Update on the Cheerios seed mix

I discussed the Cheerios seed mix ad nauseum, but despite all the complexities of the issue, you can’t tell me there’s anything wrong with this picture of my niece petting a bumblebee on one of the flowers she grew herself from seed (picture by her mama, my sister). In short, my niece learning that flowers are good and bees are good and bees like flowers…there’s gotta be some good in all that. I’ll teach her the nuances when she’s older. (Also, she lives in an urban area where any floral resources are better than none!)


Cycles of Gratitude

Bicycle theft is a serious problem in Dublin.

Serious. As in I visited a woman who lived on the second floor (third floor for you Americans) and she used to store her bicycle on the balcony…until it was stolen one night. That means a bicycle thief climbed two stories and picked up a bike and then climbed down with it two stories. Very athletic thieves!

A next door neighbor told my landlord that he once caught a thief *cutting through the roof of his shed* to steal a bicycle. Come on!

I’ve been told that there is virtually no way that I can securely lock my bike up outdoors, so up he comes every day to my office on the third floor (fourth floor for you Americans), riding on my shoulder for three flights of stairs. (I can’t help but feel that my bike is a little smug when the tables are turned and I have to carry him around for once!)

I had a moment of overwhelming gratitude the other day…I was cycling to check out a new site on the south side of the city, about 20 km away. All of the sudden, I was just struck by awe that this little sliver of aluminium with skinny rubber tyres that I can carry on my shoulder can take me anywhere…anywhere! I’ve been averaging 120 miles a week on Sabre (the name of my bike*) to all my field sites, and if I want to cycle 20 km to the south of the city, I just hop on and away we go! It’s incredible isn’t it?

Sabre has been doing an incredible job of transporting me to all my field sites this season. He had a bad day last week where he snapped a gear shift cable AND got a half inch screw jammed through his tyre, but I had him all patched up and raring to go within the same day.

Sometimes I realize that I’ve been taking something amazing for granted, and then I look around and think, what an amazing device this bicycle is. It requires no fuel and can be parked anywhere. I can carry it on my shoulder or walk beside it. I can carry an incredible amount of supplies on my back and travel great distances.

I guess that’s why they are so valuable!

Addendum: Do not get strep throat during field season. Just don’t do it!

*In case you’re wondering, I shipped Sabre over from the US…it cost about 250USD and it would have cost at least that much to get a decent used bike over here. Bikes are expensive! He was way cheaper to ship than my beloved Ghost, becaue Sabre is a compact (only two gears, shorter in length and height). I’m glad I did too, because I was grateful to see a familiar face when he arrived and he’s been my constant companion ever since!

More bumblebee photos

Slightly better ones…
Bombus lucorum aggregate (remember these can’t be distinguished, includes terrestris, lucorum, cryptarum, and magnus)
Bombus lucorum agg
“I fell over”
Bombus lucorum agg
Purple Phacelia pollen in the pollen baskets
Bombus lucorum agg

Common Carder (Bombus pascuorum)
Common Carder
Also enjoying the Phacelia, you may notice a theme…
Common Carder
I plant six species of native, perennial Irish wildflowers
Common Carder
And the bees prefer this non-native annual from the southwest US
Common Carder
Of course!