Monday, May 19, 2014

The Birds and The Bees

A couple of weeks ago, I set out two hummingbird feeders and we have been enjoying watching the hummers ever since. There are several varieties that visit our feeders, all of them tiny and so pretty! One thing we've notice about hummers is that they do NOT like to share! They are quite aggressive and if another hummer tries to sip from a feeder, the first bird will buzz back and forth and dive at the intruder. I keep telling them to chill out - there are two feeders, and I promise to refill them!

Resting Hummer
(Too bad I don't have Photo Shop to remove the old car from the background...)

In other bird news, our one-legged duck, Foxtrot, had a little trouble last week. She has been laying eggs all spring, and even began a nest in the barn at one point. We did hope that she would sit on that nest, because that would have allowed her to rest and would have ensured she would stop laying eggs the rest of the season. But she only sat on the eggs for one night, and resumed egg laying after a brief respite. I've been keeping a close eye on her "under carriage". So far, so good...and then last Thursday, she prolapsed (her ovaries fell outside of her body). Some Postman and I are old pros at fixing a prolapsed duck because Foxtrot has had this problem the past two years. I hold the duck upside down while SP packs her guts back inside. There's some cleaning, smearing of honey, jiggling, averting the eyes so as not to gag, and a big ol' glob of Preparation H involved. It took two such administrations, but Foxtrot Duck is now all repaired and feeling better. She is rather perturbed that she must spend the rest of the summer in the isolation pen, however. It is for her own good, although it makes me sad to do it. The only way to keep her from prolapsing again is to prevent egg laying, and the only way to do that is to restrict her feed. If she is free to roam the yard, she'll eat enough bugs and such to lay an egg every day. Keeping her in a small pen limits how much she can eat, thus not allowing enough calories for egg production.

Poor Isolated Foxtrot
Her duckie friends Jitterbug, Boogie & Woogie are chatting with her. Samba is off on her own somewhere.
About the same time I put out the hummingbird feeders, I came home from a meeting at church one evening, ready to crash into bed...but Some Postman insisted upon dragging me outside to show me this:

A Swarm of BEES!!!!

From the top - it was a good sized swarm!
We've lived here on the "farm" for almost 18 years, and this is the first time we've had a swarm of bees come visit us! Luckily, we have a good friend who is a beekeeper, and she came the next morning to hive the bees. What a fascinating thing to watch!

As she swept the bees out of the tree, they would fall into the hive, not unlike a giant drop of honey!
I did use my camera's zoom feature a little bit, but for the most part, I was right there up close and personal with the bees. No, I was not wearing a suit like my friend's, either! The weather was quite cool that morning, so the bees were sluggish and docile. They were not interested in stinging us. And, I like to think that they were being nice to me out of kinship. After all, my name, Melissa, means Honey Bee!

The bees took to their new home right away, which means that my friend was successful in sweeping the Queen Bee into the hive. She left the hive under our peach tree so that the remaining bees could find their way in, and that is where they have stayed until today. She came over this morning to pack up the hive and transport it to its permanent home at her place in the country north of here. Farewell, bees! It was a pleasure having you visit and I hope you make lots of wonderful honey in your new home.

All this fun with birds and bees inspired me to put together an outfit featuring the same, and I wore it last week. Check back tomorrow to see it!

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