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Demons in K-12 | Main | Ace of Spades Pet Thread, April 20
April 20, 2024

Gardening, Puttering and Adventure Thread, April 20

Brugmansia 2 ni mar 1 24.jpg

Well, we have definitely seen some warm weather here now. The Lady Banks' roses have finally faded. But it is going to cool down again for a few days in the south-central San Joaquin. This is a change from recent drought years. How is the weather in your yard, garden and neighborhood?

We have some interesting stories and photos coming in from The Horde!

I love the Brugmansia photos from Neal in Israel.

Brugmansia 4 ni mar 1 24.jpg

Such a striking plant!


Sudden Excitement in the Garden


This could go in the garden thread, or maybe the pet thread, if I decide to try catching them and succeed in doing so.

This is my 3-year-old pear tree hosting a swarm of honeybees, who will probably be staying for at least another day as we are forecast to have lots of rain Saturday all day and into the night. I was out before sunset today giving the berry bushes and fruit trees some fertilizer in advance of tomorrow's watering, which is how I found these visitors.

Helena Handbasket

pear n bees.jpg

We had a swarm sort of like that in an apricot tree once, and The Mister moved it to a box without wearing gear, but he's used to being around bees, and can judge their moods. Not sure if I would advise you to move them yourself, or contact someone with experience. One trick is figuring out where the queen is.

Sometimes if you locate a box they find attractive near the tree where they are swarming, they will move themselves. That's fun to watch.

Let use know if you decide to keep the bees as pets.

p.s.: Watch the suckers at the base of your pear tree.


Edible Gardening/Putting Things By

Maple Syrup Report

Maple syrup season is over for another year. A two day cleanup has returned the buckets, collecting gear & boiling/bottling equipment to storage, ready for next year.

It was an atypical year, starting with tapping the trees 2 weeks earlier than normal, then a 10 day cold stretch in the middle which shut down sap flow, followed by a "second season". We ended up bottling 99 liters, a record for us. This year we had more sediment than normal in the bottom of the jars, despite boiling, filtering & bottling the same as we do every year. The sediment, which some call "maple sand", doesn't affect the taste & consists of dissolved minerals in the sap which precipitate out & fall to the bottom of the jars when the syrup cools after bottling. We get some every year, usually with the first batch or two, but this year it lasted all season.

One photo shows our crop for the year with the full crew: Mrs. PointyHairedBoss, myself & our 3 helpers, Maggie, Candi & Molly.

The other photo shows the typical colour change of the syrup from light to dark over the course of the season.


SyrupCrop 24.jpg

Colour 24 m.JPG

Fascinating to learn all these details. Maple syrup deserves our appreciation.

And we have a nice bonus prequel to the Pet Thread as well!



Hey KT, It is garlic scape season here. I promptly made them into garlic scape pesto, which I freeze and then use for pizzas, and pasta sauce, or even throw into some hummus. It is delicious, but you do end up with a very bad case of garlic breath. It is worth it though. WeeKreekFarmGirl

garlicc scapes.jpeg

pestoo garlic.jpeg

WeeKreekFarmGirl somes up with lots of interesting uses for her crops. Here are some other things that have been going on in her garden.

The first picture is Garden Huckleberry that I started from seeds. It was pretty easy to start and seems to like where I have it. They are perennial and I am trying to grow more perennials in the garden.

The second picture is of our Blackberries. A gardening friend brought me a little plant from hers last fall and it is doing great. It really likes the warmer weather as it has doubled in size in the last month. I have flowers so hopefully I will get the berries before the birds do. I planted them against an old bed frame so I can have a bed of blackberries.

This morning I was transplanting a bunch of volunteer tomato plants. Not sure what kinds they are, but I have a bad habit of throwing any pecked tomato into a nearby pot and they seem to grow for me the next spring. Hope all the horde is enjoying the warmer weather and dreaming of all the things they will plant...


grdn hucklbr.jpeg

blackbry bedd.jpeg

v mater plantss (1).jpeg


Passover starts Monday. Maybe for next year you might think about growing your own endive or romaine lettuce to avoid having to pay big bucks for veggie gift baskets.


