BREAKERS: Chesapeake Shores returns — urban farming — Maple Blues winner — Mason bees

BREAKERS – timely tidbits and follow-ups to previously published stories:

  • Cameras ready and … ACTION!
  • Aspiring urban farmers — free workshop
  • 2021 Maple Blues Award for New Artist or Group of the Year goes to …
  • Spring cleaning for Mason bees

Cameras ready and … ACTION!

Nell, Mick and Megan of Hallmark’s Chesapeake Shores. PHOTO – Crown Media

BREAKING NEWS: Sally’s Cafe is re-opening!

We have confirmed that the Chesapeake Shores television series will be returning to Qualicum Beach this year to shoot their next season.

Cast and crew will film a 10-episode Season 5 to be aired on the Hallmark Channel later in 2021.

A big Qualicum Beach welcome air hug to every member of the Chesapeake Shores family!

Aspiring urban farmers — free workshop

If you would you like to learn the basics of running your own agri-business in an urban landscape, you can register for a no-charge virtual 3-hour workshop webinar on urban farming March 15, 2021 from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. 

This workshop is hosted by Victoria’s Food Eco District (FED), in collaboration with TOPSOIL.

Additional presentations will be available from the Young Agrarians Vancouver Island Land Matcher on land access through the BC Land Matching Program, and on the City of Victoria’s urban agriculture policy.

2021 Maple Blues Award for New Artist or Group of the Year goes to …

As we reported previously, Qualicum Beach’s rising young talent, Liam Docherty, was nominated for this 2021 Maple Blues Award.

On February 22, 2021 the winner was announced, Smoke Wagon Blues Band. They are an impressive, polished band. They should be — they’ve been playing professionally for 25 years! They of course were happy to win, but had previously seemed a bit embarrassed to have been nominated in the “new” category.

Maple Blues Award quirky nomination rules aside, it was certainly a milestone achievement for Liam to receive his first MBA nomination, and we wish him every success in his musical endeavours.

Spring cleaning for Mason bees

Mason bees are fabulous home garden pollinators, and they don’t sting. Best of all, they require only a few minutes of attention once a year. That’s a pretty good deal for all the work they do during the growing season to help enrich our harvest.

Buy or make your own Mason bee house, whether a simple section of PVC pipe or an elaborate multi-family dwelling like this. Place the bee house in a sunny location where it won’t get any rain. Under the eaves is a good choice.

If you already have a Mason bee house filled with cocoons from last year, now is the time for a little spring cleaning. Replace these existing nesting tubes before the bees hatch in early spring, typically late February or early March, depending on the weather.

  • Gently remove the old cardboard tubes from the nesting block or house. Use needle nose pliers or tweezers if tubes are tightly held inside holes.
  • Carefully bind the old tubes with a rubber band, and place them near the nest, facing the sun and out of wet weather, to hasten the emergence of the young bees.
  • Insert new tubes into the nesting block. Ensure they are even with the surface of the house. If the new cardboard tubes are longer than the holes, cut them so they are flush with the surface of the bee house.
  • Discard old tubes only after last year’s tubes have developed holes at the end of the tube, indicating that last year’s bees have emerged.
  • Watch, over the next few weeks, as Mason bees fill the new cardboard tubes with eggs, and seal the ends of the tubes shut with mud.
  • Repeat the above steps next spring.

Hint: It’s a good idea to place a small bit of raw clay near the nesting site. Mason bees are named for their habit of using mud or other “masonry” products in constructing their nests which are also made in naturally occurring gaps such as cracks in stones or other small dark cavities.