Be a Friend to Bees

Apis mellifera (European honeybee)

Image via Wikipedia

This from the friendly folks at GloryBee Foods.

If you’ve never checked out their web site – please, do. They’re great folks. We’ve had great results every time we’ve ordered anything from them.

Be a Friend to Bees by Cultivating These Plants

As winter ends and warmer weather begins, bees will emerge from their hives and begin to forage again. You can help add to their options by including these nectar and pollen-producing plants in your garden or back yard—bees love them! Also remember that pesticides and herbicides in the garden can be harmful to bees! Herbicides contaminate bee’s water sources and pesticides can be fatal. So if you must spray, please take care to spray well away from the bee’s food and water sources.

  • Oregon Grape
  • Bee Balm
  • Fireweed
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries
  • White Clover
  • Lavender
  • Sage
  • Mint
  • Deciduous Fruit Trees
  • Cabbage
  • Dill
  • Dandelions

Each year we make a point to companion plant pollinator-friendly items throughout the entire garden. It really does make a difference.

I’ve read up quite a lot on sage over the past year – I’ve stockpiled quite a little collection of seed, and I’m hoping that it will not only attract pollinators – but also discourage the deer from coming through and decimating my garden!

Here’s hoping!

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Getting Ready for Winter

This is a very pretty flower I picked up at Home Depot in late Spring. I wanted it in the vegetable garden because I felt it would attract pollinators. It did. It’s lovely. And, it’s pretty darn hardy. Today I transplanted it out of the garden – which hopefully will get tilled tomorrow – and into planters on the front porch. Here’s the info about this flower – Sunny Day Tickseed – a type of coreopsis. But you wanna know what bugs me about this plant? This little blurb on the plant identifier tag: “Protected by US Patent Laws and/or Canadian Plant Breeder’s Rights. Illegal propagation is prohibited.” Okay – how stupid is that?! I’m sure someone somewhere thinks it’s a good thing to have intellectual property rights to the propagation of this plant – but one has to wonder… what if it accidentally is propagated naturally? Will I be prosecuted? Ugh!

I hope this pictures comes out okay… In the background – see that truly BIG pile of leaves? The boys worked hard today to amass it. They’re planning on building a fort from the raked up leaves. Ummm… today was one of those rare REALLY blustery days here in Oregon. Supposed to be tomorrow, too… This Mom can’t help but wonder if this plan may somehow be, well, difficult to execute fully. 🙂

ALL of the animals are loving the leaves. Pepper likes to roll in them. Jake and Caleb like to curl up in them. The chickens like to scratch through them… And soon, I hope, they will be moved to my compost heap – helping to make wonderful compost for my garden one of these days!


Today John worked hard to finish up pulling up all of the remnants of the garden. The chickens LOVED following behind and scratching through everything.


Wow – it’s that time of year ago – time to start strategizing what next year’s garden will be.

It’s wild how strange it is that we’ve come full circle. No more green beans… This will be my garlic patch – and soon! Thanks to Danni‘s and Melinda‘s examples and excellent information – I will FINALLY – after years of feeling completely inadequate and definitely not smart enough to attempt it – plant my first garlic patch. Woo Hoo! I’ll be sure to report later!

And here is my piled-high compost heap. The girls are investingating – trying to determine if there’s anything worth finding in there.

And here is my new composter. Kinda wild, huh? It’s called Earthmaker – it’s an Aerobic Composter. It involves a three step process – it has three different compartments – see?

Interesting, huh? I like it thus far, and will be sure to give updates as to how effective it is – or is not!

It occurred to me today – Hey! I should harvest the seed from my basil! Why have I never thought of that before? So, I went out with my scissors and a saran wrapped basket (so anything that escapes a seed pod will not be lost between the slats of the basket), and went to work. Here’s a peek. I’ll probably get around to coaxing the seed out of the pods tomorrow – I’ll be sure to report back! But here’s a great resource I found online about harvesting basil seed.

So – it’s true… it’s full force fall with winter on the way. I find it nearly impossible to believe it’s only a week until November. But I think I’m ready for it now. I think the fact that it hasn’t been horribly soggy has helped. I may even be ready for the rain. We’ll see!

Our Garden continues to grow…

You get busy with stuff and you turn around and bam! they go and grow up on you! Green beans of course! Can you believe how much they’ve poofed? And there are flowers forming all over the place! Woo Hoo!

Yay! An actual zucchini!

