Farewell My Black and Yellow Friends

As the frost and nip of Winter approach…its to the hive or to die.

   So my passionflower vines (Passiflora incarnata) are still blossoming which is somewhat astounding given that it’s October 20th. These are native to the Southeastern U.S.  I told my son Isaac that I was a powerful Shaman but he informed me that I couldn’t possibly be a Shaman, because it requires going off into the woods, alone, until you become One with the Earth. Too smart for his own good, that one! Since I live near the lake, I can’t fertilize, so I buy a few containers of worms to throw in the bed to create a healthy eco-system. But the secret of my garden is tons of sunshine and lots of water and a bit of Native American wisdom which includes talking to my vines.

Over the past couple of weeks I have noticed the bees are just laying in the Dahlia blossoms sucking up pollen. At first I thought they were dead but maybe they were just drunk on pollen. Actually I’m not sure. A colony of honey bees will live through the entire winter. They do not hibernate. When temperatures drop below 55 degrees part of the colony gathers in the hive for the winter. The others die. They create a cluster in the hive that creates a 90 degree temperature at its center for the queen. They shiver and flap their wings to keep warm and eat stored honey all winter. (Who or what  decides who gets in I wonder?) Bumble bees do not live through the winter. The last brood will contain a number of queens which mate and then find a safe nesting place (usually a small hole in the ground) for the winter. The rest of the colony dies. In any case, I am truly grateful for my vines, the worms and their black and yellow friends.

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