Weekly Photo Challenge: Wanderlust


069 - CopyThis photo represents the “crossroads of wanderlust.” I’m in a small Italian village, walking without a destination. In the distance I spot red geraniums in a window box. My mind goes back to my childhood in New Jersey when my father took me–I was about seven or eight– to visit a  elderly women who was born in the 1870’s. She lived in a country brick house that was older than she was.  All her windows had flower boxes with red geraniums. In fact, the inside of the house smelled like geraniums.  She told me the flowers keep insects away. I’ve hung on to that memory for over 60 years and it surfaced easily on this day in Italy.

Photo Challenge: Wanderlust

What Rain Will Do…

SB trip51

The five-year drought appears to be over in California. The rolling hills that have been going brown in past years are now alive with lush green colors. This shot was taken from the roadside of Highway 46 which connects the Pacific Coast Highway with inland US 101. This area is full of wineries and picturesque landscapes.

Swarm for Lunch

My hives are packed, so I wasn’t surprised yesterday when a loud buzz diverted our attention from an outdoor lunch. Honey bees by the thousands circled overhead. While bees were coming and going as always from the hives in the backyard, the real action was in my neighbor’s yard–first in the back, then in the front. Finally, the swarm moved across the street to an evergreen. In about five minutes the circling subsided and the bees began the ritual of surrounding their queen.

Below is a video of the swarm settling in an evergreen.

This is the sixth time in the last four years that I’ve witnessed a swarm. Typically, the swarm is triggered by a second queen in the hive who leaves with 15,000 bees or so to set up shop nearby. As was done in the past, I contacted a local beekeeper who at sunset removed the bees safely from the tree–they’re going about 12 miles away to a “farm” on the Big Sur coast.

Our objective is to keep a healthy hive and to repopulate the coast here with productive honey bees. We harvest the honey only when necessary and use it ourselves (it’s a great cooking additive with food prepared in a slow cooker); or we give it away, no selling.