Friday, January 18, 2013

Snowed in and Power Out!

Our power went out last evening about 7 after about 9 inches of snow fell.  APCO estimates that our county won't be back online until Tuesday night, making it the third time in a year we have had power outages of more than 4 days (Jan '12 4 days, June 27 8 days and now 6 days).  

 My dog, Kookie, just loves the snow.  Unfortunately she can smell or hear a mouse or vole, then digs quickly to get it. How does she do it?

There were probably as many trees down in this storm as the derecho in June.  Here, two large poplars fell into an oak, beech, and box elder making them fall.   Luckily, this was the road up to the back part of our land and not our driveway where my husband had to cut down an eastern cedar that had fallen.

The sky was so clear--great if you have solar panels.  More and more, those of us who live in rural areas have to be very independent.   We do have a generator but gas is expensive.   So having more power alternatives is something we need to explore.

Monday, January 14, 2013

70 Degrees in January!

The temperature rose to 70 degrees both Saturday and Sunday here in southwest Virginia, breaking records in many localities.    Although I was still recuperating from a bout of flu, I enjoyed the fresh air in the backyard.

I put my dwarf lemon tree outside because it was covered with blooms. 

The fragrance of the many flowers attracted honey bees from my two hives within minutes.

 After a while, the bees were fighting to get to the nectar.  The honey bees use warm days in the winter to clean out the hive of dead bees.  I also observed them collecting water.

 Bees were seen on the heather shrub which has been blooming for about a month.  Heather is about the only bloom in the winter time (except witch hazel, see below). It is not native but an import from Scotland.  It is not invasive thankfully.  In fact, I wish it would grow better because the 9" shrub has only grown to about 30 inches in diameter in 10 years.   Still, it has never failed to bloom in the winter, even with snow.

The bees seemed to be collecting a white pollen (see the pollen sack on the bee's leg here)

I missed when the witch hazel trees bloomed in the woods---probably in December as I saw the whithered yellow blossoms on the trees.

With rain today and cooler temperatures (49 degrees), the bees are back inside their hives.