I was supposed to be canning pickles (both dill and my sweet gherkins), plus I had apple sauce that was hot and waiting for the canner to heat up. But before I got started packing the pint jars, I thought I would run out to the garden once more to look through the cucumber vines and see if I missed any. I had. So I picked them, and noticed that there were some tomatoes that also needed to be picked. I needed a basket for that, so I started back to the house to get it.
As I scurried past the pond, I noticed that the apple mint was in full bloom. It is taking full advantage of the lapse in memory I had a few weeks ago when I started the water running into the pond to fill it up, went inside and promptly forgot all about it. In the morning as I was waiting for my teapot to fill so I could make coffee, I thought idly to myself, “Gosh, the water pressure sure doesn’t seem to be as high as usual … OH SHOOT (expurgated for the blog)!!! Whereupon I crashed out of the house, scaring the dog away from her breakfast, ran out to the garden to turn the spigot off and observed that the pond was approximately 5 inches over flood stage. Further investigation showed that the water had flowed all the way down to the Petite Prairie, watering the day lily bed quite throughly. The drain pipe at the other side of the vineyard was also trying to deal with the overflow. I still have a green circle down there, where everything else is sere and brown.
But I digress. The apple mint was blooming furiously, having been so well watered previously. I just deviated from my course a bit to see if perhaps my honey bees were availing themselves of the pollen source. They were.
The honeybees had lots of company out there. I forgot all about pickles and apple sauce and went to get my camera. I spent quite a while out there, standing quietly just inside the border of the mint patch. When I first arrived with my camera, everyone got very excited and nervous about the big thing that had just disturbed the feeding frenzy. But as I stood quietly, things settled down. Here is a group of four different sorts of wasps, all intent on their food source.
The variety of pollinators present was impressive.
There were yellow jackets, of course.
Several different types of wasps were in attendance.
That big black wasp was at the large end of the size spectrum. But there were teensy wasps too.
Some of the wasps were overcome with optimism for the future by the large quantity of food available. The sudden onset of a good energy source put them in the mood, I guess.
The female went about the business of flying and eating as if the male wasn’t even present.
There were also several female bumblebees at the buffet.
A tachnid fly — one of several different varieties flitting about.
Butterflies –a buckeye and a little blue. The little blue has a mud dauber wasp sharing the frame with her.
I saw a beautiful bright green sweat bee, but it didn’t stick around long enough to get photographed. You can see what it looked like here.
There was an interesting beetle.
I’m not positive, but that may be an assassin bug, which means it isn’t strictly a pollinator, but more a pollinator eater. They wait in flowers for the pollinators to come along, grab them and then suck the juices out of them.
Here’s another predator. Probably not big enough to be a danger to anyone other than that tiny wasp above, or possibly a gnat or aphid.
That’s my finger holding the flower apart because the little crab spider wasn’t anxious to be photographed and kept hiding from me. No escape from the paparazzi, I’m afraid.
There were a couple of dragonflies around too. This is a rather small red one.
Just a few feet away is the pond, and this big blue dragonfly was hovering around there.
It was heartening to see all that life burgeoning in the yard, since it has been scorchingly hot for three weeks. I mean really hot, too. The temperatures have been over 100°F every day for three weeks, only cooling off into the low 80s at night. (That would be 38° C for all the rest of the world.) This heat has been accompanied by a complete absence of rain of any measurable amount. We had a respite today, a line of storms came across the plains. We got about 1mm of moisture out of that, enough to settle the dust (barely) and raise the humidity to about 90%. Ergh.
This is what the garden along the back of the house looks like. All those burned hostas are not dead, they are just conserving their energy and protecting their roots. Still, it is a little depressing. The Hosta Dell exhibits similar damage.
Please notice the lawn to the right of the path. Our whole place looks just like that except around the landscape shrubs and trees, which we have been pampering with regular water. This also encourages the grass, which gives the rabbits something other to eat than the fruit tree bark. The rabbits out browsing gives the owls something to eat.
There is a note of hope in the middle of all that devastation. The naked ladies have made their appearance. I just love them, their combination of hardiness and delicacy is inspirational.
The pickles have been put through the canner and are cooling on the counter. They are accompanied by 6 pints of apple sauce.
Now I believe I’ll get that basket and go out and investigate the tomato situation.