Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Sweet Smell of Spring!

Common traffic vehicles
Each day as I head out to work I have the joy of driving through the rural part of my community to the next connecting city. It's a drive that I thoroughly enjoy and purposely drive just at or slightly under the speed limit. There are no stoplights or stop signs on this main thorough-fair through the valley. As I drive I take in the surroundings and watch through the seasons as the landscape changes from the browns and dark greens of winter (usually through a curtain of rain) to bright pinks, yellow, greens and blues as spring and summer push their way through.

Cover crop near home...there are LOTS!
The last several weeks I've patiently
awaited the first of the cover crops to bloom...CLOVER! Today I stopped by one of the fields anticipating the picture that I might capture. As I opened my door the scent of the clover was intoxicating. The air was warm and the breeze was gentle and the fragrance of these amazing flowers was simply wonderful! I fully understand why the bees are so busy this time of year.

After taking my pictures and climbing back into the car, dreaming about how good honey tastes, my thoughts wandered to the bee house I needed to replace (darn those curious raccoons!). This bee house isn't for our honey-producers, but for a gentle, solitary pollinator the Orchard Mason Bee (Osmia Lignaria) - check out Knox Cellars for houses and instructions. There's a lot of concern over hive collapse throughout North America and in parts of Western Europe. Regardless of whether its the honey bee or mason bee, hive collapse is an important issue.

Honey is used as a natural alternative to people allergic to cane sugar (the key here is "natural"). Yes, there is always agave (which is one of our family's favorites) but sometimes you simply hanker for some honey.

And our little sting-free pollinators are key to our food production (although I'm sure Monsanto is working on a self-pollinating frankenseed if it doesn't already exist). If nature's little pollinators are missing, that's a major loss in the food-chain, and EVERYONE will feel that one. There are two items that are ensured to increase in value as the scarcity increases - FOOD and WATER. If we don't have pollinators, our food chain will collapse.

So do yourself a favor, buy a bee house. Don't use pesticides in your yard. Plant flowers that have bright, variegated blooms. Then pour yourself a nice glass of wine, sit back and enjoy the symphony of sounds as pollinators and honey gathers flit throughout your yard. I know that's what I'll be doing!

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