Scenes from Shelter in Place, Part 2: The Wheels of Nature Keep Turning

We’re on day 23 of sheltering in place.  Being up here on the mountain, it’s almost possible to forget that the world is in chaos.  As someone who is usually much closer to the frontlines of suffering, this ability to slip into ignorance is disorienting and somewhat unsettling.  I am in a state of constant gratitude that we have this house & space, both of us still have regular paychecks coming in, we are healthy, and we are together with the cats.

Being home for such a concentrated period of time has allowed me to more closely observe nature.  These are some glimpses into things we’ve seen over the last month or so.

Our incredibly dry (read: not a drop of rain) February allowed for ideal pollination conditions for early stone fruit.  We have two trees full of tiny apricots, which is extremely exciting because we haven’t had apricots since 2017.

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No rain in February also meant ideal conditions for almond pollination.  Our one little almond tree has more fruit set on it than ever before.

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We let our mizuna (Japanese mustard) bolt, and the bees absolutely love the happy yellow flowers.

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The bees are also loving our blooming salvias, or sages.  Seen below are Black Sage and Cleveland Sage.  Can you see the yellow pollen on the Black Sage’s flowers?

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For the first time, I noticed Red Maids, a native wildflower, growing in a corner of our orchard.

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Our first poppies are blooming, coming back from seeds that were dropped last year.

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I’m experimenting with trying to smother weeds with native wildflowers.  I sowed some Baby Blue Eyes last fall, and they are beautifully doing the trick.  Plus, the bees and so many other pollinators love them!

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Speaking of the bees, we are starting spring with four pretty strong hives.  Mike is deciding whether to split any of them before they can swarm.  Once the weather stabilizes (we made up for a dry February with a pretty wet March and rain is in the forecast for the next handful of days), we can look in the hives and decide what to do.

If our current shelter in place order doesn’t get extended, we have 29 more days to do our part by staying home.