Ann, I could not actually believe that anything could be more quieter than the Mantis, I can hardly hear mine running when it is. And something more powerful? Don't get that either. Maybe bigger, but more power? LOL. I guess of course there are more powerful ones of course. But this Mantis is a miracle worker.
We have had the wierdest weather the past two days, and I mean weird. Thursday morning very high winds, blew all clouds away, clear skies all day. Friday the wind came again and the heavy heavy rain all day long. Last night (Friday still) incredible rainstorm and very high high wind, gusts that you could hear howling and the cedars near the ravine just as loud. Now, wind scares me. It is one of the forces of nature that I do not like one little bit. I could never picture living with a hurricane or tornados, I probably would have a heart attack and die for sure. so the wind and rain blew long into the night, I know, I don't sleep well. The wind must have stopped sometime before 4:00 A.M. I woke up about 3:45, wide awake and got up, went to my front porch and looked outside at the skies. Not a single cloud, nor wind. The full moon glaring down on my yard, casting that eerie ghostly shine on the now frozen ground. The moon in the winter is high, like the sun on a summer noonday. The shadows are short. Very beautiful and cold. Thank goodness the rain (of course no freeze when we have rain, it is quite warm then) had stopped and the wind has gone by the wayside.
I am sitting here listening to all the wind chimes still ringing a little bit, so there must still be wind, but light. It does not take much to get the chimes making their beautiful sound. I have 3 sets of large ones hanging off my front porch, all with different tones, it is pretty.
Last year I spent a couple of months cultivating an amazing amount of area infront of the apiary with the Mantis rototiller so I could begin the process of planting flowers for the bees, with the intent of gathering seed to spread around the rest of my property, which we had cleared last summer (about 4 acres). The burn pile that resulted is unimaginable. When this burn occurs, it will be a 72-hour burn, manned for these hours, the "burner guy" using his industrial fans to blow the fire so that it burns down as quickly as possible, so that it is not a long burning issue. I have issues with the environment and fire smoke.
The two men involved in the land clear were friends of my son-in-laws, a tree faller and a young man who owns an excavator. Between both of them, about 95% of the hardwood trees were removed. Dangerous trees, these being the alders, and most of the cottonwoods. All of the coniferous trees were left in groves, untouched -- and it has turned out to be very pretty and will be still forested, but to a more workable degree. We are planting pastures and required all the vegetation that was not necessary to be removed. Knowing well that the grasses, clovers and all will grow with much more content without the deep shade that was present with all the deciduous trees.
This was a hard decision on my part because I am a tree hugger, but there are certain things that one must give up for progress, and we needed the land cleared.
I am putting on two pictures, first taken February 2.06 and the second May 5 06. The first one was when I began the land cultivation with the Mantis, the second one was taken when the spot had been levelled out more, ready for planting. It was a fun project. This land cultivation was only a small part of the work that I did with the rototiller in other areas.
I planted several species of bee plants in this particular area. They were borage officinalis, phacelia tanacetifolia (blue tansy), California poppy, Mediterranean sage, cosmos (several cultivars), catnips, lemonbalms, anise hyssop, many cultivars of sunflowers, lots of tomatillos and ground cherries (Cape Gooseberry) (for pollen), pumpkins, squashes (butternut, acorn, spaghetti, zucchini). That is what I focused on for bee forage. There are lots of other fruits and vegetables that I grow that is awesome for their uses as well. It was a sight for the eyes last summer when I would go out to watch the beneficial insects on all these nectar and pollen producing plants. I never realized there were so many species of bumblebees in particular.
All these plants that I planted last year all are self-seeders. I gathered pounds of seeds throughout the course of the late summer and deal with them accordingly, so I could spread their progeny over the rest of my property in groves of course. So, I anticipate enormous nectar and pollen yields next summer.
It is an interesting event with the self-seeding annuals because when the seeds are good and ready to germinate, they will. I can carry on the season for a very long time with the later sowing of the seed that I have gathered. The bees (and all the other pollinators that will be present) should have foraging material right from the get go of spring right until the killing frost in October. It should be a really happy year for the girls.
Great day. Cindi