Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Honey bees make honey; mason bees make food


Plum blossoms, just waiting for apron-wearing bees
It's been a while and, to be honest, my heart isn't so much into writing a scintillating post tonight. It's a waving, perhaps drowning update, mostly to record that we installed twenty mason bee cocoons (some of which had already hatched, meaning some lively bees were coming out of the box I was too impatient to refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes) in the newly relocated mason bee house this evening. The new spot should get a bit more sun, seeing as it won't be entirely engulfed in grape leaves in the next two months (knock on wood). A couple of the already-lively bees obligingly crawled into a couple of the holes in the bee trays, which we take to be a promising sign as well. Fingers crossed and all; goodness knows we've got plenty of blooms on the plum tree that should offer plenty of work for the newcomers. And not only the plum; if I can shift my mind from focusing on wanting to enjoy the fruits of the bees' labor, I have to admit there are other food sources in the yard as well:
This is why it's my favorite time of year chez Aurora. When the sun shines.
In other hasty news, I've updated the Books list to the left to include White Tears and The Bean Trees.* Having just sped-read my way through the NPR review of White Tears, I find that they thought a little more highly of it than I did. It was gripping and a fast, compulsive read, but I felt that I'd read a lot of the book before, and I may have found it less subtle than the NPR reviewer seems to have done.  I bought the copy I read of The Bean Trees on Independent Bookstore Day two years ago. (PSA: This year's Bookstore Day in the US is Saturday, April 29th; go out and support your local bookstores that day--and every day!) I picked it up off a stack of books in Tish's room as I was looking for something relatively short to read last weekend, and it seemed promising. And it was good; just less escape from present-day life than I'd hoped or expected.

"Look at those guys out in the park with no place to go," I said. "And women, too. I've seen whole families out there. While we're in here trying to keep the dry-cleaner bags out of the kids' reach, those mothers are using dry-cleaner bags for their kids' clothes, for God's sake. For raincoats. And feeding them out of the McDonald's dumpster. You'd think that life alone would be punishment enough for those people, but then the cops come around waking them up mornings, knocking them around with their sticks. You've seen it. And everybody else saying hooray, way to go, I got mine, power to the toughest. Clean up the neighborhood and devil take the riffraff. .  . . What I'm saying is nobody feels sorry for anybody anymore, nobody even pretends they do. Not even the President. It's like it's become unpatriotic." 
 -from page 119 of the Olive edition of The Bean Trees, by Barbara Kingsolver

Magnolia blossoms against a blue sky
Finally, because it's been a while since I've unloaded photos from my camera, and this at least started with fruit trees, I share that I was surprised to get a package sort of shaped like an aluminum foil box in the mail a few weeks ago. When I was opened it, I was quite pleased to find that it contained swag from The Seagull Project, a local theatre group that specializes in Chekhov to which we gave a chunk of change late last year. Their performance of The Cherry Orchard was quite fine (though I think I preferred their Three Sisters); don't miss a chance to see whatever they do next. Me, I'd love for them to perform Olivier Salad (A Comedy in One Act).
The vodka is an after-market addition for the photo shoot

(This post inspired, at least in part, by Mason Bee Revolution)

* This list should also include the Booker-prize-winning novel, The Sea. A book that clearly made very little impression.