I've moved!

I've moved!

Thanks for stopping by, but it appears you are using a (very) old address for my blog. I've moved to a Wordpress site and you'll need to update your bookmarks for Bees on the Knob

I've moved!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


It's nearly the end of the harvest season and the last of the muscadines have now been picked. The only fruit that remain are apples, crabapples and a few stray figs (that will continue until frost).

Unlike European grapes, muscadines must be picked one at a time, rather than in clusters, and the stem separates from the fruit, which reduces shelf life somewhat. One bit, however, and you'll wonder why you waste your money on those flavorless marbles they call grapes at the grocery store. Just as with tomatoes, there is simply no comparison to a vine ripened fruit and the easy to ship, but green and bland varieties you find in the store.

With other nectar sources nearly non-existent due to the lack of rain, however, you have to be doubly careful as you reach into the leaves and grab the ripe ones - some had small holes drilled in and were occupied by honeybees or a small bumblebee (and sometimes both) and have been covered in yellow jackets in some years. Although easy to dislodge by shaking, accidentally grabbing one of these valuable pollinators will invariably mean a nasty sting.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Rain or the lack thereof!

We've been back from South Dakota for a two weeks and the list of chores to finish before winter seems to be getting longer and longer. We've still got trees down in the yard that we are working on sawing up (in summer, the 90+ temps and 90+ humidity means the trees are ignored until fall). At least the brush is disposed of and the smaller limbs piled up now; still the main trunk on two large trees will need to be sawn into lengths and then split before stacking to use next winter. This winter's firewood was split last February and has been drying all summer. We trimmed up runaway seedlings on one slope last weekend (more sun from the missing trees and everything in the world sprouted); still have half the yard to do, though, before the leaves fall and we can't tell keeper trees from the rogues.

The garden is mostly dried up - but rains started today, which means it's time to plant winter greens. And if we had time to work on it (will have to can, as the freezers are stuffed), apples and crabapples are ripe now and black walnuts have started dropping and should be picked up. The muscadines are still ripe (pick-your-own places sell them at 1.50 a lb, so I feel guilty if we don't grab them all) and there are even a few figs (and the rain will help, although they'll all be gone with the first frost).

As long at it was raining, though, all those outdoor chores will have to wait. Instead, I spent a couple of hours cleaning up the seed catalog folder (more than one, in truth). First, duplicates and old versions were purged (although I kept a few old rose and daylily catalogs; I cut out pictures for our paper scrapbook of varieties that are growing). It seems several companies haven't sent catalogs for several years now - the next chore is to track them down and determine if they are even still in business (quite a few went under several years ago). Once the survivors have been identified, I'll need to start requesting new catalogs - prices and varieties change even year to year and most 5 year old catalogs are good for little other than finding a web site.

Update: We ended up getting over 2 inches of rain before it stopped, all of it a steady, gently rain that soaked in rather than ran off. But it hardly makes a dent in the deficit of rainfall in this on-going, multi-year drought. With the fire season just starting in TN, already several counties have full bans on all outdoor burning and the leaves haven't really started dropping yet.