What Carrots Are to Bees


For bees, carrots are vast expanses of white flowers. Entire fields of flowers thrust high into the sky just for them. Bees must dream of when carrots bloom. One carrot flower stalk can feed a bee for days. How many trips would it take for a bee to gather all the pollen from one carrot flower stalk?


When I was taking the photo, I didn’t see the spider waiting in the carrot flowers. It wasn’t until I was making this post that I noticed it. For a spider, a carrot flower stalk must be a perfect lure. All day long, insects come flying in for the spider to snare.

Summer Eventide


Summer eventide mellows the hues and softens the edges. The last of the summer sun’s rays filter through the trees, scattering the light. The chickens have all gone to roost. It’s a peaceful time to stroll around the pond … peaceful except for the red-winged black bird which sound their loud, buzzy alarms. They nest in the cattails at the edge of the pond. Year after year they come back to raise their young. In some places they form flocks of a million birds or more. Thankfully, not here. They may be the most abundant bird in North America with 250 million birds in peak years.

Red-winged blackbirds live up to 15 years, so many of them nesting at the pond see us walk by every day, year after year. Never once have they ever seen us attack them or go after their nests, and yet, each time we walk by they sound the alert, buzzing about and letting all the birds know danger is at hand.

Perhaps I should be offended, but I’m not. Their buzzing alarm cries are like music, and their songs throughout the day are so enjoyable. There’s no need to wear headphones to listen to music when you’re surrounded by nature. Nature is constantly singing.


Another Good Day


A day that starts with dogs sleeping is a good day. Takuma 拓真 and Ena 枝那 are napping after hunting rabbits for several hours at the crack of dawn. While we snoozed, they were on the prowl.


A day with tomatillo flowers is a good day. Tomatillos are worth growing for their unusual blooms.


A day when a mother hen and her chick check to see what you are doing in the hoop house is a good day. They are hoping I’ll do something that will stir up some worms.


Pulling weeds out by their roots and turning them over makes a good day for Molly and her chicks.


A day with daisies is a good day. The first of the daisies are opening, which means July is around the corner. If you have enough flowers, you can get rid of your calendars. The flowers will tell you what month it is.

Pleasant Dreams


Just one of her chicks roosts with Molly at night. The rest of the chicks roost on their own, though during the day, they run around with their mother. Even from a tender age, their personalities come through.


On a midsummer evening, the chickens are out late, gorging on sunflower seeds. With sunshine, good food, good friends, they should have pleasant dreams tonight. I read an interesting article that maybe even bees dream. That’s a nice image, a hive full of bees dreaming about all the flowers they visited that day.

Intentional? Coincidental?


Raise chickens and from time to time they surprise you. Today I discovered that one of the chickens had deposited a dropping perfectly on a fallen leave. Did she do this intentionally? What are the chances of a chicken dropping landing perfectly in the middle of a leaf? If she did it intentionally, what is the message? Was it just for art’s sake, or to make it easier to clean up?

If you don’t like pausing to think, seeing wondrous things, or being surprised, don’t raise chickens.

Green and White Babies


The shallots are blooming, sending up tall stalks full of green and white babies. Nearly three hundred miniature flowers give you plenty of time to ponder, he loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, he loves me not, he loves me …


A Bee’s Dance


Poppies are a fun flower. I didn’t realize until today that they are a fun flower for bees too. I watched bees gathering pollen from the poppies, and the flowers are designed so that bees get a fun ride, dancing in a circle through the many anthers. With so many anthers in each flower, it doesn’t take long for a bee to gather so much pollen in its pollen baskets on its legs, that the legs become too heavy to lift.


The bees seemed to be having so much fun gathering pollen in the poppies, it makes you wonder if they look forward to the poppies opening. In comparison, tulips and lilies must be boring to bees. Those flowers are in and out, in and out, boring as can be.

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My Little Dinosaur


This six week old rooster has taken to roosting on top of a screen door in the chicken coop. He sure has that dinosaur look with his big eyes, strong beak, claws, and scrawny feathers. Maybe one day he’ll be a proud father.


According to Vanderbilt University neuroscientist Suzana Herculano-ouzel, certain bird brains are much more densely packed with neurons than mammal brains. For example, a walnut sized macaw brain has more neurons in its forebrain than a macaque monkey with a much larger, lemon sized brain. Which may mean that ounce per ounce, birds are much smarter than mammals.

However this high density of neurons is true of songbirds and parrots, not of all birds. Emu, pigeons, and junglefowl, the ancestors of chickens, don’t have a high density of neurons in their forebrains.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tP-ZZBJPC8c&w=560&h=315]

You can read the study here: Birds have primate-like numbers of neurons in the forebrain

On a Rainy Day


On a rainy day, the young chicks take a break out of the rain.


On a rainy day, the foxgloves are lush.


On a rainy day, the dogs play king of the hill.


On a rainy day, the white flower beans 白花豆 bloom.


On a rainy day, new garlic is best. I’ve always wondered what to call fresh garlic, before the skins turn to paper, while the cloves are still moist and juicy. It’s how garlic is meant to be eaten. You never see it in the stores. Garlic is usually dried before it is sold in stores. What a shame. I’ve heard the term “wet garlic” used to describe this garlic. I’ll call it virgin garlic … make that extra virgin garlic. Garlic that is plucked out of the moist earth, while the skins are still soft and supple. Extra virgin garlic peels easily and tastes sublime. The best produce never makes it to the box stores.

Delicate Perfection


Days in the Pacific Northwest don’t get any better than this. The hydrangeas are opening, their blue as brilliant as the sky. Their opening signifies that summer has arrived. So do the ripening thimble berries. Among the best of all berries, you have to grow them to enjoy them. They are too delicate to pick, pack, and ship to market. You have to eat them off the bush.


On a perfect day, there is sign of trouble in the garden. Takuma 拓真 has discovered potatoes. I don’t let chickens in the garden as they will dig up and ravish the potatoes. Will I have to banish the dogs from the garden too? I hope not. Gardening without dogs is like a day without chocolate.