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!! Fred's photos from Wheaton Labs

 
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Location: Wheaton Labs, MT and Tularosa, NM
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Here's more photos from the next steps of the bee bubbler build.

I tied the pump to a rock so it would be raised off the bottom surface of the barrel. Then, it may not get as much sediment clogging it.

I crudely shaped a couple of pieces of mesh from the scrap yard to be a shelf for the gravel. In Alan Booker's design the whole container is filled with gravel. I figured I'd use less gravel this way.

When the gravel reached the top of the barrel, I added a piece of stainless screen. The gravel itself will be enough to keep mosquitoes from breeding in the fountain. I'm hoping this added screen will help keep debris from entering the barrel.

I added a couple more inches of gravel to hide the screen from view.

Next, I'll add some gravel and flagstones around the outside of the barrel. Over the middle of the barrel, I'll add stack of rocks for the water to cascade down making micro pools where the bees can safely drink.
bee-bubbler-pump.jpg
[Thumbnail for bee-bubbler-pump.jpg]
bee bubbler pump tied to rock
bee-bubbler-gravel-shelf.jpg
[Thumbnail for bee-bubbler-gravel-shelf.jpg]
bee bubbler gravel shelf
bee-bubbler-filling.jpg
[Thumbnail for bee-bubbler-filling.jpg]
bee bubbler filling with gravel
bee-bubbler-debris-screen.jpg
[Thumbnail for bee-bubbler-debris-screen.jpg]
bee bubbler stainless debris screen
bee-bubbler-gravel-cap.jpg
[Thumbnail for bee-bubbler-gravel-cap.jpg]
gravel cap for bee bubbler
 
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Fred Tyler wrote:Here's more photos from the next steps of the bee bubbler build.

I tied the pump to a rock so it would be raised off the bottom surface of the barrel. Then, it may not get as much sediment clogging it.

I crudely shaped a couple of pieces of mesh from the scrap yard to be a shelf for the gravel. In Alan Booker's design the whole container is filled with gravel. I figured I'd use less gravel this way.

When the gravel reached the top of the barrel, I added a piece of stainless screen. The gravel itself will be enough to keep mosquitoes from breeding in the fountain. I'm hoping this added screen will help keep debris from entering the barrel.

I added a couple more inches of gravel to hide the screen from view.

Next, I'll add some gravel and flagstones around the outside of the barrel. Over the middle of the barrel, I'll add stack of rocks for the water to cascade down making micro pools where the bees can safely drink.



Fred, why not cut the top half of the barrel off, o  red more?  Since you are only using the top portion instead of using the screen to create a shelf for the gravel?  You could still leave enough room for the pump?  
 
Fred Tyler
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Felicia Rain wrote:
Fred, why not cut the top half of the barrel off, or more?  Since you are only using the top portion instead of using the screen to create a shelf for the gravel?  You could still leave enough room for the pump?  



Felicia, I thought that by keeping gravel out of the bottom of the barrel it would hold a lot more water. I'm not sure how much water this will go through with critters drinking and evaporation. We are in a pretty dry climate. I thought I won't have to fill it up as often if it holds more water. Also the reason I don't want to cut the barrel in half.

Bee bubbler construction is at a standstill until I can determine where the issue lies in the components.

In the meantime, an asparagus plant is growing well with three new shoots just emerging.

The momma cat at the abbey has caught a ground squirrel for a meal.  Usually she eats the bulk of it, then let's the kittens have some. I'm not sure if they can do more than gnaw on it.

And, the black widow spider is seen with beetles whose essence has already been consumed, and eggs sacs have been made.  Who knows how many eggs each one contains.  I think she may be moving these sacs around every few days.  The reason why...I do not yet know.
culver-williams-asparagus.jpg
Culver Williams variety of asparagus from Seed Savers Exchange
Culver Williams variety of asparagus from Seed Savers Exchange
Abbey-cat-preys-a-ground-squirrel.jpg
Abbey cat preys a ground squirre
Abbey cat preys a ground squirrel
black-widow-spider-feeds-on-beetle-and-makes-eggs.jpg
black widow spider feeds on beetle and makes eggs
black widow spider feeds on beetles and makes eggs
 
Fred Tyler
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Here is a short video from the solitary bee house at the Abbey.  Jocelyn bought it for us several years ago and we mounted it on the wall at the back side of the Abbey. Mostly it is used by leaf cutter bees, but occasionally mason bees and others will make use of it. In the video it is buzzing with activity! The middle of summer is prime season for these bees and now that the knapweed is blooming, they are going overtime. Some of the bees come back covered in pollen (to be used as a food source for their young), some carrying pieces of leaf (to build a cocoon for their young).

 
Fred Tyler
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Black widow continues to move her egg sacs. See the additional emaciated beetle corpses.

One spider sac lies on a piece of firewood. When I peeled it off the firewood to cook dinner there were actually two clusters of eggs under the silk. No spider in sight.

I spy...a spider egg sac hanging in a Doug fir tree. There was a spider web-ish about a foot away in another part of the branch. Not sure if the egg sac and web are related.

There are many things to spy in a Doug fir tree...a weird speedy creature stood near the spider web in the tree. It has a red dot that might be the head.  Its body looks like a flake of bark (above the red dot in the picture). I saw it move very fast, but I couldn't tell what it was. I was balancing on a log and trying to get the photo a little above me. I went back to look for it several more times, but didn't see it again.

