I feel like we are moving into the less glamorous, or at least less interesting, chores of the season. The garden is in and growing, the goats are in and growing, the bees are in and growing. Now it’s time for digging holes, pulling weeds, fixing pipes. It’s hard, sweaty work, and as soon as you’re done with one task, another one pops up demanding immediate attention. It’s life in the country.
Digging a hole, for example. Well don’t expect to use a shovel. No, around here the ground is pretty much just hard clay and rocks. Digging a hole involves prying rocks free from the earth: a pounding, bone jarring assault with a heavy metal rock bar. Like a Black Sabbath concert, only nobody’s biting the heads off my chickens.
Nothing is just simple and flat. Go ahead and dig your hole, but you’re going to have to brace that fencepost to get to set straight. So the fenceposts went in for the expanded chicken run. But the concrete needs a few days to set before we can put up the fencing. Meanwhile the chickens are without a proper run. They will just go straight to the goat pen from the coop and back again.
Then it was time to start a loathsome project: Ripping out the evil, insidious vinca (also known as perriwinkle) vines that are literally EVERYWHERE. I have resigned to leaving huge sections of it alone because it’s just too overwhelming. However, the back of the house had a nice sloped bed I really want to plant will bee friendly perennials, so I have been waging a war back there. I have pulled it, weed-wacked it, even – I am ashamed to say – sprayed it with weed killer. Nothing short of completely removing the entire layer of topsoil on which it grows will suffice, because you have to get all the roots. So we did this in the full sun today. It took two of us about an hour and a half to clear this section. It was super fun.
We just have a little bit more to do…
One really exciting thing though, when I was out fixing a leaking irrigation pipe, I went and checked out the ancient olive tree up close. Here it is from a distance. It is HUGE.
I saw that it was totally covered with flowers – just about to open.
I did a little reading about olive trees and learned that they only bloom when temperature conditions are exactly right, cool in the evening and warm during the day. It may be why I’ve never noticed flowers on this old tree before. I’ve also never noticed flowers on the young trees we planted ourselves several years ago. Olive flowers are very fragrant, but from what I’ve read, bees aren’t usually attracted to them. They are mainly wind pollinated, and they are self pollinating. I am definitely going to keep a close eye on this tree and see what happens when the flowers open. It surprised me to learn that bees don’t like the flowers, because they seem so similar to the coffeeberry bush flowers the bees are so crazy about. I wonder if the bees will go to the olive tree because it’s so close to the hive. If not, we’ll just pray for some wind. Olive harvest in the fall! Yippee!