Garden Piece for Solitary Bees *PIC*

Mike Brazeau
We have an abundance of dead ash locally as I am sure most of us in the eastern half of NA do. Back in early March my wife and I were getting a winter fix at a local greenhouse garden center and I noticed kits for kids to make Solitary Bee homes. They are not really homes but a place for these bees to lay their eggs and seal them in for next season. About a week later we were walking the beach at our Lake Erie cottage and I noticed in the winter debris and ice, there were a fair number of hollow reeds that had probably traveled East from Long Point Bay, so collected some. I felt a woodturner should make a turned version so this what resulted. A piece of about six inch roadside ash was the start. I knew I wanted to incorporate a ball with a couple of large holes for the tubes and as it evolved realized the bottom cylinder was an excellent spot for more holes. Initially thought the bottom would be a kind of finial tailpiece. It is hanging in our backyard in a wild apple tree where I have one of my wren houses as well. Will see if it works out. Cutting reeds was tedious. Ended up using the compound miter saw as they cracked to pieces with a sharp knife or clippers. Found a small bamboo stake in the lot and not sure where it came from but used it too. Put them in one by one with a generous dab of PVA glue. About 12” high by 5” in diameter. Finishing it off was an interesting holding puzzle. Ended up with a 45° dead centre in the hole for the screw eye driving the top and a 3" Oneway cone holding the bottom. Also a shot of the setting in our back yard.

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