Saturday, July 7, 2018

The Birds and the Bees etc.

Recently, we have been having some problems with bees visiting our Hummingbird feeders. I like bees, we need bees BUT…
Hummingbirds find them irritating at best and dangerous at worst. So, what do you do?
It has been suggested that if you move the feeder a short distance away, the bees get really confused and it will take time for even one of them to find the feeders in the new location…then the successful scout must go all the way back to relay the new place info to the hive. They cannot just tell their buddies at the source site. I tried this method….and yes it does work for a while.
Saucer style feeders are the best because they are not so prone to leaking and the bees seem to find it harder to reach the sugar solution. Bees are more attracted to yellow and Hummingbirds are more attracted to red…so there is a choice here too.
Try to plant bee-attractant flowers in your garden and hope!
Also, do NOT use the “red nectar” sold in stores because it is deemed bad for the birds ( ) and keep to a 3-1, or 4-1 ratio of water to plain sugar (NOT HONEY) …. 3-1 for colder days and the other for warm days (All a matter of energy).
Wasps are another issue and I set wasp specific traps (Google for them) and I do chemically discourage them too (if you see what I mean).
To prevent ants…be sure to purchase feeders which have ant dams at the top or hang your feeders with fishing line ( ant’s athletic skills do not run to scaling such a thin access “rope”).

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Swimming and Children

Recently we have been very much aware of the stranded Thailand boys in the flooded cave. I have just read some criticism of parents who have children who cannot swim, which is the case with most of the boys now stranded in the cave system.
We must be aware that swimming instruction needs to be done in a comfortable water environment such as a pool or lake, not in a river with currents or in the sea where there are pounding waves. Many in poorer Countries or in isolated inland areas do not have access to such facilities. Even if they are near water, the conditions could dangerous for many reasons, especially in tropical climates.
When I was a child in the early 50’s, in Britain, public pools were rare; waves at the seaside could be rough and you would have to be near anyway to enjoy these places regularly…we take our transportation for granted today. I did not learn to swim until I was 12, and then only because our school had a small pool.
Most parents would dearly love their children to be able to swim as early as possible but a luxury such as this is often illusive to many. So, I say to the critics of such parents that we should all be more sensitive.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018


 Quit watering them once the leaves start to turn yellow prior to harvesting if you can.....but we live in a rainy place, right?
To harvest, don't pull them up, dig them up gently with a fork. when the leaves start to turn yellow at the a test on one or two plants to see if the bulbs are big enough. The trick is not to damage the outer skin covering.
After harvesting, try to avoid washing as much as possible. Dry the soil and gently rub off the remainder off, then hang them upside down in a cool dark place with good air circulation..... leave til all the leaves are dry. You can then cut off the leaves leaving a stalk about 4 inches long. Soft stemmed will keep longer (6 months) than hard stemmed (2-4 months).
Some people plat the leaves for storage. Enjoy.
I do it this way every year.