Does anyone know what this might be? Our friend suggested Crabapple but if it is, then it is of a very small variety compared to the typical bloom. All we know is that it is abundant out at Comanche Creek and our bees seem to LOVE it. They were all over it when I went with Mark last Friday – which, by the way, was one of my best days off ever! Even though it now seems long ago, it still makes me happy to think I got to kick off a 3-day weekend hanging out with my most awesome beekeeping husband! It was a beautiful day here – cool enough to sit out back with a customer for a bit while we waited for Mark to bring back a few nucs for pick-up. I packed a lunch and we headed to Comanche Creek after that. I always enjoy riding around with Mark because you never know what we’ll see or who we get to meet! There’s always an adventure out there if you just are open to it. I love being with him.
Anyway, enough of the mushy stuff, I’m sure you’re thinking. Okay so today Mark went out to CC again to feed the bees. He wants them really nice and strong as can be before the Huajilla blooms in earnest. And they send pictures home of a big ole rattlesnake. Another one in our life is not my idea of nice. One in the back yard is still worrisome (along with a den we still need to deal with eventually) but the one they saw was as big as a man’s forearm. Too big for me. They heard him when they were opening the third gate to get to the bee yards on the ranch. 😦 Very worrisome that we are going to continue to run into more of them. And to think all these years we’ve gone without seeing any. And now two within two weeks. Eeeks. Snake boots and a gun. Mandatory gear for a while I think. Mark told me when we recapped our day that there might be a market for these rattlers if he and Stan catch them. WHAT?? I hope he’s kidding.
Guess what – it’s finally coming down hard here at the Bee Ranch! How exciting! I won’t have to water yet, which is always nice but even nicer is that it will be a great boost for our bees. Yay rain! You wouldn’t believe how often we all check the forecasts and radars. lol
Let’s see what else is going on – bee checks and feedings, that’s what. We moved several more hives out to CC so it’s proving to be one of our larger yards. Still amazing to us to be on a ranch that big and have two separate yards in which to place the bees. Still more amazing is that every time we go out there, we get to see amazing beauty. We feel so incredibly blessed when we experience that!
I have so many things I want to show you from out there. Here’s CC #2 yard, named #2 only because we scouted the location second during our very first visit.
They were flying like crazy out there. The hum of the bees was amazing. I’m glad I was fully suited as a couple of girls got irritable since it turned cloudy and a bit breezy. And if you missed it on Facebook, here’s a video I captured while at CC #1. Be sure to watch the HD version so it’s a better picture. I shoot it in HD but the default setting for YouTube viewing is less than that so you have to manually choose it. If there’s a way to change that default, you can tell me. 🙂
While at CC #1, I also saw beautiful Bluebonnets that I just had to shoot.
I saw a few bees in there and I captured a couple of shots though none good enough to share in my opinion. Their buzzing, however, did lead me to find them not on the flowers, but on the ground taking in water at the end of the tank. Funny little girls. They need lots of water so we are happy the tanks levels are still up at this time. The tank is just down the hill from the yard location so it’s perfect for the bees.
Here’s another shot I really liked – check out her pollen basket! So cool. At this point, dressed in my full suit on top of my jeans, boots and so on, I was level with the entrance and could enjoy watching them coming and going for quite some time. It was nice to feel secure in my suit and not be a bother to them. They are just so fascinating to watch. Sometimes they tumble a bit when they land, which is hilarious. I also saw at another hive that there were several bee fights going on as they rob from each other sometimes when we feed them. Silly girls, they sure cracked me up jumping on each other and rolling right off the landing of then entrance.
Okay, one more. I told Mark I noticed the gigantic red ants were nearby and I tracked their huge home up at the top of the hill. It was huge. And they do bite and it does sting and I do swell a bit. FYI – don’t think they are harmless. Anyway, he later called to me and showed me a hilarious sight – here’s why we don’t mind the ants in bee yards.
That little ant just chugged along with his hive beetle larvae. He had a long way to go up that hill but I watched him and snapped his progress. It was so interesting! He moved faster than you’d think. And then I saw this other ant headed the same way; really, you cannot help but see them because they are HUGE. Anyway, the second ant had half a bee (our bee!) and was headed home. For some reason, this just really fascinated me. It was like a race and the hive beetle ant was beating the bee ant by a long shot. It was fun to watch them and this was all just a fraction of the fun I had that day at Comanche Creek with Mark. 🙂 I am a lucky, happy girl.
If you would like to see more pictures of our Comanche Creek bee yards, you can swing over to our Flickr photo set and enjoy. 🙂