Here in the Pacific Northwest, winter has been unusually mild. Flowers are pushing up through the earth and trees are blooming– a full month early!
I hope we don’t have a frost that will kill these flowers–or hurt our orchard mason bees.What are orchard mason bees, you ask? These amazing critters are used throughout the U.S., to pollinate fruit trees in orchards, as well as flowers and vegetables. They are gentle creatures (they avoid humans and don’t sting!), and are active for only a short time each spring. We buy them at our local hardware store. They come in a glass vial and can be stored in the refrigerator until the weather is warm enough to release them. (I wanted to show you the vial, but it got thrown away…)
Once a female works her magic, she lays eggs in a partitioned house, adds the pollen she has gathered, and seals each partition with mud. These bees aren’t able to bore into wood and make their homes, so we bought this little house at the same hardware store where we purchased the bees.
The female leaves the eggs to gestate and grow until the following spring, when as full-fledged bees, they break free and work their magic. This year, despite placing the bee house in a sheltered and relatively safe place, a predator of some kind ate all the eggs! We had to buy more.
With the sunny, warm weather we’ve been having, our orchard mason bees are already hard at work. I can hardly wait until the fruits of their labors bring us an abundant crop of veggies and fruits.
If only writing worked this way, with a big burst of work and creativity, and then a long period of seemingly nothing, while ideas hatched and grew into full-fledged, mature ideas. Instead, I’m hatching ideas all year-round, so many that I’ll never be able to turn them all into stories! Ah well, we writers to what we can…
Until next time,
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