|Seignac Guillame: The Muse|
It's no secret that bloggers sometimes get tired of blogging. The blog becomes a drag, man. When the wife starts referring to herself as a "Blog Widow," to a newspaper reporter no less? Houston, we have a problem!
Sometimes, we just plain run out of ideas. I mean, how many times can I write about the subject of garlic before it gets a little plain and a little dull? I've written so much about heirloom tomatoes that nothing comes as a surprise anymore. Suddenly, blogging becomes a chore.
That's when things go south. While most bloggers try to make it work with advertising, and some do a pretty good job at making a living, most of us do this for the joy of "putting pen to paper." This is nothing more than our journal -- a cyber journal at that. "Dear Diary, today that little girl with red hair threw a tomato at me..."
For some bloggers, even the good writers, the stress is just too much. They up and quit. They don't come back. The blogging landscape is littered with "dead blogs" that haven't been updated for years. One of the latest bloggers to put down the pen is Prudence Pennywise, a wonderful writer with a sharp wit.
Guess what? She got tired. I don't hear from Prudy anymore. I miss hearing from her. Prudy came up with some fantastic recipes and the blog earned her a spot on a local cooking show. It earned awards. It earned a faithful readership. It earned well-deserved attention. But not anymore.
Does this mean Bill Bird is going away? Hah! Fat chance Fredo! Dream on dude! This is still a lot of fun for me, although I don't have the time I once had to pay attention to it. I don't update it as often as I would like. Sometimes I lose focus. Sometimes I run out of ideas -- or I don't know how to frame a particular subject or post. Call it "Blogger Block." It's like writer's block. Yes, we get it too.
And then -- that "moment" comes. It always does. It's a seminal moment. Something happens -- somewhere -- and you are literally struck with inspiration. The block that frustrated you time and again is suddenly gone. You can't type fast enough.
|Artichoke in Bloom|
Sometimes that inspiration will come from the wife that is Venus. Sometimes? It comes from a different blog posting -- perhaps something that Farmer Fred Hoffman wrote about earlier in his blog. In this particular case -- my inspiration stemmed from one, simple, solitary line: BLOOMING ARTICHOKES: BEE CRACK.
It's the title of a post written by Sacramento garden blogger Carri Stokes and it brought a smile to my face as soon as I read it. Carri has a rather unique and wonderful way of communication in her blog. Not only is the posting true -- it's laugh out loud funny. And -- I may not have been the only blogger inspired by this posting. Some days later, Farmer Fred would write about "following a friend in the garden."
|Hello Kitty Hive|
The posting also made me think about what my colony has been feeding on this spring and summer. The bees inside that neon-pink Hello Kitty hive have been literally humming with activity. The numbers inside that hive have increased exponentially and the hive is now back to pre-swarm levels. I have once again been blessed with a strong queen. A strong queen means a strong hive.
But a strong hive also requires a strong food or pollen source. The Bird Back 40 will never contain enough blooming plants to fill that need -- but I've come to discover (happily I might add) that the colony has found numerous and abundant pollen sources in the yards and parks that dot North Natomas. In other words, they're doing just fine.
If there is one side benefit to budget cutbacks in the Sacramento City Parks and Recreation Program, it would have to be the state of numerous parks in North Natomas. The acres of grass set aside for family fun and gatherings are no longer bright green and tightly manicured as they once were. Although this might sound bad, it's actually been a benefit to all things bee.
|Typical North Natomas Park: Covered in Clover|
Without the constant maintenance and upkeep, clover has proliferated throughout park settings. Clover does not react well to many modern lawn fertilizers. In many cases, clover has been classified as a "nuisance weed," and the lawn fertilizers are specially formulated to knock it out. This is especially vexing to bee colonies. For if blooming artichokes are indeed "bee crack," then clover would represent the Surf n' Turf restaurant special. Bees can't get enough of it.
No matter how hard I try -- I haven't been able to track colony flights out of the Bird Back 40. I can tell which general direction they're heading. But once a bee picks up speed, it's very easy to lose sight of them. There is no doubt in my mind, however, that they found nearby parks inviting. A close check of those fields of clover revealed hundreds if not thousands of them, collecting as much pollen as possible before flying back home.
|Honeybee Raiding Clover: North Natomas|
Were they bees that belonged to the Hello Kitty Hive? That's somewhat impossible to tell. But the nice thing about pollen sources is this: they are plentiful and usually multiply in abundance. Plants that produce the kinds of pollen that bees can't resist are often the cheapest forms of landscaping found anywhere. And the new subdivisions that have sprouted out near Sacramento International Airport are planted with acres of pollen producers. There is no shortage of pollen out north.
Intentional? I think not. Cost is usually the determining factor in the growth of new subdivisions -- that and housing demand (which there hasn't been much of lately). But some how, some way, it works. Nature has found a way.
Bee Crack indeed.