Monday, April 08, 2019

November Hill farm journal, 73 (lichens, bees, pollen, rainfall)

It’s been a busy week here. I attended a workshop on lichens over the weekend, which is part of the native plant studies certificate program I’m enrolled in. It was a fun, energetic day of learning, with microscopes and many samples as well as a walk/search for lichens in the botanical garden. Of course I came home with new pollinators to plant: 3 great blue lobelia and 2 American hazelnuts.

The pollinator beds here are doing well. Everything is coming back, several things are already blooming, and the beds are weeded and mulched. I’m keeping a close eye on the things we planted in back in the fall. The big bluestem seems to be gone - perhaps deer nibbled it down to nothing. The inkberry hollies are looking sad to me - not as many leaves as it seems they should have, but the trees we planted are budding and the Virginia sweetspire doing well. The two little dogwoods we planted along the driveway may not have made it. So a mixed bag but we’ll figure it out and try again with the things that didn’t take root.

I’m coordinating getting VSH bee nucs from a small farm in western NC for a number of new beekeepers this spring. We’re not sure when they’ll come but I’m trying to get ready for them. I have a spot for one hive and need to decide where to put the second. Many beekeepers put their hives close to one another for ease of work but Tom Seeley (Cornell) found they prefer some distance and this also helps prevent the spread of drifting and thus parasites and disease. I’m excited and also nervous.

Today there were literal clouds of pollen aloft around trees between Raleigh and November Hill. The air was a yellow haze in the distance, cars coated, our porches and barn roof yellow, so much pollen in the air. Around 4:15 this afternoon I realized the storm that had been predicted for around 7 p.m. was here and when our power flickered off and on several times, I dashed out to the barn to get waters done and let the horses in and set them up for what was coming. Within minutes we had a deluge plus thunder and the sound of a million tree frogs who I suspect were very happy to get showers. Hours later, the rain is falling still and I’m sure everything is watered and pollen is washed clean at least for a day or two. We have the front door open to the lullaby of falling water and running water.

Tomorrow we have hoof trims and I have a list of desk things to do once I get back inside. The fence lines need weed-eating and buttercups should be mowed, the arena needs harrowing and there are all the projects lined up that will now be delayed by wet ground again, but how can I complain when the herd of five stood beneath their shelters and watched with me as the rain poured down? It was a relief for all of us to feel the air cool and see the pollen wash away. We’ll deal with the mud and the mess. For tonight it’s cool and the air breathes easy.


Grey Horse Matters said...

Sounds like you’ve been busy. There’s always so much to do when the weather changes to warm things up a bit. Glad the rain washed the pollen away. I’d rather have mud than everything covered in yellow dust. We seem to be warming up a bit and some hardy bulbs like tulips and daffodils are starting to sprout. It’s a nice change from freezing temps and snow.

billie said...

A, I think being physically busy is the remedy for being busy in my mind! :) We are definitely well into spring here now, and it’s good you’re starting to inch in that direction too. We actually had the AC on one day when son and daughter-in-law were home this past weekend! I think they were happy to enjoy some warm weather.