It’s been a near impossible thing for me to be regular on this blog! I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately. Seeing as my last post was months ago and the one before that, quite some time as well. As sporadic as I am with it though I can’t bare to give it up. I keep it, and look at it, and tell myself I should be writing on it. But what to write?
I don’t always have the time to photo document a recipe or craft I’ve been working on, and recently trips away have been few and far between. I guess I’ve made an idea of what I wanted this little project to be and, like most things in my life…, it is morphing into it’s own. Do I fight it? Do I try harder to make this the “inspirational, tutorial, lifestyle” blog that I dreamed up a couple years ago? Or do I use it as a place to put things? Stories and photos that may not be as polished as I’d like but are stories all the same. Things I’ve experienced, tried, failed, succeeded at. Things I’m thinking about. Things that you may be interested in experiencing, trying, failing and succeeding at? Things you might be thinking about? I can gain comfort finding out there’s someone out there pondering the same things as me and find myself baffled (and somewhat irritated) when I can’t find the stories I’m searching for. The world is so big! There should be a story for everything out there!
So I’m not going to fight. I’ll let this morph. I’m not going to restrict myself to tutorials with paired photos. I’m not going to set an expectation. I’m not sure where this will take me but I can assure you it will fit the title “breezy did what now”. I’m going to share what I “did” with you. Take it for information. Or just something to read. Take it however you please.
This winter here in the lower main land of beautiful British Columbia was the worst that I can recall. Cold and snow for far longer then average. Most years I have been out on the motorcycle in January. I haven’t rode since September. Now I know! I know! Can we really complain? We have had a small taste of what the rest of the country calls winter. As the digits recently started to creep into the doubles, the east coast was buried in a blizzard. I get it. But I’m not cut out for it. I need the sunshine and the greenery. I need to be able to go about my business. Comfortably. In a rain jacket.
It wasn’t all bad. The old beast thoroughly enjoyed the dumping of snow. Patrolling the yard in the paths Curtis made for him. He was comfortable and frisky and it was nice to watch. The pond near by also froze over so we were able to explore it, shuffling along, steering clear of the hockey players who’d got a game going. I do admit for a while there it really felt “Canadian”. But it got old. And in a hurry.
On one of those cold December nights I decided to hunker down and deal with the mason bee cocoons. December is getting late but I had put it off and put it off. Finding all the reasons not to go out into the cold shop. The cocoons need to be kept cold as the increase in temperature is what tells them to hatch. They are finished their development and are just snoozing until spring. So with that said, bringing them into the house to deal with was not acceptable.
My co-worker, who got me onto the mason bee thing, gave me some of his cocoons to help bulk up my numbers for this year. I had read to use cold water diluted with a bit of bleach to clean them. With Curtis helping, we pulled out the tubes and unrolled them. It was interesting to see all the little compartments with the little cocoons inside! Some were empty. And there was a lot of pollen! And some red powder too, which I have read to be mites. So I plopped them into the bleach water and gently began to rub them. But the crud wasn’t coming off!
As I’ve said before Curtis is far better at the delicate, tedious things then I and thankfully he was there to help. Working on each little cocoon, getting the tough, stuck on stuff off after I had rubbed them in the water. I have not read of it being difficult to clean the cocoons and my co-worker gave me a funny look when I told him that. But it was not simple. I will tell you that. Maybe it’s environmental? Maybe we have super bees?Who knows. My cocoons were somewhat smaller then the ones I had given to me so maybe they are something else.
We cut some open that appeared to be dead ones just to see what was inside. There were weird little white bugs in some (parasitic wasps maybe?) Some were empty. But we left the good looking ones alone for fear of cutting open a healthy one. And they’ve been resting in a plastic container, with paper towel, in the shop since.
Last weekend we had a rather nice spring day so I decided to stop thinking about dealing with the house and actually deal with it. I used long cotton swabs to wipe inside the holes and blasted them with compressed air. Then I cut a bunch of parchment paper strips and rolled them up around a pencil, inserted them in the holes and that was that. Well it was a little more time consuming then I made it sound just there but when your just sitting outside visiting friends anyways you might as well be busy right?
Friday rolls around and I have all the patio furniture off the deck, giving it a good scrub, when Curtis mentions the bees. “Yeah, tomorrow” I say. The weather was suppose to be decent so I planned to get them out then. ” Well I’m going to go look at them.” he states. Well I’m glad he did! He opened up the box and there was a little bee crawling around inside! With a mad scramble we got a hole cut in the side of the box and the house set out on the deck. The little guys are a bit dopey when they first crawl out so I offered my hand and watched with excitement and wonder as they crawled onto my finger and gathered their strength before flying away.
The hatching bees are the ones given to me from my co-worker. I still wondered why my cocoons looked so different then his. So Curtis cut one open and another one. Inside were little white pupae. What? I hit the internet and still don’t have an answer. From what I could gather they look exactly like the pupae stage of the mason bee life cycle but at way too late in the game. If anyone has experience with mason bees out there and can explain to me what is going on I would love to know! I thought maybe they died and never continued development but Curtis feels confident they’re still alive. We’re keeping them in the shop to see what happens. I’ll let you know. For now I will enjoy the ones that are emerging and keep my eyes open to see when the house starts to fill!
It’s good to be back! I have more things to share as I have kept busy stuck in the house this winter. After failed attempts I finally got my sourdough starter active and I haven’t looked back since. There are so many delicious things to be made with sourdough and the health benefits may surprise you! But that’s a story for another day. x