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Cutting around the worms, peeling and cutting small peaches is hard work. Wife made some jelly and I made some cobbler and froze enough for a making a few more. Chicken got some threw to them and squirrels and birds worked them hard. I had two rounds, early peach and late. I am apparently a couple weeks to a month earlier then AR1.
Cheers
gww
 

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Discussion Starter · #402 ·
It is too bad, but our vacation landed right into the middle of the peach season.
Lost a lot of crop since we were away (house-sitting neighbors picked some, but not nearly enough).
At least I was smart enough to pick a box full of the most ready peaches and we took it with us - we had fresh peaches every day while vacationing.
(NOT the same as the ripe peaches FROM the tree - oh well).
Too bad. Have you ever had ripe-on-the-tree apricots? Unbelievable. Nothing you buy is even a shadow of that flavor. I feel sorry for kids who never get anything but supermarket fruit.
 

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Too bad. Have you ever had ripe-on-the-tree apricots? Unbelievable. Nothing you buy is even a shadow of that flavor. I feel sorry for kids who never get anything but supermarket fruit.
I have no apricots, unfortunately.
BUT - everyone at my house knows the ripe-on-the-tree peaches.
Last season we had a "stay-cation" (not a vacation) - eating off the tree peaches was one bright spot.

And off-the-tree apples is pretty much a routine here.
And hey - off-the-tree plums are here and now!

Of course, off-the-bush cucumbers and tomatoes are also routine. That is pretty usual for us.
 

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I feel sorry for kids who never get anything but supermarket fruit.
Too bad, but their parents' don't know any better either.
Of course, doing a little work in the backyard is an alien undertaking for the most now days.
 

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Discussion Starter · #405 ·
Too bad, but their parents' don't know any better either.
Of course, doing a little work in the backyard is an alien undertaking for the most now days.
So very little work. My 'work' of growing peaches was throwing pits into the back yard garden.
 

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Discussion Starter · #406 ·
Food Watermelon Plant Citrullus Fruit

Watermelon, 3 kinds of cantaloupe, squash, peach, bitter melon, indian corn. Garden is in its exuberant phase. My wife is to the point of 'I am tired of vegetables' and 'plant less next year'.

Thanks for calm bees. Been power washing the house and got to the last wall, where a hive is situated. Washed all around them, even climbed a ladder to get the second story, and they didn't even buzz me. I think maybe the fog of water confused them. But a yellow jacket was a little too interested and buzzed me constantly. I wore the veil for the part directly in front of the hive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #407 ·
So much for calm bees. Picking the garden and was buzzed repeatedly even 30 feet away behind the hive. That's a first. Last stop was the carrots which are near the hive, stung 3 times, cheek and arm. Almost broke my glasses I was so surprised I slapped the bugger. Put on my veil and got my carrots. Something must be messing with them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #409 ·
Ar1

Sounds like that might have been you yesterday and they have NOT forgot. 😊
Cheers
gww
Nah. Different bees, 4 miles apart. These were my farm garden bees, which don't usually react much even when I open the hives.
 

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Discussion Starter · #410 ·
Currently 5 dead bumble bees in front of the hive. Yesterday I saw one, then two, three over the course of about 2 hours. I saw honey bees savagely chewing on live bumble bee wings. Tine to put up a screen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #412 ·
Caught this in action today- 3 honey bees, 1 bumblebee bee = advantage honey bee.

View attachment 65288
I watched this process very carefully last year. The honeys are very efficient at keeping bumbles and yellow jackets out during the summer when temps are high and bee populations high. Later, during cool mornings and evenings the honeys are at a severe disadvantage and it isn't long before bumbles and YJs are entering and leaving almost freely.

I have seen quite a few YJs trying to get into the hive but it appears so far without much success. I circled the house and sprayed several wasp nests, but those are not the same beast as the smaller YJs. No idea where their hive is, I believe not on my property. I am also trapping a fair number of wasps and YJs using honey, peach and melon for bait, but nowhere near the number I see flying around. I even went so far as to spray pyrethrin on my compost heap, where large numbers of YJs and other wasps congregate around spoiled fruit. Many fewer today than 2 days ago when I started. It's a small risk, since occasionally honeys will be on the compost, but very few.
 

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Discussion Starter · #413 ·
I wonder about cutting a slice from my plastic queen excluder and using it to cover the entrances. It would keep the drones inside, but there are not many drones now anyway. That would stop the bumbles, but not the yellow jackets. Might make the entrances easier to defend anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #414 ·
YJ update. 3 yellow jacket traps out, variously baited with different fruit and honey. Cantaloupe melon works poorly. Peach is Okay but catches more of the larger bald-faced wasps: Dolichovespula maculata - Wikipedia
and not so many YJs. The bald-faced wasps I have not seen attacking the hives, ever.

