Sunday, June 7, 2015

Homestead Happiness, June Week 1

Summer is really kickin' into gear around here, and although the spring was a struggle for garden prep and pollinators, there's some good news from the Lab on both fronts this week.

Our wildflowers (Erysimum, Wallflowers) from a few weeks ago were joined in bloom by some feral roses this week.

We haven't seen many bees on either of those, but the wallflowers are being worked by some hover flies.  We think this specimen is Eristalis arbustorum.

Meanwhile, the hawthorn a few feet away has its own ecosystem of insects pollinating it.  Another hover fly (probably a Drone fly), a blue bottle fly, some small feral bee (or small feral bee-imitating hover fly) we couldn't identify, and the honey bees we were hoping to see there.  There were at least two other species that we couldn't get good photos of.  But, in trying to identify these bugs, we learned that the larval stage of many hover flies (although not of these two) eat aphids, and some eat scale and other garden pests.  So, stick around, hover flies, we'll need you soon! (...and feel free to check out the scale on our Meyer lemon tree; we set it by the driveway for you.)

In the garden, our squash have sprouted!

The kale is also up, although it would have been nice to get this in the ground several weeks ago.

Meanwhile, our tomato plants seem to have largely survived (so far) the bi-daily hail storms we've been getting.  We did have to replace a couple pepper plants in what we're referring to as a 'jalapeno emergency.'

Strawberry season is so close we can taste it.

We also got a double-yolked egg from our Red Star hen that broke the 4-oz barrier.  We think there should be an additional category for eggs this large.

What made you happy this week?