The great hops harvest of 2011 is underway. I’ve been a bit neglectful of the garden this summer, but the hops vines have flourished. Some judicious pruning and mulching and tying of support lines took place early in the season, and then, just stand back and watch these babies do their thing. Predicted harvest is five pounds! This is the fourth year for some of the vines and we have 5 varieties planted: Willamette, Nugget, Cascade, Centennial, and Brewer's Gold.
I used to be frightened of the bald faced hornets that patrol the yard. (Here is a link
to three pages of fascinating information and pictures about them.) I would encounter them- and quickly scurry away. Last year they built a big nest on the back of the coop, and never bothered me. They are considered to be beneficial insects because they hunt and eat flies and other bugs. So this year, I’ve been curiously observing a very large and busy nest on the front of one of the outhouses.
These pictures are a couple weeks old, so the nest is bigger now. In the past I would have destroyed it out of fear. Instead we’re avoiding the area and enjoying a less abundant fly population. After frost it will be neat to take it down and inspect the structure more closely. Hopefully no one gets stung before then.