Things are different this summer. I have gotten a couple of mosquito bites, the first ever here in my little sanctuary. The reason is that we lost our bat colony. We had hundreds of bats that would fly out of the pines each evening. It was a sight to witness. The most we’ve seen at any one time this year has been four.
Then there is the field. Where are the bees? It used to be that I would see my plants covered in bees. They were every where in the gardens and around the wild plants. This year I added some bee loving plants such as lambs ears. Nothing. I know we’ve had to have had some bees visit the garden because I have a couple tomatoes forming. Yet I worked in the garden for several hours Sunday and saw not one bee.
We haven’t seen a praying mantis, or a lady bug yet this summer. Where are they? We had one Monarch Butterfly in the field this week, it was the first and so far only one seen this summer. The milkweed is growing in several spots around the field, I thought it would be good to spread it around. Am I helping, I don’t know and that’s what has me concerned.
I’ve left more of the field wild than I’ve allowed to be cleared, did we do harm by clearing what we did? I don’t have any answers.
I think the little ones are picking up on my concern. They are noticing the lack of insects in the garden. My granddaughter picked my brain Monday asking me what each insect and animal ate. She wanted to know which ones were bad and which were good. Her list began with birds, including the hawks and crows, bees, deer, groundhogs, snakes, lions, and the list continued to grow. I explained to her how a bee pollinates our plants, and how birds eat insects (and worms) that keep our field healthy. For example if the birds eat ticks we have less chance of being infected by one. We then talked about scavengers and how their work keeps nature from being smelly and riddled with waste. She already knew about the worms but wanted confirmation, she got it.
She wanted to know why I put tree branches in the bottom of my garden beds. The best way to answer her was to go into a wild area of the field where we have piled tree branches and I showed her the lovely soil underneath. It was dark, moist and filled with life. The branches were softening and teemed with insects.
But then I need to come back to reality. The areas left wild so nature can flourish are only partly doing what they should. There still aren’t bees flitting on the flowers. We haven’t seen any snakes this year other than two dead ones. The butterflies are fewer.
I hoped to be comforted by taking a look at my neighbor’s garden beds. She started most of her plants in cold frames so they are much bigger than mine. Her squashes and pumpkins flowered weeks ago but still nothing beyond the flowers. I’m getting worried.
Then I catch this article on impotent roosters, reading through the article I learn that roosters aren’t the only problems coming to light.
The rooster problem comes from a genetic tweaking that causes the roosters to overeat and become impotent, this has reduced the poultry production estimate by 195 million pounds.
What about pigs? There has been a deadly pig virus that has taken it’s toll on available pork products. It was believed that once a pig contracted the virus it would be immune but that turned out to be just wishful thinking.
Domestic cattle (cows) is at it’s lowest numbers in 60 years. Just when in the US meat consumption has risen. Add to the consumption burden is the increase in exports of beef to China a country where people want to eat beef but not raise it.
Back to the bees. California supplies the nation with almonds, 80% of the world’s almonds come from California along with many more foods (see this I wrote earlier on the droughts effects on food supply). What I didn’t know when I wrote that was that bee hives are traveled across the country to California to pollinate almond trees each year. This year there weren’t enough hives to do the job.
While I don’t buy meat, I do need my protein from somewhere, one of my main sources has been nuts and seeds. But what do we do when our crops fail, when the bees are gone and we no longer have fruits, vegetables or nuts?
Aside from the question of my diet, there is the question of the planet itself. Each of these insects and animals plays a very important role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem. Just like the conversation with my granddaughter we need every animal and insect nature provided. We need wild areas where decomposition can replenish the earth and give habitats for life of all sorts to flourish.
Mainstream media downplays the severity of what’s happening in nature. Children don’t understand the need for bugs they don’t like, who likes being stung? I believe we need to look at nature differently. This year my son and I watched Cosmos (new television program) in which one episode it was shown that trees, and every other living thing on earth has the same DNA components humans do, just arranged differently. We are connected down to our DNA but we don’t stop to think about that connection and how much we need nature to survive.
Today my grandchildren asked me about air. I told them how trees and other plants breathe in the air, cleaning it, using what they need and breathing out cleaner air that we human’s need. They picked a leaf, studied it together for a few minutes, then brought it to me to ask if the veins were what carried the air inside the tree to clean. They were amazed to think a leaf with no nose can breathe.
Look at the trees, look at the birds, look at the clouds, look at the stars… and if you have eyes you will be able to see that the whole existence is joyful. Everything is simply happy. Trees are happy for no reason; they are not going to become prime ministers or presidents and they are not going to become rich and they will never have any bank balance. Look at the flowers — for no reason. It is simply unbelievable how happy flowers are. ~Osho