Northern Utah, Zone 7, Figlets and pomegranate trees survived the winter


Ah, Nature

From last week, WeeKreekFarm Girl says that she is definitely going to stay away from the desert blister beetles:

but I am more worried about the tarantula wasps. Most painful sting in the world they say, and we have lots of those. And they are fairly aggressive.

Big, too. From DesertUSA:

What is a Tarantula Hawk?

Meet the tarantula hawk - a remarkable species of wasp that has earned its name and reputation through its formidable presence and one of the most excruciating insect stings found in North America. These imposing insects are far from ordinary wasps. In this article, we'll introduce you to the world of tarantula hawk wasps, shedding light on their distinct characteristics, behaviors, and the origins of their intriguing name. Get ready to explore the world of these impressive wasps and discover what sets them apart in the insect kingdom.

Tarantula Hawk Wasp Sting: The Most Painful of any North American Insect

Tarantula hawk stings are considered to be the most painful of any North American insect. Christopher Starr wrote an article entitled, "A Pain Scale for Bee, Wasp and Ant Stings." On a scale of one to four, Pepsis formosa was one of only two insects to rate a four. This compares with a one for a Solenopsis xyloni (desert fire ant), two for a Apis mellifera (honey bee) and three for a Dasymutilla klugii (velvet ant). . .

Although painful, the Pepsis sting is not especially lethal. It rates a 38 on a lethal capacity scale. This compares with 5.9 for a Dasymutilla klugii, 54 for a Apis mellifera, and 200 for a Pogonomyrmex maricopa (a desert-dwelling seed-harvester ant).

A researcher described the details of the pain after a sting. Sounds like some fun science! Other highlights from the article:

Habits and Habitat of Tarantula Hawk Wasps

Tarantula hawks are most active in the summer, during the day, although they avoid the highest temperatures. Females give the wasps their common name. Like all members of this genus, they require a spider to serve as host for their larvae, and in the case of the local species, tarantulas are the preferred nursery.

A female wasp finds a tarantula by smell. Generally, she scampers across the ground to locate a burrow. She will enter the burrow and expel the spider, then attack it. She may also encounter a male tarantula during his search for a mate. . .

Further details of the behavior of the female wasp and the hatched wasp egg at the link may be Not Safe for Lunch. The video below is oddly less dramatic than the text.

Male Tarantula Hawks and Their Territorial Behavior

Male tarantula wasps also lead an intriguing life. They engage in a behavior called "hill-topping," where they perch on taller vegetation or high points. They are strongly territorial at these sites because of the good view of the surroundings and in particular, of newly emerged virgin females, which may be receptive to mating. Once again we see that males of another species act quite like males of our own species; think of males posted up at a bar keeping an eye on the door.

Sorta goes along with the details below.

Predator and Prey: Tarantula Hawks' Unique Behavior

Only a few animals, such as roadrunners, eat tarantula hawks. The wasps are "nectivorous," and they have been known to become "flight-challenged" after consuming fermented fruit.

See the link for instructions on what to do if you are stung by one of these wasps. I don't know if the male wasps sting.

I read here that bullfrogs will also eat these wasps. Don't know if it's worthwhile setting up a pond for bullfrogs in order to combat tarantula hawk wasps. But it seems like a good idea to make the garden less attractive to tarantulas. There are some other ideas for consideration too, and photos. You don't want these wasps coming into your house.

Some of the same advice is useful for keeping other spiders and creepy-crawlies in their place. You may not even know it when the potentially dangerous bite of this spider occurs:

Brown recluse spidder.jpg

Brown Recluse

More information than I expected from the Poison Control Center. Treatment details from the Cleveland Clinic.


Gardens of The Horde

Here's a Calla Lily from our neck of the . . . grasslands.

calla l.jpg


Hope everyone has a nice weekend.

If you would like to send photos, stories, links, etc. for the Saturday Gardening, Puttering and Adventure Thread, the address is:

ktinthegarden at g mail dot com

Remember to include the nic or name by which you wish to be known at AoSHQ, or let us know if you want to remain a lurker.


Week in Review

What has changed since last week's thread? Gardening, Puttering and Adventure Thread, April 13

Compare Mileys clematis last year

clematis 23 3.jpg

with this year


Any thoughts or questions?

I closed the comments on this post so you wouldn't get banned for commenting on a week-old post, but don't try it anyway.

digg this
posted by K.T. at 01:26 PM

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