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Author Topic: My afternoon with the fan, the Phacelia and fun!!!  (Read 1652 times)
Cindi
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« on: February 17, 2008, 10:08:13 AM »

Yesterday was a very productive day.  I was up early, spent some wonderful morning time and coffee with Hannah, my billet from the interior of our province.  She came down to enjoy a weekend beekeeping course with my Aisan instructor who taught me my first two levels of beekeeping, in April 2005.  We both got up early (5:00 A.M.) sat, like two computer geeks, looking and reading about bee stuff.  My Husband got a kick out of it, both of us so busy with our laptops, visiting, minorly discussing stuff (we were so busy on the internet that we barely had time to talk, hee, hee), this made him chuckle.

Ooooh, where was I?  Right, I drove Hannah to the farm where Dr. Bee has his apiary and all other kinds of wonderful things.  He is a wonderful and great instructor, he loves his bees, takes excellent care of them, and any student that comes to learn of his teachings.  I spent lots of time on the internet when I first took his courses, e-mailing him questions like there was no tomorrow. He always took the time to respond, to teach me through cyberspace as well.  I admire this man that took me into the fascinating world of the honeybee.

Rats, I had  a story to tell of the Phacelia Tanacetifolia winnowing, but you know me, I ramble so, and I get so off topic.

I gathered myriads of Phacelia last summer, with the intention of sitting during the cooler days of autumn, winnowing these seeds, but never got around to it.  We went from summer to winter almost immediately, without the late summer sunny days that allow me this pleasure of sitting in the sun, dropping the seeds and their casings and chaff from my sitting position to the bucket below, allowing the mild breezes to blow the chaff away.  That is my autumn pleasure with the seeds.  Now I had to take this and create an artificial breeze, but it was still a pleasure to do.

I had about 1/2 of a big green garbage can full of phacelia stuff, lots of winnowing to do.  My first job was to remove as much of the stalks and stuff as I could.  THis was the lengthy process, it must be strained through a very large strainer I have.  Task performed.  Now that leaves me with a 5 gallon pail full of fluff, dust, and seeds.  The stalks and stuff will be scattered around my property, as there will be hundreds of seeds still left in that, the picture on the left  is the 12 gallon pai and is the stalks and stuff, the picture on the right is the fluff and seeds:



Now comes the messy part.  I have an fan that has a stand, it is fairly tall, (if you have a fan you will know that I mean, hee, hee).  I take the fluff and seed and drop this in the air above the fan that is gently blowing, just like the warm summer breeze, the chaff and fluff and dust is blown away, the seed falls to the large garbage can below.  I use the large garbage can to catch the seed, so that the seed does not fall outside the area.  This winnowing is performed about 4 times and eventually, all that remains in the large garbage can is the seed, which is heavier than all the chaff and dust.  I end up with about 1/3 of a 5 gallon bucket of seed, this seed is beautiful.  To pick up the seed and feel it, I can only equate it to the feel of flaxseed that I would pick up in a handfful in a feed sack that I would give to my horses.  I remember this feeling, that shiney and slippery flackseed, that felt so cool.  Wheat and oats have that same feeling to me too.



Now the last part is to dump these seeds into a ziploc bag, the process is complete.  Beautiful, wonderful seed, about 2 pounds I would say.



Phacelia is a wonderful source of nectar and pollen for the bees.  The pollen in the pollen sacs is clearly visible when the bees work it.  It is a beautiful dark purple, I understand that fireweed provides this dark purple pollen as well.





The bees work phacelia like there is nothing on this earth, the flowers are intriguing to the human eye, and make the most beautiful picture of a flower close up.  I have lots of seed here, if you would like some.  It is an annual that self-seeds and if you have this plant to have and hold on your property, it is yours forever and ever.  Enjoy your day, love your life you live, and love our earth.  Cindi
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JP
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« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2008, 11:34:54 AM »

Very well done post Cindi! And great photos!


.....JP
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annette
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« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2008, 12:36:09 PM »

Yes, Cindi I would like some. Perhaps a small packet would be great. Would it grow here in our hot, dry conditions???

Annette
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Cindi
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« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2008, 08:08:08 AM »

Annette, I could be the world supplier I have so much, hee, hee, smiling.   This phacelia seed that I have I will use some of it to spread in different places.  The original area of phacelia I will never ever have to sow again, the places that I sowed last year are the same, never again, the places that I sow never again.  These are one of the most prolific self-seeders that I have ever seen (other than borage and that darn camomille that has become invasive).  Yep, yep, seeds comin' your way, PM me with your address and they will be yours.  It would be my pleasure to pass this forward...... Have a beautiful and awesome day, we be lovin' this life.  Cindi
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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service
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« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2011, 02:01:34 AM »

Here's hoping that this will grow well on Vancouver Island !

My info about Phacelia is that it doesn't necessarily self seed very well, so your experience sounds good.  Maybe you've got a really good strain!  In addition to good bee food, apparently it's also often used as a green manure.  Beauty, honey and good for the soil.  Win Win Win!
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