The paw paw trees are covered with blooms this year. Even trees with small diameter trunks have more blooms than they can possibly produce fruit. If only ten percent of the blooms produce fruit, there would be more fruit than in any of the previous seven years. The following pictures show the mass of purple blooms which are about one inch in diameter.
And, the first tick of Spring arrived on April 11, can Summer be far behind?
The June beetles (June bugs) arrived in late April this year. During the daytime they burrow down under ground and then come out at night to eat my pecan trees. As you can see in the following two pictures they tend to attack the top shoots of the pecan trees.
Last Fall after transplanting pecan trees from pots into the field, I sowed cereal rye around the trees. The following picture shows the rye at about five feet high and towering over the four foot high fence ring that surrounds the small tree. Those trees were not affected by the June beetles. I guess the beetles look for tall trees/plants to attack.
In May, 2015, the beetles did major damage to many of the young pecan trees that I had planted the previous Fall – they completely defoliated some of the small trees. Those trees did survive and grew back leaves but their growth has been slow. Trying to prune the affected trees to a central leader in 2015 was practically impossible. But, in 2016, there was very minor damage by the June bugs. This year they are back and attacking pecan trees. This on year/off year cycle fits the pattern noted by some writers. One interesting item to note is that in May, 2016, that same field had thousands of fire flies at night and there were some dead beetle shells seen in the daytime. The weather has been cooler this year and when the temperature is 50 degrees or below the fire files do not fly around at night.
One method I am considering to combat the beetles involves useing ducks and lights. By placing a light out in the field at night with a pool of water under it and some ducks near by, the beetles might come to the light and fall down into the water to make soup for the ducks. But, it would be necessary to prevent the owls and critters from crashing the party. Although chickens go to bed a sundown, ducks can party all night long.
There is one group of easter flowers that always bloom a week or two before the others. This year the first blooms came out on February 28, 2017, as the following photo shows. Although I thought that was early, I found a picture of the same flowers from last year that was dated March 7, 2016.
And, as the following photo shows the elderberries are also leafing out.
Last October I collected some Chinese chestnuts from the Chestnut Charlie Orchard in Lawrence. After placing them in plastic bags with enough moist moss to cover them I stored them in the refrigerator at a temperature of about 35 degrees F. A note about the plastic bags: I poke a few tiny air holes near the top of the plastic bag after enclosing the nuts. One year I double bagged the nuts before placing them in the refrigerator, and, when I opened up the bags in April there was a strong aroma of alcohol and the nuts had spoiled.
In February the nuts started sprouting. By mid April most of the nuts had a single small white root growing out of them. I then placed each sprouted seed nut in a one gallon plastic pot and put the pot in a wire cage box to keep away the mice and squirrels. Although it would have been better to put them in pots earlier, they should still produce small trees this summer. The following two pictures show the box with the pots inside.
The following two pictures show a pretty flower that has popped up in road side ditches during the last couple of weeks. I need to do some research to figure out what it is.
The first buzzard of 2016 was sighted as it soared/floated around on the strong and gusty March winds on March 15. The winds were so strong that it was doing acrobatics and never even flapped its wings.
This past week I cleaned out the bluebird houses installed in previous years – six had nests from last year, one had fallen down, and the entry hole of one had been redesigned by woodpeckers making it inhospitable.
After making two more houses I put them up out in the field by attaching them to t-posts and placing a piece of metal pipe on the post between the ground and the house. The pictures below show one of them.
One of these days I hope to put up a martin house and also construct a small shed for barn swallows to build their mud nests in and poop all over any equipment stored inside it.