Picking Up Pears

We have two pear trees on the property. Two very large pear trees. An arborist, who recently visited, pegged the age of each tree at between fifty and seventy years old. In talking with one of our neighbors this spring, it was mentioned that much of the land through this sliver of St. Paul, was once part of an orchard at the beginning of the twentieth century. Depending upon how you look at it, our trees could have been planted toward the end of the orchard’s formal existence, or these trees (the pears and the old apple trees) are from happenstance seedlings.

Last year, we had just moved in at the beginning of August. I am not recalling that we had as many pears (or apples for that matter) as we have this year. It might be a combination of a couple things – (1) we fenced in much of the yard for the hounds; (2) we have four stacks of expensive pollinators at the back of the property – honeybees.

With the fence in place, fallen fruit is not being eaten by the herd of whitetail deer that live in the forest that covers this part of St. Paul. This means that we maybe seeing a more accurate account of the volume of fruit from the trees. Secondly, we have the honeybees. This spring, just prior to my epic Yukon road trip, the pear trees were in bloom. The trees were buzzing with honeybee activity.

Whatever the mainspring of the volume of pears is, it is kind of irrelevant at this point in the season. We have a lot of pears. We have cleaned up the yard four times, and I suspect we will be picking up pears at least once more before the snow flies.

So, I picked up the pears, again. This time, I did what I like to do with videoing things: recorded it, and then sped it up. Enjoy. The variety of pear, at least those that I am picking up, as far as I can tell, are Seckel pears.


Late Summer Bees

Here and there the leaves of the walnut trees on our property are starting to change color and drop to the ground.  Walking around the yard, I have noticed many goldenrod soldier beetles (Chauliognathus pennsylvanicus).

They are relatively common in our area.  I have seen these little insects on the various rudbeckia we have planted in and along the edge of the yard.  I have also seen them on the blossoms of the fancy pumpkins in the garden.  Their range is much of North America, but I really do not recall seeing them in the Duluth area – then again, I am sure I was not privy to most of the insects at the old place.

These little goldenrod soldier beetles are aptly named as they show up on the scene right around when goldenrods – the flower – are in full bloom.  For about a week and a half, the ditches and roadsides near the house have been full to the brim with blooming goldenrod.  Driving down into Mower County, over the weekend – to check the other hives – between the branching sunflowers and the goldenrods, much of the ditch-space and spots here and there around transmission poles were awash with yellow.

Last week, in the evening, it was still hot outside and there was a breeze coming from the east.  Generally, the winds have a more westerly origination; from over the Mississippi River, over Pig’s Eye Lake, up the little bluff, across highway 61, toward the the house, and beyond – pressing its way up the hill at the rear of the property.  Instead, the breeze was pushing down that hill.

The air – going from the patio at the back of the house toward the rear of our lot – smelled sweet and musky.  I was surprised the neighbors did not mention the peculiar smell.  It was, however, a ver familiar smell to us: goldenrod nectar being transformed into goldenrod honey.

Several years ago, when we had the first two hives at the house in Proctor, the physician who was my beekeeping mentor told me that I would know when the bees were working the goldenrod – your hives would stink like gym socks.

I like to think of it as being a rugged smelling creation.  Something that Charles Bronson would have put in his tea.

So, if there is one thing that symbolizes late summer bees – or more precisely, the start of fall, it is goldenrod and the musky scent of hives with its nectar.

Below – nothing to do with goldenrod, it is just a few seconds of bees coming and going from their hives.  Listen to the sound of the cicadas.