The cooling of the weather, is giving El Noor Gardens a much needed sigh of relief.
After a night downpour of 11mm, I feel I can finally relax with the farm for a good couple of weeks. The weather temperature has been kind, and everything is recuperating from the never-ending dry Summer.
After being on El Noor for a few years now, I am STILL, constantly learning about my soils and land. Every day and season is different from the previous, and one does not know what to expect. It is okay when plants are well established, but in the beginning stages, there is always expected growing pains. These can be costly, and mostly frustrating, but the more I pay attention, the more I learn and can better apply myself for the seasons to come. One part of my farm that has done extremely well, is the new bed of roses I put in mid last year. They seemingly coped extremely well with the dry Summer, (See the lovely hybrid tea Pope John Paul ll above), and did better than most of the roses at El Noor.
Things inside (and around) the new shade house are doing well, but it will be interesting to see how they cope with the winter inside. Enough Sunlight? Who knows, but it is all experimental. Above is the glass gem corn doing extremely well, I wonder if I will see cobs in the Winter!?!
I also have almost 100 date palms germinated now. Its been a long time coming, some are quicker to germinate than others but the main thing is I am still going to have plenty to plant out in the paddock in late April, early May. I was tossing up whether or not to leave them in their pots for an entire year, but I know once they are in the ground, they tend to grow much quicker, as opposed to staying in their pots.
I have created a lovely mulch type soil, and there are plenty of weeds that come up with this, but I leave them, as they are good nitrogen fixers, and the dates seedlings seem to be doing okay existing beside them.
I have also started pulling apart the old hot house, dismantling all the bent metal, pulled out all the uneven screws, and its been a job.
It is a total mess, but I am slowly brining order back in. Tomatoes are still going strong inside! All the zucchini is pretty much finished now, but I am just letting things grow as they want.
I have since moved the shade cloth over to the other shade house frame, and now I have my baby eucalyptus inside.
Its a bit of a rough-and-tumble type of job, but it DOES the job, which is the main thing. And the good thing about porous shade mesh is that the wind flows right through, without creating windsails through the skies. That was always the big problem I had with the heavy duty plastic--that and way too much heat was generated.
It is the first day that I have allowed the baby eucalyptus to have no lid on top of them.
It has been a very experimental time with the germination of the eucalyptus. Again, as true to form, the first lot I killed with too much love, and so this time around, I have done barely any over head watering, have had them covered for up to a month, and now I have just sat them in a shallow bath of water to allow the elements to take over. I did have to run out in my PJ's last night as it was raining to cover them with a lid so they avoided being waterlogged. They need to harden up now, and so I look forward to see how they develop in the next couple of weeks. Eventually I will need to seperate them into their own pots (I have made these out of newspaper) and hope I can be as gentle as possible.
Pictured above, is a lime tree. Citrus is the ONE plant that I have struggled with, ever since I came to El Noor. I tried planting in different soils, and yet still it died. A few weeks ago, I went out and watered each citrus I had (total of 4) for almost 10 minutes each. I thought to myself "Well, if they are struggling with the Summer, then THIS will fix them!"
How wrong I was.
After the watering, I noticed my orange tree, that had struggled all Summer, dying off EVEN MORE. I was dumbfounded. But then I thought about it. Perhaps the citrus is fine with the soil, but it is my WATER that is killing them! So, as part of an experiment, I decided, that every few days, I would give them a drink of a couple of buckets of rain water.
The results are speaking for themselves. I have new growth on all of them. The orange has new growth but it is slow right now (as pictured) but the other citrus is thriving. I will keep going on with this experiment over the next 3 months, but even now, I am convinced it is my water that is killing the citrus. I think I had in my mind that since other plants are fine with my well water, I figured the citrus must be also, and that it was a soil condition. I am learning that it is perhaps the other way around...
Its that time of the year again, where I have collected all of my rose hips, and started the stratification period.
All seeds require different germination methods, as I also describe below. However, for roses, they need to be stratified for 2-3 months in total cold dormancy which mimics 'winter'. Well, we are moving into winter anyway, but I want to get the ball rolling with these seeds. These hips are mainly from my beloved Boscobel rose--one of my best smelling, best performing roses of all time!
