Author: larenleland

butterfly exhibits

I post about bees more often since they are my personal area of highest interest, but butterflies are of course quite important pollinators too. We seek to conserve them as well and many join the bees in drinking nectar from the plants on our farm.

I recently took a road trip and had the great fortune to visit three different butterfly exhibits.

These gardens and exhibits were quite inspirational! It helped me zero in on how we might be able to help local butterflies as our project takes shape.

Humbolt Botanical Garden butterfly house

They just started their butterfly project this year by catching butterflies in the garden and bringing them into a section of the greenhouse. (Although they also ordered Monarch eggs.)

Above you can see a Red Admiral on a Mexican Sunflower.

They had host plants available as well, with a lot of caterpillars! This is a Monarch caterpillar munching on milkweed.

Hallberg Butterfly Garden, Sebastapol, California

The oldest butterfly garden in the US! They are going through some changes now, since the woman who started it just recently passed away. Certainly worth a visit. Make sure to contact them ahead of time for a tour.

Here are caterpillars from the Pipevine Swallowtail.

And a chrysalis from the same species.

Here’s a caterpillar from a giant Polyphemus Moth.

Last, but not least we went to the California Academy of Sciences. Their project is a bit different, as they actually import exotic chrysalis’ from South America.

For more information about that, check out this sign.

This is a shot of their case of chrysalis’.

And some of the butterflies…

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leafcutter bees!

We received our shipment of leafcutter bees today!

Leafcutter bees are solitary bees and great pollinators. Want to know more? Check out this page.

I bought these from Crownbees.com.

When I first opened the package, I saw the pheromone that is used to entice the bees to stay nearby. I set up the house and sprayed it on the nest tubes.

Next… the bag of cocoons, some of which had already hatched out!

I opened the bag and installed it above the nesting material. One little girl came out to say hi.

Here’s the view of the bee house, right on the edge of our garden — facing South to catch as many sun rays as possible.

chickens on the move!

Our chickens are no longer urban! We moved the four beauties out to be with us on our farm in Yachats. It was quite a process!

This was their coop and run in the backyard of our Portland house when it was newly built. (It’s got a huge jasmine plant overwhelming it now.) I bought the coop, then we built the run behind it.

Cute and functional! We didn’t want to move it because we may come back to Portland someday. Also, there’s a foot and a half of hardware cloth buried in the ground all along the perimeter, so that would be a mess to try to undo.

We have learned a few things since then and realized we wanted to buy a coop this time that we could stand up in from day one. I found a great option from some nice folks on Craigslist. We had to rent a U-haul trailer to get it our to the farm, but it was worth it!

We had a few weeks before the chickens were going to be moved to get it set up. We tried it out in a few places in the garden, but finally settled on a spot where they are shaded by the black walnut tree part of the day in the summer.) We installed it with one and a half feet of hardware cloth underground to help keep them safe from predators at night.

It’s a beautiful spot with a view of the pond and barn! (Which means we can also see them when we are in the barn.)

Last step, was to bring the chickens! They had a long ride, but seemed perfectly settled when we opened the box.

Seems like they love it!

(You can also see the chicken tractor behind the coop. We got that from a friend for putting them out in the field on occasion.)

But mostly I think they love how much protected space there is in our farm garden to free range!

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June blooms!

What is blooming for pollinators at Blossomwood Farmstead in June? Here’s a huge list, though I may have missed some!

Bird’s foot trefoil. Lotus corniculatus. Origin: Eurasia and Northern Africa. Often used in wildflower seed packets. Invasive weed in North America. Bumbles love it!

Borage. Borago officinalis. Origin: Europe. Edible herb. I’ve heard that it releases new nectar every 45 minutes!

Blackberry. Rubus. If I remember correctly, this is our native, crawling blackberry plant. We also have invasive Armenian Blackberry. The bees love both!

Climbing rose. Rosa multiflora. Orgin: Asia. Planted in the US originally for soil conservation, it is now considered invasive. Although I am not happy it is climbing our trees, the bees absolutely adore it!

Clover. Trifolium sp. Naturalized, originally from Eurasia. Usually classified as a weed when it occurs in grass, bees love clover! (There’s a bumble right in the center of this image below.)

Dandelion. Taraxacum. Actually, this is a false dandelion, (Hypochaeris radicata) but we have both blooming in June! Origin: Europe. Naturalized. Commonly regarded as weeds, loved by bees.

Daphne. Daphne. Depending on species, native to Europe, Asia, or North Africa. Very fragrant!

Foxglove. Digitalis. European origin, but naturalized here very thoroughly. I’ve seen bumblebees visit foxglove, but not super often on our Farmstead.

Lavendar. Lavandula. Origin: Europe.

Red hot poker. Kniphofia. Origin: Africa. Favored by bees and humming birds.

Thimbleberry. Rubus parviflorus. Native! Delicious wild raspberries later in the season.

Queen Anne’s Lace. Also known as wild carrot. Daucus carota. Origin: Eurasia. Naturalized in the US.

Rose. Rosa. (We have a few different varities.) According to Wikipedia, “Most species are native to Asia, with smaller numbers native to Europe, North America, and northwestern Africa.” Many cultivars are not visited by pollinators a great deal compared to other great bee plants, but sometimes they are for sure.

Penstemon. Penstemon. Native to North America and Eurasia. Favored by humming birds.

