Enveloped Colour-3752

The colour version of  ‘Enveloped in Nature’, posted as a black and white photograph for the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge, Enveloped. Re-blogged from The Monochrome Muse, which version do you prefer, the colour or the black and white? I’d love to know.

21 Days of a Bee’s Life

The first 21 days of a bee’s life can be marred by the invasion of a parasitic mite. In this fascinating TED Talk video, Anand Varma gets up close to film bees in his back garden for a project to appear in the May 2015 issue of National Geographic Magazine, highlighting one of a number of reasons for the decline in the bee population.

Having become interested in the plight of our natural bees a few years ago and creating a bee farm in my back garden to attract pollinating bees of the solitary variety, Anand’s thrilling photography and informative talk fascinated me. Each year I add to the available ‘nesting’ houses and cylinders full of nesting tubes and eagerly await sunny spring days to warm my south-east facing farm nestling against a wall in my garden. Coincidentally, before discovering ’21 days of a bee’s life’, just today I ordered yet another nesting cylinder and replacement nesting tubes to replenish any unsuccessful ‘incubators’ from last season; no doubt a nod to me from the universe to continue helping these tiny forces of nature multiply.

Please watch the video, it’s worth it for the photography alone, and if it sparks you into creating a Bee farm of your own, then the universe has done its job and the plight of the world’s bees will have received another helping hand.

Included here are some photos of my back garden bee farm, where activity is in full buzz (!) Not in any way as impressive as those of Anand but it does show you how easy it is to provide a good nesting area for these vital little creatures. And the so-called solitary bees (Red Mason, Leafcutter Bees etc) are not aggressive as they do not make honey. Rarely, if ever, will they sting as they have no honey to protect, making this type of bee farming safe and fascinating for families with young children.

Nesting Solitary Bees

If you’re interested in finding out more about solitary bees and providing habitats for helping them nest, leave me a comment and I’ll reply with links to more information about building a bee farm.

Venice in Motion | WordPress Photo Challenge

Emergency on the Grand Canal - Venice
Emergency on the Grand Canal – Venice

Whilst on a short break in Venice last week, it was fascinating to watch the speeding ambulances make their way through the very busy daytime waters of the Grand Canal. Whizzing along so fast with sirens blaring, the Vaporetto Buses, Water Taxis, Delivery Barges, Gondola and everyday Venetian vessels always skilfully managed to manoeuvre out of their way, allowing a safe transfer to hospital of the occupants. How the Gondola passengers, caught up in the quite violent motion of the wake from the ambulance did not end up being tipped into the canal is a testament to the skill of the Gondoliers of Venice.

This speedy ambulance was captured from the landing dock of the San Cassiano Ca Favretto hotel. Dating from the fourteenth century, the building was once the home of Giacomo Favretto a celebrated Venetian painter. It was the home for many years of some important Venetian families before it became a hotel featuring splendid Venetian style furnishings, Murano chandeliers and antiques.

Located a short walk from the San Stae Vaporetto stop, close to local markets, a leisurely 10 minutes walk from the bustling Rialto Bridge area, 15 minutes walk to Saint Mark’s Square, an easy one stop Vaporetto ride to the Ca d’Oro (The Golden House) on the opposite side of the Grand Canal and with an abundance of  local restaurants on its doorstep, the San Cassiano is a great place to stay in a slightly quieter location, away from the main Venetian tourist hubbub.