Best bait in the traps is watermelon chunks, apple chunks, and honey. A slice of apple works fine, and the YJs seem to especially like it.

I have not yet tried meat, which some people say works very well.

The traps are catching maybe 30-40 YJs a day total. Since I am not feeding and so not attracting them to the area, this appears to be sufficient. I am no longer seeing YJs attempting to enter the hive. I did see another dead bumble bee on the cement in front of the hive. Funny, a worker bee came along and started savaging the already dead bumble. Earlier in the summer an occasional bumble was getting into the traps, but none for several weeks.

Almost all my traps work very well in the morning and catch few in the afternoon and evening. I suspect that I am getting the scouts early on, and so few foragers are following on if the scouts don't return.

I dump windfall apples and kitchen scraps in a compose hole in the garden. This attracts huge numbers of YJs. After last year's miserable experience, have multiple hives killed by YJs, I actually sprayed the compost pile with insecticide. Killed lots of flies and wasps, and I believe it is helping keep the YJs from targeting my property. Don't like to do it. By the way, the YJ traps also catch lots of flies, which is a nice bonus. We are in and out all the time onto our deck, and lots of flies get in the kitchen. Far fewer since I put the traps out on the deck.

I pulled in the last of my swarm traps today, all but one remote one. Not a single swarm this year! Except the one that came from my own hive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #415 ·
Update on the hives. Swarm hive at the farm is doing well, expanding numbers and storing lots of pollen and some nectar. Not much honey stored. It is in two deeps, because that was what the original bait trap was. It could probably benefit from taking off the top deep and moving the stores down into empty frames on the bottom.

The other hive at the farm is also doing well, plenty of bees and they are making a small amount of honey. They are in 4 mediums. 100% of the brood is in the two bottom mediums. Very little expansion this year. Too dry and not much nectar since June, so maintaining a smaller colony and not expanding makes sense. Both hives have OA paper towels between the boxes.

Same story with the hive at home. Plenty of bees in the brood box, packed full actually, and not much expansion up with very little stored honey. They are maintaining and not growing, which is fine with me. I'll feed them all going into winter, unless the fall flow is exceptional. We would need some pretty heavy rain at this point for that to happen, and it doesn't look like it's going to happen.

Nights are now distinctly chilly, 50s. Garden is going strong, lots of tomatoes, beans, and melons. I weighed a cantaloupe at 14 pounds this week. Biggest cantaloupe I ever saw. Some giant watermelons too, and they are finally ripening enough to eat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #416 ·
Been seeing several dead bumble bees in front of the hive every day the last few days. This morning I cut a piece of queen excluder to cover one entrance, and placed a chimney robbing cover over the other entrance. The workers continued working as if the queen excluder wasn't there, it slowed them down only a little. Took them longer to figure out the chimney but a few were using it later.

The yellow jackets are not being attracted much to my fruit bait this week, and I see them scavenging the dead bees off the cement pad in front of the hive. Time to try some meat bait in the traps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #417 ·
Maybe the lower death numbers have to do with the better preparedness this time around.
I don't know; don't really watch this closely.

Regarding NYT, they pretty much conform with the John Hopkins numbers.
I see no reason to NOT be trusting John Hopkins (IF not them, then who left?).

Well, I have to give a mea culpa, I was sadly mistaken about the severity of the current covid wave. Numbers are far higher than I had thought possible, given the numbers of people who had been vaccinated, and of how many people had had the disease and recovered. We are approaching 200 million fully vaccinated, and as of February the CDC said 83 million in the US had had the disease. CDC Estimates 83 Million U.S. COVID Infections. This Has Major Implications.

So how was I so off the mark? Prior infection appears to give a robust immunity, though I know personally a few people who have caught it twice. Also, purely anecdotal, we are seeing very few fully vaccinated patients in the hospital. A few, now and then, but not many.

In Texas, 50% of the population is fully vaccinated, and some large number have had the disease. So where are all the new infections coming from? Number of deaths this last month nearly equaled the number of deaths during the peak last winter in Texas when everyone was vulnerable and no one vaccinated.

Two thoughts on that. One, covid is reaching smaller communities/families/individuals who by chance were missed on earlier waves. Two, there are lots and lots of repeat cases, where people have caught it twice, or catch it after vaccination, and the numbers are not being reported properly.

By the way, covid is very much a family disease. Not unusual to see multiple members of extended families all hit within a few days.
 

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OK; changed my mind.... Not the "tale gate" here.
 

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I don't understand the comment.
All good AR.
Talking of the root causes why our hospitals are forced into the rationed care does not really belong here.
So I deleted my comment in that regard. :)
 
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