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Saturday, April 11, 2015

Busy as Bees

We have been busy as bees in the past twenty-four hours -- and so have the bees on the redbud tree.

Swarms of bees buzzed all day from branch to branch of the redbud, and overhead the hawks flew even higher than the bees. Some of the bees were unusually small and some were medium sized and some were giant bumble bees.

It's hard to see all the bees when you are trying to take everything in, but if you focus on a single bee you can see it more clearly, precariously perched on a delicate blossom and going at it with gusto.

In the orchard, the mystery tree is blooming.

I posted a video of it on Youtube, saying how I wondered what it was.

I also posted pictures of some of the blossoms on Facebook.

My friend Martyn, who lives in Greece, told me that his wife thought it might be a blackthorn or sloe or, in Latin, prunus spinosa. I do think that is more or less right, as it is some kind of plum-like tree. I once saw a single fruit on it, many years ago. I thought it was a small plum, but it did not taste much like one. I haven't actually noticed any spines or thorns on the tree, but everything else seems to fit.

Meanwhile, these little tiny flowers by the house have really opened up.

I planted them many years ago, but have not given them any care since. They come in two colors.

I think they might be related to impatiens, but I am not sure. As I was admiring these flowers, the gardener came by with my new trees.

He planted four of them, but he did not have the saw he needed to remove the dead apple tree, so one will have to wait.

This is the information on one of my new peach trees.

You can see there already are some tiny peaches on it, though I doubt they will amount to much this year.

The other peach tree is called a Harvester peach.

My new apple trees are Gala apples and Autumn Beauty. They are not native to Missouri, but guess what? Apparently no apple tree is native to Missouri.

They are all exotic.

Blossoms n the Autumn beauty apple tree

One of the new apple trees already has open blossoms. The other is much smaller.

I only meant to replace the missing fruit trees this year, not to expand the orchard. But who knows, if this succeeds, I could add five new trees every year for the next ten years and have an orchard that might actually fill Bow's needs. Wouldn't that be nice?

The question is: how much labor would be involved to care for the trees and pick the fruit? Does it really require ten ordinary men working full time to do the work of a single chimpanzee? And if it does, might it not be easier to let the chimp pick his own fruit?

Maybe ten years from now, there will be a force field capable of keeping Bow within the borders of our property. In that case, we would have no need for metal bars or grids,

A bee on the pear blossoms from yesterday

In any event, there is no fear of not having enough pollinators for our orchard. The bees are more than willing to do their share of the work.


  1. Picking apples off trees can be a lot of work. I wonder if your trees succeed and you do not want to pick the apples if you could do what some of the apple orchard owners do here locally. People go up to the mountains every fall, and they will pay apple orchard owners to pick apples off the trees. If you could get a force field for Bow, perhaps that is another solution.

    1. Yes, I think there might be some solution similar to the one you suggested, Julia. However, I am not sure I would want the general public here so close to Bow, without being able to do a background check on them.

      It might be possible to invite interns during apple picking season. They might be paid with a share of the apples and a chance to help Bow would appeal young people interested in chimpanzees.

      A force field, though, would be really cool. And who knows, maybe by 2025 that will not seem so impossible.

  2. Aya, congratulations on your new fruit trees! Your planter may have already told you this, but since this is a new tree, it would be a good idea to remove the fruit from your new peach tree that has small fruit on it, . That way, the tree will redirect its energy to putting down new roots, instead of trying to finish / produce fruit (that won't amount to anything now anyway, as you noted already).
    Love all your blooming flowers and bee activity!
    I'm so glad you were able to ID your mystery tree!

    1. Hi, Kathy. Thanks! My planter did not actually tell me that, but I will follow your advice and remove the fruit from the new peach tree, Do you think the seeds could be used to make new trees? Or is it likely not to grow true to type?

      I wanted trees that had not been grafted, but I don't think that we ended up having much choice about that.

      Yes, I feel good knowing more about that mystery tree! If it gives fruit this year, I will try making jam. I will know not to eat it raw.

  3. Hi Aya, since the seeds are the last thing a tree puts its energy into producing, so it's likely they're not viable. But, it's hard to tell how mature the fruit is on this small tree, so what the heck...doesn't cost you anything to plant them and see what happens!