No doubt about it after this past week -- the day the calendar said "autumn begins", it began with a wallop here in Northeast Ohio. The temperatures dropped and the rain and the wind came for a long weekend. Nothing like the hurricanes in the Caribbean and Florida, but that's why I've retired here in NEOhio!!
I just came inside from doing what will likely be my last Ask A Bumble Bee survey for the season. I started in mid June and have done about 10 surveys in my yard and several local parks. It involved photographing all the blooming plants and counting how many (if any) bumble bees were foraging on them. I didn't have to ID the bees beyond being "bumbles" but after a summer following them around the yard, I know this is a Common Eastern and it's a male and he is nectaring on Little White Aster which I've let go where ever they want to grow because all the bees love them!
It's been very interesting to see how much the bumbles prefer native-to-this-region blooming plants. For example, they were using the single dahlia blooms for nectar and resting . . . . until the asters started and now they have abandoned the dahlias and are all over the asters. These three male bumbles aren't actually nectaring -- they are hanging out until it warms up a bit. Such a fun picture!!
I was surprised to see how many of my beautiful non-native perennial flowers were completely ignored by the bumbles during their bloom periods. The experience has firmed up my resolve to convert my lovely gardens into a native plant and insect habitat! All new plants must be native like these little late blooming cuties -- Calico Asters!!
The arrival of October means I only have three more months to reach my goal of dealing with at least 36 UFO's this year -- finishing 24 of them and eliminating 12 of them. Turns out I'm really into "eliminating" at the moment -- I'm up to 18 so far?!? The more I eliminate, the easier it seems to become!
However, I am a "little" behind on the finishing so to refocus myself, I put this piece up on the design wall where I have to look at it every time I sit down at my sewing machine. I stalled out on it last year -- I still like the design but the designer's suggested "assembly" process is a problem for me. Too modern, perhaps? So I've gone a little bit rogue?!? Once the polygons are stitched to the background down through the center lines of them, the designer suggested layering it for quilting. Then the quilting was to be densely spaced vertical lines which would attach the rest of the polygons to the quilt simultaneously. In my opinion, it would make the finished piece stiffer than I like and so I was reluctant to follow that suggestion.