Apple blossoms, honey bee harbinger golden anniversary

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, May 29, 2013

A friendly neighbourhood honey bee canít resist the aromatic pinks, whites and yellows of the alluring blossoms on our backyard apple tree. Photos by Warren Harbeck

The view from our bedroom window the past few days has been nothing short of breathtaking in its anticipation of Mary Anna’s and my 50th wedding anniversary, coming up on June 29.

Our 50th year together began with my June 27, 2012 column on a waxwing and a neighbourhood cat vying for space in the apple tree which snuggles up to our window. This memorable year is concluding with a glorious display of apple blossoms too tempting for any discerning honey bee to resist.

We’ve never been quite sure just what variety of apple tree it is that blesses us so richly. Our first inclination was to label it a crabapple. But Mary Anna says the fruit seems a bit large for that, yet not large enough to crunch loudly on a lazy summer day, such as Norlands or Honeycrisps.

True, the apples on our tree make great sauce, but on the other hand, they make even better invitations for migrating flocks of waxwings, robins, Baltimore orioles and scarlet tanagers to drop by for a tasty treat. We’ve deferred to our fine feathered friends.

This year, in particular, the profusion of blossoms has also extended an invitation to our compact camera to join in the celebration. Simply by sliding our window open, we’re able to get our macro-savvy Canon G15 within an inch or two of the blossoms, although most of the accompanying photos were taken a few inches further away than that.

My special delight was capturing a tiny honey bee around 2 p.m. on May 20. It was flitting about quickly from flower to flower, spending only a second or two on each blossom.

This was a photographic situation that required preplanning for the serendipitous. Setting my G15 at ISO 400, f/4 at 1/2000th of a second, I focused on a blossom about a foot away . . . and waited.

After a few minutes, Buzzy the Bee accommodated me by pausing on that very blossom – for less than two seconds!

But we got the shot, as you can see.

And with that shot, collaged with a few others, I pay apple-blossom homage to my wife of (soon) 50 years: On this our upcoming golden anniversary, Mary Anna, you are truly the apple of my eye! Love and hugs, Warren.


© 2013 Warren Harbeck

Return to Coffee With Warren home page