by JR Martin, contributing writer
So the Bees have a place to work
I look out the window of my log home and see a few dandelions scattered around the yard. There among the growing grass, their bright yellow heads look like stars on a dark landscape.
The pollinators are buzzing all around the yard, visiting the dandelions and the violets and the other purple wildflowers. The bees are making a feast of all of it as they collect the lifeblood of nectar and pollen.
This sweet part of nature came about in my yard because my lawn tractor broke down. Without a way to mow my acre of land, the grass has grown to a height that in some areas, would be considered neglectful. But while I await the repair of my lawn mower, I’ve come to appreciate the many gifts offered by a lawn that’s allowed to grow.
Seeing the bees and the butterflies flitting about my yard, I’ve come to appreciate this break I’ve been offered, a break for me from the mowing and a break for nature. I don’t know where the beehive might be, but it’s probably close by. I like to think of the bees collecting their pollen in my yard and then carrying it back to the hive, where they tend to the queen and make honey.
Watching this happen every day for weeks as my tractor sits broken, I have begun to wonder: Do I really want to mow my yard, and if so, why? Why is a smooth, spotless carpet of green the “right” lawn to have? Why do lawn care companies use chemicals to kill off everything that isn’t perfect, green grass?
There are reports that the bees are struggling to survive. Scientists are warning that when the last bee is gone from the earth, all other life will follow. Although my yard is just a small piece of the equation, I like knowing that bees are finding a friendly place in my yard. (And besides attracting bees, dandelions make delicious salad greens, and tasty wine.)
I will eventually have to mow the lawn, but I plan to keep a portion of it wild and free. I’ll let it alone, so the bees have a place to work. And I’ll leave the dandelions to grow. Some people call them weeds, but I call them pretty, and important.
JR Martin lives in a log home in Salzburg, PA. He is a bluegrass music fan, guitar player, poet, and part-time landscaper.