Back Yard, Mushrooms, Bees, and an Intruder

Tom and I spent a good deal of time this weekend finishing up the sheet mulching in the back yard. We are not quite done; we ran out cardboard.

We realized that this has been the biggest sheet mulch area yet. Tom has blisters, even though he wore gloves, and we consumed a good bit of Ibuprofen the last few days. Now, we wait: To find more cardboard, for the rain to stop, for the mood to hit us again. It'll be good not to use the wheelbarrow for at least five days.

The rain showed up in earnest today. It's been interesting to see what kind of mushrooms come from this new pine mulch.

One day closed....

the next, open!

Remember those mushroom plugs we inoculated into logs? They've done absolutely nothing. But the mulch grows every kind of mushroom I can think of, with absolutely no help from anyone.

The rain made it through the row covers and into the raised beds just fine, and I really notice a difference in the size of the kale and spinach seedlings - they grew a lot just in the time those have been up. So they must be benefitting from the increase in temperature under there.

As for the bees: I went out again yesterday, before the rain started, to see if there was any hive activity. There are a few bees going in and out, but they act strange - sort of drunk. Loopy. Not quite making it in to the hive on the first try, falling down, rolling upside down. There were several more dead bees on the landing. I'm going to wait a week, and if there is no positive change, I will clean out the hive and store everything for winter. (I can't wait too long before harvesting the honey in the hive, or wasps/mice/wax moths will get it.) I'll try again in the spring with a new colony; I'm a confirmed beekeeper, now. However, I continue to be quite upset about this event. It's a bit like losing a pet. I really cared about the hive. I think about the beekeepers (like my dad, and many many others) who have lost hive after hive, the same way, and it hurts my heart.

To add insult to injury, as I was sitting at the hive, this guy came out from under the house.

Yep. It's a rat.

Argh. I've had it with nature, for a while. Time to get back in the work/school routine.