Speaking of Doug fir...have you tried Douglas fir tea?  It makes an orange tea with a flavor hard to describe.  Grand fir tea is clear but somehow milky at the same time.
black-widow-moves-her-egg-sacs.jpg
black widow moves her egg sacs
black widow moves her egg sacs
two-clusters-of-eggs-under-the-silk.jpg
two clusters of eggs under the silk
two clusters of eggs under the silk
egg-sac-hanging-in-Doug-fir-tree.jpg
egg sac hanging in Doug fir tree
egg sac hanging in Doug fir tree
weird-red-dotted-creature-near-the-spider-web-in-the-tree.jpg
weird red dotted creature near the spider web in the tree
weird red dotted creature near the spider web in the tree
 
Fred Tyler
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Wolf? scat on my plot when I returned from the winter away.  I read that the pointy twisty ends is a canine trait.  ...looks too big to be coyote.

Wolf? tracks in the road near Cooper Cabin. ...looks too big to be coyote. The toenail traces indicate it is probably not feline.

One photo shows the wolf's gait, and the other photo shows a close up of one print.
maybe-wolf-scat.jpg
wolf scat
wolf scat
wolf-gait.jpg
wolf gait
wolf gait
wolf-track.jpg
wolf track
wolf track
 
Fred Tyler
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Here is a short video of the wasp watering station i mentioned in a previous post. For reference: This is a bucket of cottonwood branches soaking in water to propagate them. It is in a pretty shaded spot under some trees. All day long there are several wasps coming and going. There are at least three different species of wasps using it. I see one of them patrolling the corn very often. They seem to like having the branches to climb down to get a drink without falling in. I am regularly changing out the water to make sure i'm not breeding mosquitos.

 
Fred Tyler
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Skid construction for a skidable shed.

First pic: First i decide which way is up and mark level across the middle of the log, like Bearpaw taught us. Mark the other end of the log without moving it. This way we can always get it back to level if we need.  Mark with the level the depth of cut on both ends. Then snap a chalk line between the two. This will give us a plane that approximates flat. The twists and turns of roundwood make it challenging to have anything exact, but that ok. We can adjust along the way.

Second pic: Make what seems like a million parallel cuts just to the depth of your chalk lines. We will clean it up later with the chainsaw, so it's ok if these aren't all perfect.

Third pic: Use a hammer and/or hatchet to remove the bulk of the tabs the chainsaw left behind. After this we will smooth the surface with the chainsaw, but that will be a different day, because it's time to go eat.
skid-log-with-chalk-lines.jpg
log marked level with chalk lines snapped
log marked level with chalk lines snapped
skid-log-parallel-cuts.jpg
parallel cuts to depth of chalk lines
parallel cuts to depth of chalk lines
skid-log-tabs-removed.jpg
after breaking off tabs
after breaking off tabs
 
Fred Tyler
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Bug day.

See the Tachinid fly.  There are 1300 species in North America and it can be difficult to identify one, even with a hand lens.  The Tachinid fly is a beneficial predator. It will glue its egg to a caterpillar, a beetle, a grasshopper or other insect.  When the egg hatches, the fly larvae burrow in to the insect on which it is adhered, and eat, weakening or killing the host.  It then pupates and overwinters in the soil.  Adult Tachinids eat flower nectar and insect honeydew.  Umbels (carrots, lovage, dill) are especially attractive to them.

I think the second bug looks most like a Paddle-tailed darner (Aeshna palmata). This dragonfly is a beneficial predator in and out of the water.

The last bug is a katydid nymph in the Scudderia genus.  It is probably Fork-tailed Bush Katydid (Scudderia furcata) based on its range within Montana.  But, the only way to be sure it's not one of the other two Scudderia who inhabit Montana, is to examine the shape of the male genitalia...I didn't do that.  So, I'll go with my guess above.  After looking this up, I now know that some crickets are in the katydid family.
Tachinid-fly.JPG
Tachinid fly
Tachinid fly
Paddle-tailed-darner-Aeshna-palmata-.JPG
Paddle-tailed darner [Aeshna palmata]
Paddle-tailed darner [Aeshna palmata]
katydid-nymph-Scudderia-genus.JPG
Katydid nymph - Scudderia genus
Katydid nymph - Scudderia genus
 
Fred Tyler
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I've had trouble getting things started in the chaos of my hugels. I still direct seed mostly,  but have begun saving a few seeds to get plants started in pots.

First is mostly ornamental lamb's ears (Stachys byzantina). I collected the seed in Missoula. These are in the mint family and have silvery fuzzy leaves and purplish pink flowers on a spike. Some of these did well at basecamp,  so I'm hopeful they can thrive on my berm.

Second is rue (Ruta graveolens). I got the seeds as a gift from a 93 year old customer who grows it in his garden in New Mexico.  It has many culinary uses, some potentially medicinal ones, but care must be taken as it is poisonous in large doses. The sap of the plant can react with the sun and create painful blisters on the skin. It has blue-green foliage and yellow flowers. It is a host plant to several swallowtail butterfly species.

Third is sage (Salvia officinalis). These leggy starts were started and abandoned by someone else. This well know herb has had many culinary,  medicinal,  and religious uses over the centuries. It is another in the mint family and it has grey-green foliage and lavender flowers.

As a bonus here is a mystery: I had labeled these seeds as gumweed (Grindelia), but what has grown looks like something in the parsley family.  It's leaves are very pungent. I look forward to trying to ID it as it grows.
lambs-ears-stachys-byzantina.jpg
Lamb's ears (Stachys byzantina)
Lamb's ears (Stachys byzantina)
rue-ruta-graveolens.jpg
Rue (Ruta graveolens)
Rue (Ruta graveolens)
sage-salvia-officinalis.jpg
Sage (Salvia officinalis)
Sage (Salvia officinalis)
mystery-herb.jpg
mystery herb
mystery herb
 
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