The Greenhouse Incident

Sometimes my wife Snowball’s projects don’t even sneak up and build slowly, they explode fully grown from the start. An example of this is the hobby greenhouse that we have. Pearl Harbor could not have surprised me more than what happened on a late spring day many years ago. We were sitting on the front porch enjoying a refreshing beverage. As the UPS truck pulls up Snowball says, “Oh that must be the greenhouse I ordered.” This being the first I had heard of any plans for a greenhouse, my mouth opened but no words came out. I just walked over to the truck and helped the somewhat overwhelmed delivery guy haul four 200-pound boxes to the garage.

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Obama Commits to Saving Declining Honey Bees

The loss of honey bees has been one of my major causes for many years. It has always been on my list of probable causes adding to the coming apocalypse.  Now finally the government is creating a task force to study what is causing bees to die out.

The White House announced Friday its commitment to saving the mysteriously declining honeybee population, putting a task force of federally-backed scientists on the case.

I first learned about the loss of honey bees in 2007 and created a design based on those milk cartons showing lost children except with pictures and descriptions of honey bees and Colony Collapse Disorder(CCD). That is what they were calling the unknown cause of death for these insects.

This is a world-wide problem and in the intervening years, while European scientists have boiled the major issue down to the use of insecticides, specifically neonicotinoids, and mite infestations, research in the U.S. has been falling behind. Finally funds are being loosened up to allow some research.

You Can Help

Biodiversity is one thing that will help the pollinators of the world survive. For that we need many different plants for bees and other similar insects to pollinate in the wild. So one of the things that anyone with room for some dirt can do to help is grow some flowering plants outside. Even if its just posies on the porch in a pot, bees and other pollinators will find them and be able to pick up some nutrients. Get any flowering plants native for your area, set aside some space in your garden for them, and never use any herbicides or pesticides, ever. Besides, weeding by hand is great exercise.

Gardening by the Yard

How much responsibility does one spouse have concerning the other’s hobby? Well, I suppose it depends on the hobby.

Among her many hobbies my wife has a flower garden. But I don’t know if that describes it. It’s more like a collection of colorful plants, many in pots, many in the ground. The grandkids call in grandma’s maze. I call it the Land of the Lost.

My idea of yard is a nicely trimmed lawn with no weeds. In our case, about a third of the backyard has grass which edges directly up to the garden. This makes it impossible to use any kind of weed treatment without hitting plants meant for growing in the garden. Mowing is difficult but not impossible if you have the correct philosophy.

Over the past years, I’ve drilled drainage holes and moved pots to their summer locations. I’ve dug holes to drop the plant in and even leveled and landscaped the area around the potting bench. Someday I’ll tell the story of the greenhouse kit I assembled. When she leaves for a couple of days, I water daily. On hot, sunny afternoons I even set out misting hoses. And above all I never ask how much money has been spent on garden supplies. That way lies madness.

But all of the obligatory assistance aside, isn’t it her hobby? I hate yard work. As far as I’m concerned the only reason we have a yard is because it came with the house. So I try not to feel guilty when she spends the entire day in the hot sun deadheading. She must enjoy it or she wouldn’t have planted all that flora, right?

“Say sweetie, those flowers next to you over in sun look gorgeous. Can I bring you another glass of lemonade? Just a thought.”

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