Sage. Salvia officinalis. European. Kitchen herb and favorite of pollinators.

Snowbell. Styrax japonicus. Japanese origin. Loaded with pollinators and very fragrant!

Wild lilac. Ceanothus. Native! One of my favorites, and the bees too!

Yarrow. Achillea millefolium. Origin: Eurasia. The first photo is a cultivar, the second is a naturalized common yarrow with white blooms. I see flies on these more than bees — flies are pollinators too!

Yellow flag iris. Iris pseudacorus. Origin: Eurasia. Considered invasive. Pollinated by bumble bees and long-tongued flies. (I haven’t ever personally witnessed a visit by a bumble bee, but there are ants below.)

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Blossomwood Farmstead links

Welcome to Blossomwood Farmstead’s web site!

Our farm is a 42 acre bee sanctuary; we follow organic practices and we’re adding bee forage plants to support the native pollinators. Twelve acres consists of pasture and grass, thirty two acres are forested.

The original homestead farm house was built in 1916.

We have two Airbnb’s on the farm!

Bee Sanctuary Farm House sleeps two to six people.

Bee Sanctuary Garden Guest House sleeps two.

Montavilla

Montavilla is a Portland neighborhood that I’ve been hearing about quite a bit lately! Just on the East side of Mt. Tabor, it is still more affordable than inner Portland.

Fun fact: historically, the name, “Montavilla,” came about in the late 1800s from condensing “Mt. Tabor Villa.”

There are quite a number of restaurants and cafes in Montavilla, including Bui Natural Tofu, Bipartisan Cafe, Tanuki, The Observatory, Hungry Heart Bakery, Monti‚Äôs cafe, Wong’s King Chinese Restaurant, The Country Cat, Stark Street Pizza, Macau Chinese Seafood, Karma Cafe, Mojo Crepes, My Brother’s Crawfish, and Fillmore. Watch for posts that go into more depth about some of these!

Parks include Harrison Park, Berrydale Park, Montavilla City Park, and Rosemont Bluff Natural Area. Plus, it’s right next to Mt. Tabor, which is one of the best parks in Portland.

Here are some links if you’d like to learn more.

Berrydale Community Garden

Montavilla Community Center

Montavilla Farmer’s Market

Montavilla Neighborhood Association I recommend reading the history tab.

Montavilla Jazz Festival Look for this to happen in August.

Montavilla demographics provided by the City of Portland.

Koz Development

This month at the Buckman Neighborhood Association meeting there was a presentation by Koz Development. They will be building a new apartment building with 87 micro units near the Imago Dei Community Church at SE 14th and Ash. According to their website, they have a number of additional projects in the works within Portland and beyond.

Their model is to offer apartments that fill a largely untapped niche. Since the units are small, they rent for about 30% less than an average-sized market rate studio in the same area. Utilities and wi-fi are included in the rent. They also come fully furnished with a Murphy bed, two burner stove, and even pots and pans. One of the architects mentioned it was very similar to living in an RV.

So, how small you might wonder? They will be 250 and 350 square feet, expected to rent for $900 – $1500. Some even have 8 square feet of balcony.

This building will not provide any parking for residents, the representatives emphasized that their marketing encourages minimalist, car-less people to move in. They want their tenants to be happy.

Koz Development will provide some percentage of affordable housing units, which people will qualify for through a government program. These will run around $700.

What do you think? Here’s their site to learn more.

 

 

Private room at SE Portland Urban Farm

We went through the City of Portland permitting process and set up our house for Airbnb! Our guests will have a private room and can share the rest of the house and garden with us.

We are looking forward to sharing our space with visitors. If you have friends or family coming to Portland, please give them the link!

Things that make our space special: eclectic design, conservatory, gourmet kitchen, clawfoot tub, chickens, beehives, and sauna. See our listing for more photos!

If you would like help setting up your own space for Airbnb, I’d love to work with you! I can offer consulting on the process, photography, writing, and I will even set up the listing for you. Contact me for more info at: larenleland (at) gmail (dot) com.

Paw Protector!

It’s been snowing (and sticking!) in Portland for days now. It isn’t great for our pups, they want to go on walks but they hate the snow sticking to their paws. Our little one has fur between her toes and it is especially bad for her. Usually after about 5 minutes outside she wants to be picked up. I did some research on the best ways to help our little friends and discovered I could whip up a protection salve!

The recipe is simple. Equal parts beeswax, coconut oil, and avocado oil. I used three tablespoons of each. Then, add a few drops of vitamin E oil.

Add all ingredients to a small pot. (I have a pot that is dedicated to this sort of thing.) And heat on low.

It won’t take too long before it all melts together.Pour into a container. I had these deodorant containers available, which push up from the bottom and I thought worked well enough. You might want to try something low and flat instead if you are just doing paws. I put a bit on her legs too, so this shape was perfect to direct it where I wanted it.

Give them a bit of time and they will solidify. Then, you’re ready to go. When you apply them to your furry friend, have a bit of patience. The body heat in your dog’s paws will heat the salve enough to apply it. If you have a super jumpy pup, try building some up in your own palm and then transferring. Upon first application Honey Bee was a bit unsure about the process. But it worked!

Here she is after our long walk in the snow, with nothing clinging to her paws! (She still got some in her beard!)