Abies balsamea 'Nana'

Abies balsamea 'Nana'

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Bees and Bandits

The last couple days have been interesting ones in my garden, with some equally-interesting visitors. On Monday, I heard a loud buzzing, like the sound of only slightly distant motorcycles. I followed my ears to discover a roving swarm of honeybees up in the trees. Eventually, they settled on a branch and have pretty much stayed there, though they've shifted a bit on the branch.


Their chosen branch put them a bit out of the reach of my camera lense for a good picture, but this cropped image gives you an idea. At one point, the swarm was tightly clustered at the tip of the branch, hanging there like a large pineapple. They've since shifted further up the branch and aren't visible. This is the second time I've seen a wild swarm on the property, though the previous time they passed through quickly.

And today, another unusual sighting, a mother raccoon and three kits. I've seen raccoons out during the day once or twice, but this is the first time I've seen one with babies in tow. I spotted her approaching the base of a tree off-frame to the left. She climbed up a couple feet, but didn't go any higher. Turns out she was collecting her litter, who were further up the tree. They all clambered down, head first, and set off to a new location.

Unfortunately, these pictures also give you a glimpse of the logging that was done on the adjacent property, and some of the junk on that property. We're all hoping these rhododendrons, and some yews that we planted along the fence, will grow quickly to block the view. Back to the cute little raccoons. I like this picture, capturing one in mid-hop on the left.

Mom and one kid are heading off, but the two stragglers spot something fun at the base of this rhododendron. With so much natural woodland in this area, I've yet to see any mischief that might be caused by raccoons, unlike gardeners in more suburban or urban areas. So, I just get to enjoy watching them. This must be what other people feel like when they see deer.

Mom spots the dawdlers. Hey! Put the dirt clods down and hurry up! We're moving!

I've been enjoying the cooler weather this week, taking the opportunity to give my recent drought-tolerant additions like the Arctostaphylos, Ceanothus, and Grevilleas a much-needed drink, along with all my other, thirstier plants. It's been tricky keeping some of them alive during the heat, as watering those plants when it's too hot can kill them quickly. I'm already loving being able to stay in one place, instead of moving twice a week for work. Things feel much less hectic and pressured, though my schedule is actually going to be even more full than when I was working two jobs. Now I'll be buckling down with my studies, leaving sufficient time for my online work and gardening, of course. I'm hoping with less chaos I'll be able to return to more regular blogging as I find my new rhythm, but I won't bother making any promises. Summer is the time for getting stuff done in the garden! Not writing about it!

12 comments:

  1. Ah you've reminded me of a fun morning Andrew and I spied on a mom and her two raccoon babies in the back yard. She was doing the "common hurry up" thing while they came at each other like little pro-wrestlers from the corners of the lawn, time after time. When she had finally had enough and upped her "let's go!" chatter they both pounced on her. So cute, from a distance...and as long as they keep on moving...

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    1. They're fun to watch, but I was glad they didn't stick around, too.

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  2. You got great shots of the little bandits! We had regular visits of mothers and babies at our former house (timed with the ripening of the oranges on trees on the property behind us) but I've never seen a family group here, although solitary adult raccoons are frequent marauders. Best wishes with keeping all the balls in the air.

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    1. Thanks! I'm glad they were just passing through. No marauding here.

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  3. Nothing cuter than baby raccoons (well, baby anything, really). We had a swarm of bees land in a tree two summers ago. A neighbor came to coax them into her hive and carried them off. It was a fascinating process to watch.

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    1. They were adorable. I know someone who keeps bees nearby, but this swarm is just minding its own beeswax (pun intended) so I don't see any reason to cart them off.

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  4. Aw, how cute! Baby raccoons are adorable - lucky you to be able to enjoy them up close. Enjoy your new lifestyle, and your studies, Evan. I think you have your priorities straight - summer is for working in the garden, even though writing about it can be fun too. Especially when there are changes to report on!

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    1. Thanks, Anna. Writing hasn't been as high on my priorty list as it once was. I'll keep blogging when I can, though.

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  5. I certainly do hope for your sanity's sake that those raccoons do not come back. They uproot newly planted plants looking for grubs, or playing, they just basically over-run everything like dogs and turn it into a wasteland. Just yesterday I saw a similar mother leading a pack of kits along the top of my fence. I was not at all amused.

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    1. I was thinking of you and Kris as I watched the little bandits scampering off, but I've only ever seen them passing through. They never seem to stick around.

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  6. I too see raccoons in the back yard even once in a while. The motion detector light comes on and I'm looking out to see who's visiting. Once, I came face to face with one in the middle of the afternoon. I backed up, slowly. When it was done staring at me it continued on it's way... Raccoons have the cutes faces but I find their gait a little creepy.

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    1. They can be a little eerie, but the babies were just too cute.

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