There will be squash for dinner tomorrow night! It is a little unfair, I’m afraid. Jess, my daughter, is away for the week – she’s my squash co-dependent, but in her absence I promise to do my very best to savor every succulent bite! 🙂

I hope this picture shows up okay… It’s a picture of a bumble bee – mid-flight – approaching a German Giant tomato blossom. He was so beautiful – I hoped to get maybe a snatch of a little glimpse of him in a photo – but wow – full-sized it’s quite the photo!

We’ve got a tomato explosion going on! There are green tomatoes everywhere! And they’re beautiful. I’ve got lots of plans for these babies!

Aren’t these the prettiest little pear tomatoes you ever did see?

This is a German Giant heirloom tomato – it’s the most unusual looking little start of a tomato – almost flat. With a name like German Giant you gotta wonder what kinda size this little fella is gonna develop into!You should smell the basil. It’s heavenly. I’m hoping to start making pesto in the next week. I make it up, put it in little freezer-friendly 1-cup containers, and then throw it in the freezer for use throughout the year. Even if I do say so myself, it’s wonderful. What a wonderful thing to thaw it out and be returned to the amazing smell of fresh basil in summer!
The cucumbers are getting bigger!

And John got the next bunch of green beans in. This side is a runner bean called Scarlet – I think they’ll be a great addition to our garden. I honestly can’t remember the name of the beans he planted on the other side, but I promise to try and investigate and report soon!

Here’s a better view of the trellis system that John built a couple of years ago. We’ve used them for cucumbers and peas in the past. It will be interesting to see how it works out for green beans!

They say it’ll rain tomorrow. Today is 22 days without rain. I’m ready for a little rain. It only makes sense, of course, I thorughly watered the garden today! 🙂

Cucumbers!

Do you see that? just above the flower (and the pink construction tape that I use to tie plants with) – the little itty bitty cucumber?

Woo Hoo!

I admit it – I was worried. There are green tomatoes galore, even some peppers present, squash coming on like gangbusters – but no signs of cucumbers! I worried there weren’t enough pollinators. I worried that the ones that we’d seen weren’t getting their job done.

Okay – I admit it – I worried it would be another dismal result with our attempt to grow cucumbers. I thought, “Great – I’ve gotten cocky, now they’re gonna show me how much I don’t know!”


But – sigh of relief – the pollinators are doing their jobs… See? There’s a lovely bumble bee about his business – bless his little heart!

I honestly believe that the sight of a yellow crookneck squash plant in serious bloom is one of the loveliest sights there is… feast your eyes…


Hard to believe summer is halfway over. The kids go back to school in six short weeks. It feels like the summer isn’t just passing – but evaporating!
We are on serious egg watch here. Henrietta, Hallie, and Millie are now 18 weeks old – RIR’s typically start laying somewhere in the 18 to 22 week mark. So we’re keeping them in the coop/run area for the majority of the day, only letting them out to free range in the late afternoons – in hopes that when the day comes that they decide to join the ranks of laying chickens that they’ll decide to do so IN the nest boxes! Updates to come, of course!

Wanna see what I found today?

Is that not just one of the most beautiful things you’ve seen of late? Of course it’s only *pretending* to be ripe just yet – but it’s almost there. My mouth is watering in anticipation!

Know what makes it even better? It’s not alone! There are berries nearly as far as the eye can see… just waiting to be kissed by the sun and consumed by me!

Isn’t this just the cutest little banana pepper you’ve ever seen?!

There are more baby squash each day – it won’t be long until I can’t take the wait any longer and I’ll break down and cut a whole bunch of them and race them right into the kitchen to sautee them up.
Do you see that wonderful little pollinator on the right? There are MANY in the garden. It’s so encouraging to see them. We’ve heard so many bad reports about the conditions of bee colonies in the area. I counted perhaps six different types of bees today – not to mention butterflies, and a hummingbird.
Thistles are such a pain! But oh, so lovely! Had to snap a picture of this one before John dug it up.

For the first time since we’ve lived here a little bunch of Queen Anne’s Lace has come up – it has the most delicate blush of pale pink to it. Lovely!

…and the hydrangea is a beautiful blue.

Jake – playing hide and go seek amongst the squash!

And… I still hate weeding, but thanks to Madelyn I’ve found my very favorite weeding tool! Meet Grampa’s Weeder and some other really cool tools at Grampa’s Gardenware.

Yes, still lots of weeds to eliminate from my garden – but I’m making progress, slowly and steadily!