I got very excited this morning, ladies and gentlemen.  Looking out the back window, I could see that there was a male and female pumpkin flower open at the same time.  Because of a hail storm last month, my pumpkin vine has only one pumpkin growing at the moment.  So I took this fleeting opportunity to fly outside and manually fertilise the lady.  I found the flowers crawling with bees, which was also very exciting, because the numbers of bees have been much fewer due to the recent hot weather and smoky days.

It was lucky I did because a bee was trapped below the stamen of the boy flower!  The bee was wedged in so tight that I had to rescue it.  Then I picked the boy flower to inseminate the girl.  You only get one chance, ladies and gentlemen.  In a few hours, the flowers will close and the opportunity for a second pumpkin could be lost.

stuck

Here is the deflowered boy.  Can anyone see the irony in that?

b1

And finally, another photo of some bees hard at it; this time in the girl flower.
Maybe I didn’t need to hand fertilise after all?

b2

Now, even though it is not my Friday song day, I think we need a song to mark the passing of an Australian institution — the Holden car.  General Motors announced yesterday the death of the Holden car brand.  The Holden car brand has been in existence for 130 years.  Everything is temporary, ladies and gentlemen.  Hug your children, hold your family close and never let a chance go by.

This is my response to the Lens-Artists Photo ChallengeNarrow and the Ragtag Daily PromptEvanescent.

Kind Regards.
Tracy.

 

 

 

 

 

60 thoughts on “Turning Flowers into Pumpkins and the Death of Holden

  1. Dear Tracy, Faith here, Martha’s Aussie Pumpkin from last summer. HER summer anyway. I’m still around. I sit on the table where she writes her mis-spelled blog every morning. She read your post to me and it make me think of my very early childhood when I was just pollen and unsure of my future. Martha tells me there were no bees because my flowers bloomed so late in the season. She said you told her how to fertilize me so I could grow. Thank you for that. I owe you a lot. Faith T. Pumpkin, Mate

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      1. G’day! Your English is fine, mate. I LOVE being out with Elizabeth and watching the face of someone she doesn’t know try to place her accent. Honestly, NO ONE expects an Australian here in THIS back of beyond.

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  2. Tracy your photographs are the bee’s knees. Those bees are really stuck in! The recording is great. It’s new to me. I like irony! I have a song suggestion, “Regretting What I Said” by Christine Lavin.

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  3. Wow Tracy, that is incredible! I cannot believe the bee could still fly with all that pollen on him. Nor have I ever heard of someone making a bee pollination assist! Will wonders ever cease ?!?! 😊

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    1. Tina, the jammed bee was covered by the innards of the flower in the first photo, but from that angle it does look like an extra big chunk of pollen. Nevertheless they were all smothered in pollen. 😄
      Sometimes nature needs a helping hand. In the case of pumpkins, it is a relatively straightforward process provided the boy and girl flowers open at the same time (that being the tricky part).
      I think vibrators are being used to offset decline in buzz pollinators like bumble bees.

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  4. Well done rescuing that poor bee. We desperately need every bee to survive now. And fingers crossed for your pumpkin. We managed just 2 this year. That’s better than last years total of none. All the vines just shriveled and died (like Holden!) but another feral vine round the corner has gone ballistic, but all leaves and one very tiny pumpkin.

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  5. How interesting that you could manually pollinate the pumpkin! I hope it all takes and you will have pumpkins come your fall and winter! I’ll look forward to seeing the photos of your pumpkins!

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  6. First, I’m happy you were able to help the bee out of narrow circumstances.
    Second, and the important thing, my husband was VERY unhappy to hear the news about the Holden line coming to an end. His exact words, “I think GM is making a BIG mistake. The Holden is an Australian national identity. I’m not happy to hear the news.” He just gave me a brief history… that is sad news.

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    1. It was a good outcome for the bee, Jane. By the way, I had to check but just thought you might like to know that we don’t have bumblebees here on mainland Australia. They have spread across our island state of Tasmania (not sure whether they were imported illegally or hitched a ride).
      Not really sad news about GMH, except for those employed in Australia. I’m not sure whether there are any Australian manufacturers still making parts and accessories for them. If there are, It will hurt those businesses for sure. The decision was inevitable after GM stopped manufacturing here. I hope your husband doesn’t work for GM, Jane, because my general impression is that the decision says more about the inability of GM to compete here. The Australian auto market is very open and if a car company can be successful here, it will be successful anywhere, but that is just my opinion. India is a huge market for RH drive. Fancy ditching that opportunity. Still that doesn’t mean that there is not a huge fondness for some of the iconic models of yesteryear.

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      1. Wow- thank you for the background on the GMH. My husband will be interested. He doesn’t work for GM. He just has an interest in cars. There are several old TR3’s in his garage being restored!

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  7. Love your photos and bee rescue Tracy. AND I’d never even though about manual pumpkin pollination, so thanks for that.

    I’m in a state of anxiety about how few bees seem to be around this summer — especially as I planted lots of bee-food flowers.

    I suspect I may be one of the few who not only understand Bob Hudson, but also know the song.
    Holden’s closure is a shock; and not just to the public. T’s an engineer who’s worked in or alongside the automotive industry for ever, so lots of our friends are similarly engaged. It’s a huge blow.

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    1. Thanks Su. I spoke to a bee-keeper the other day. He said that 1 hive drinks about 1000 litres of water a week during summer. If people are not watering their gardens and keeping the ground moist at their food source then they will definitely struggle. Our bee keeper friend is also feeding his bees at the moment because there is not enough flowering at the moment. What is the situation like in NZ?

      I guess GMH weren’t that profitable in our countries, Su. Very difficult for the network of suppliers that had grown around them though. I hope that engineering expertise can be re-directed into other areas of the economy. A blow, yes, but quite often the market responds by filling holes. If only the Australian government were interested in improving our EV infrastructure. If GM is not interested in supporting the Australian market, then I am sure there will be other manufacturers who will be. The whole emissions stance of Australia’s current government is a real economy wrecker IMO.

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      1. I’m not sure what’s happening here, but it is very dry in Auckland and that can’t be good for bees. We have a water tank that is fairly full and is only used for the garden, so I have been watering our plants regularly. There are lots of bumble bees around; but few honey bees.

        I’m sure you’re right about GMH. T said something about GM withdrawing from all left-hand drive countries, but others will move into that space. I hope that the expertise can be meaningfully used too — particularly as some of it belongs to our friends.

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  8. These photos are for the science books! Maybe also for the tabloids. You know that spring is in the air when even the honey bees are end over end so deeply in love that they can’t tell tops from bottoms. Oh this was fun, and I really needed a day brightener. Thanks, Tracy.

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