In nature, after a couple of "Winter seasonings" a stratification period isn't necessary. Old seeds tend to germinate better than the newer ones, I have found from experience.
I am also introducing Banksia and Protea onto El Noor. I love Banksia, being a very pretty, hardy native, and I love Protea for its beauty and its ancientness. The Protea species is one of the oldest living species of plants in the world, dating back over 300 million years ago, originating from Gondwana.
Gondwana separated, and the Protea species became endemic to South Africa, but Australia, oddly enough, apparently has more species of Protea than South Africa!
Seeds can be very odd little things, requiring extreme and differing germination methods. The wonderfully strange thing about Banksia & Protea is that they need SMOKE treatment in order to germinate. In nature, these plants germinate after a fire has gone through the land, so when I bought all my Protea & Banksia, it came with 'smoke paper'.
Smoke paper is a specialised disc of paper containing all the smoke chemicals needed for germination. If you don't get smoke paper, you can make a small fire, smoke it up, and then put the seeds over the smoke. How the seeds know they have been 'smoked up' is beyond me, but fascinating all the same.
All throughout the Summer, I have noted the most peculiar thing. Being that I have many flowers and plants, there are many bees. They have been coming to Chook's water to drink up on those thirsty hot days. I try and put a bunch of pine needles in the water, to support them and stop them from falling in and drowning. Unfortunately, there have been many that have fallen in and have drowned, however EVERY single bee that I have rescued from the water--has survived.
I would like to share with you the most extraordinary ability I have found in bees. And that is their ability to be revived under the most extreme circumstances. There are times where I know a bee that has fallen in the water, has been submerged for HOURS.
Some I catch as they are still struggling and seemingly alive, absolutely exhausted from their ordeal...and these ones, I scoop up from the water, sit them on my hand whilst they preen themselves and dry, and within a few minutes, they are off again to the next flower. However more often than not, there are those that are submerged and have been underwater, as I observe, for a very very long time--upwards 1+ hours or more.
STILL, under these circumstances, I fish them out, and perhaps after a half an hour of careful nurturing, moving their legs for them (still unconscious, or perhaps even clinically dead) stroking their tongue, or gently moving their wings, or blowing warm air onto them in the sun, they show tiny tiny signs of life again, until they begin the preening process again, have a little rest and take off, perhaps after an hour. But today, I found a bee, sunk down on the bottom of the water container. I knew from her condition, the softness of her body, that she had been there for perhaps even 4-5 hours. (I hadn't checked the water this morning. She could have even been there overnight in freezing water.
I quickly fetched her out, and let her dry. After a half hour, I came back to check on her. No sign of life. Another half hour--again no sign of life. Every half hour, I came to check on her. She was absolutely gone. I had done all my usual tricks of bee nursing, and none of them worked. Her tongue had been completely stretched out and for the first time, I accepted that this could have been the very first bee that had actually died.
Still, I left her on my table in partial sun, and perhaps 4 hours later, half expecting her to perhaps have blown off the table, or taken by a bird or ants (I did have her protected but the winds are shocking here) there she was, still there, lifeless--HOWEVER, her tongue had retracted. Whether this was simply nerves, or there was a tiny pulse of life, I wasn't sure, but anyway, I tried moving her legs and stroking her back. Shockingly, there were tiny tiny twitches in response.
I sat her in partial sun, and if she was slowly returning to consciousness, then I let Mother Nature do the rest. Every 1/2 hour again, I came back, and lo and behold, she WAS coming back to life--more movement, although very weak and shaky, but her abdomen was pulsing. She was alive! It was extraordinary to see this. I nursed some more, gave her some sun and warmth in my hand and slowly, as the day rolled on, more life returned to her.
I sat her in a geranium leaf, as you see picture, and let her bask in the sun on her own, and let her rest. She was obviously very exhausted and in a poor state, and I would have left her outside, as is natural for them, but she obviously wasn't well enough to fly, and return to the colony. I brought her inside for the night to sleep in a towel.
