thanking the trees and others

“Hey farmer, farmer, put away the DDT now,          Give me spots on my apples, but leave me the birds and the bees…”*

My Golden Delicious tree has groaned under the weight of fruit this year, despite thinning some of it in the early summer. I took these pictures yesterday morning. I have already harvested and stored 100 decent apples -these are what remain. A few have fallen for the blackbirds but most are still tightly attached-I know because I took one for my elevenses-cold, crisp, sweet, golden and well, delicious. It may be common and a bit dull when bought in a supermarket in April, but straight from the tree it is a very fine eating apple.

I don’t know if I am alone in this, but I always thank my trees when I harvest the fruit. I often pat them, like I would a horse. I’m not sure why-they can’t hear or feel but somehow it seems fitting. And I also whispered a little thank you to the white tailed bees and their kin who pollinated this abundant crop back in April.

As for the spots on my apples-I don’t know what causes them, but they are only skin deep and they don’t taste of anything. And I can live with spots-and birds and bees.

Continuing a theme of thanks, I want to say a really big thank you to  everyone who has popped over to my other blog too. It is very kind of you all and deeply appreciated.

*Joni Mitchell-Big yellow Taxi.

using your voice

It was a gorgeous blue and gold afternoon here.

This is one of the Norway Maples that grow near my house, doing its magnificent autumn thing, whilst showering a bazillion seeds onto my garden which will attempt garden domination next spring. I was outside spotting bees, in an attempt to log my final sightings for the year. I did find a Carder bee basking on the back wall, together with one odd hoverfly.  A couple of dopey wasps were munching on the apples on my Golden Delicious tree. Little activity, but still some late hymenopterans. I am hoping to spot the  Ivy bee, Colletes hederae, the last of the solitary bees to emerge and likely to be found on ivy flowers into mid November, but I have so far failed.

In the course of my bee hunting I noticed how pretty the Michaelmas daisy flowers still are. I added to my collection on Monday after a visit with VP to the Botanic Nursery where they hold a good collection of the plants. On Monday morning they were covered in frost, but still holding their heads high.  It is good to have something that performs well at this stage of the season.

One of several interesting natural history stories that has caught my attention this week has been the UK government’s launch of a Natural Environment White Paper discussion document to ask for your views on nature. You can read about it here and take part on line on the DEFRA website here.

The survey takes the form of 4 short questions, which could result in 4 short or 4 very long answers, depending on your enthusiasm and point of view. It may be lip service, but it is an attempt  at engaging in a dialogue about the environment. If you are interested, please note that the closing date for replies is Saturday 30th October. I have given them my two penny worth.