Monday, July 5, 2010

inflated and exploding fabaceae

Mowing the lawn with an electric mower is a pretty hateful task, but mowing the lawn with a reel mower is almost enjoyable. You can hear the birds sing, watch butterflies (I had to wait a few times for cabbage whites to finish nectaring at the hawkweed; luckily for the butterflies the reel mower tends to just roll over some of the taller, wirier plants like hawkweed, so even after I mow there's still plenty of flowers.) Today I also got to stop and watch a bumblebee pollinating my snap peas. The bee crawled inside the flower, and the petals puffed up like a balloon. Once inside the flower, the bumblebee made a high-pitched buzzing noise, different than the buzzing they make in flight. I got to watch the butt end of the bee a few times when she was working, and if the buzzing was made with her wings, they were moving too fast for me to see.

Later today I went for a neighborhood walk. The lupine is more or less finished up for the year, although there are some stalks that are still blooming and some that haven't even started yet. Last week the seed pods were still all green, but this week they are starting to turn black, which means that they are ready to harvest if you want to use the seeds to plant your own lupine. A few days after they turn dry and black, the pods explode and fling the seed, so you've got to get the pods after they turn black but before they explode. (And after you pick them, store them in a paper bag so the pods can breath and when they do explode you don't lose the seed.) I picked some green pods last week and they are starting to turn black now, too. I'll plant the harvested-green and harvested-black in different plots and compare germination rates.

(And it turns out my cell phone camera can take serviceable pics if the light is right.)

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