I am absolutely blown away by a bee's remarkable ability to be revived. I am not sure if this is studied, or known, (and I would hate if there were bees subjected to this type of experimentation) but the fact that this is happening is incredible to me. Perhaps they have some type of anatomical component to their body that has some type of valve to preserve the body's standard functioning? Perhaps they are able to stop or start their own heart?!
Or perhaps they can even control the actual pulse of life itself at will, allowing themselves to slip in or out of physical reality. I couldn't tell you what happens, but I know their revival capabilities are nothing that I have ever witnessed before. Do you know of any other creature that does this? Perhaps other insects have this ability also. Just because these creatures are smaller than us, doesn't mean they are any less capable--in fact, perhaps they are more than capable. Studies have shown that not only can bee's recognise a face (Dr Dyer, findings reported in the Journal for Experimental Biology 2005) but they can also sense the electrical field around a flower--a bit like seeing an aura.
I seem to believe it goes even further than that.
Our cosmic brothers and sisters, have mentioned how our ancestors have done incredible research on the 'Ultimate Atom' aka (All That Is), and found that there was one elemental driving factor, the emotion of Love, that was the driving force that brought the two opposites together. Proton (+) and electron (-), Male and Female etc... and that this fundamental emotion is the basis within all living creatures.
We have seen within many animals on the planet, that unconditional aspect of love that they have. We see it in our dogs, our cats, and even our chickens. (!!!)
I do not believe any creature is the exception. And this applies to insects also.
I believe insects, in particular bees, can perhaps 'read' the frequency of our electromagnetic body. How they do this, I am not sure, but it would be something similar to the 'reading' of an aura field. But not only could they scan the body of the current state, but they can also read the emotional frequency, determining whether or not, an individual is a threat, danger, or benevolent and friendly.
Furthermore, the other week I saw an extraordinary encounter with a lady who is called "The Shark Dancer". She is a woman that not only swims with wild sharks, but they come and 'rest' in her lap. She even takes hooks that have been lodged in their mouth (or body) and removes them. What's even more extraordinary, is that the sharks that have been helped by her, go and tell their friends, and so other sharks that have had the misfortune of also getting hooks in them, COME TO HER, to have THEIR hooks removed. I was absolutely struck when I saw this, and moved beyond measure.
The Shark Dancer has successfully removed over 300 hooks. I believe the sharks have all communicated with each other, and sense the undulated love and care this woman has for them.
As I say, all Creatures, great and small, share this common denominator of Love within them. Not at all the passionate kind of love that we commonly associate Love with, but rather, it is this pure, 'Universal Love' that governs all things, and it was this kind of Love that was the impetus of the initial "Primal Desire" for All that Is to expand and progress.
And I believe bee's have this too.
I have seen pictures of bee's sleeping with each other, holding the other's 'toes' for them, and their commitment to the perfected preservation of the Whole (Colony) is utterly flawless. The same applies to the ant colony, or any insect for that matter. Everything is perfectly orchestrated, perfectly in order and everything runs smoothly. (We humans could learn a thing or two!)
So I believe in conclusion of this dire encounter, that Miss Bee, feels my appreciation and deep love for the preservation of her life. And being an empath, I feel it reciprocated. Creatures can feel all things. (Ever heard the saying a bee can smell fear???) One might be thinking "But its just one bee!!!". Yes, but what if YOU were that one bee? Every single creature within Creation is not inferior to some superior entity just because it is smaller in stature...it is simply a different expression of Creation.
So, all is well at El Noor Gardens. The chooks and I are looking forward to the hunkering down of Winter. Summer is always the most challenging season for all of us, by far. Winter, although busy with indoor work, gives a break from the business of Summer (watering) but this year, I hope to prepare myself more smartly than I did last year. And being that the date palms in particular will be another year older, hopefully they will not struggle with the pangs of Summer this year like they did last.
Wishing you all wonderful abundance, health and peace upon the Earth, wherever you are!
Andulairah, Deema, Shallaha, Erethae & Venus