetime, replacement trees reach this size and grandeur. 

Brought safely to earth by “masters of their craft” crane operator and tree crew, the wood from these two giants shall warm us multiple times as we sort, haul, buck, split, and stack the wood. Next winter and the one to follow, the wood stove shall merrily blaze as the cottonwood releases a century of memories and witness.

For now, the north entrance feels oddly exposed, the displeasure of the birds felt still, the final chapter for these grand old trees my decision.

So do not speak to me of cottonwoods this Spring, for my heart is heavy with goodbye. 

Advice from a Tree—Georgia Green
Stand tall and proud
Go out on a limb
Remember your roots
Drink plenty of water
Be content with your natural beauty
Be still enough to hear your own leaves rustle
Enjoy the view

North Gate Cottonwood Crane resize

Thanks for checking in!
From the east bank of the Upper Pecos,
Kimberly

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