The buckwheat bloomed a month after planting. I was hopeful that I could get a crop in before my  winter planting, and I did! The plant is quite lovely, with heart-shaped leaves and delicate white flowers.

I'm seeing lots of interesting pollinators on the flowers, some I've never seen before, like tiny flies and native bees.

The timing now is tricky; I need to turn the entire crop under in 7-10 days after it blooms, in order to prevent it going to seed. I will spade it up, turn it upside down, and let the forage rot under a layer of dirt. Then, about a week after that, I can plant all my winter crops.

Unfortunately, I have seen my honeybees show only a cursory interest in the plant. I'm hoping that when more flowers open up, the bees will go AHA! and they will swarm it. Buckwheat honey is supposed to taste quite unique, and I'm hoping I will get to try a bit of buckwheat nectar.

Speaking of bees, I watched an interesting movie called "Queen of the Sun" - available on Netflix - which might be the best bee movie I've seen yet. Though there are some interesting characters and some dubious statements about the more, shall we say, 'metaphysical' aspects some feel from keeping bees, most of it was grounded in science and good information. I learned from this film that I am a biodynamic beekeeper - which basically means I let them live as they want to. I let them build their own comb, I let them swarm when they want to (rather than trying to prevent it), and I let them keep a significant portion of their honey to eat, rather than taking the honey and feeding them high fructose corn syrup. I also plan to treat any diseases or pests in a natural way, without chemicals. This all means biodynamic, I guess. I dunno, I just want the hive to express their bee-ness as much as possible, which sounds frighteningly close to those metaphysical aspects I was talking about earlier. (There's one guy in the film that does yoga in his pajamas next to the hive and meditates with the bees. I'm not there yet.)

I watched the bees in my cucumber flowers this morning - and remembered that 4 out of every 10 bites we eat is due to pollinators.

Dad made me a sort of 'cleat' to close off part of the hive entrance. This will serve two purposes - one, to help them defend the entrance more easily by making it smaller (the amount of yellow jackets skulking around, even with my traps, is staggering) - and two, to help keep the inside of the hive warmer. It's quite handy to have a father who can provide me with these items when I need them! And not only are they functional, they are beautiful. I had two ladies stop by my yard the other day and comment about the beautiful beehive in my backyard.

In other news, we are having a mast year for acorns, at least in California. (Researching this phenomenon caused me to read an article from the UK, where they are having a 'drought' year for acorns, and it's causing some distress.) There is actually something called "The California Acorn Report," but there are no results for 2014 as of yet. However, in my experience, this is definitely a mast year. I've read various things about it, and I'm not sure I can be backed up by science. But there are places in the open space where I walk continuously on acorns, rather than earth. Well, whatever the reason, the squirrels and the turkeys are happy.

Yesterday we celebrated Adam's 13th birthday, a bit early, with a pool party. I think this picture sums up the fun that was had.