Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Insects and flowers

On Monday this week it snowed, we got about three or four big fat wet inches. There is still some snow on the tops of the hills, though today it was above freezing and the flowers hadn't completely crashed.

This beautiful daffodil with its insect on a sleepover in the sun, caught my eye before the cold. We've been very worried about all the nights where the temperature dove down well below the freezing mark and we would wake to a frosted white world. It has taken its toll on the early flowers that suddenly were awakened in February with summer-like temperatures.

I learned today, that I'm among the lucky ones. My gardens full of tulips, forget-me-nots and Johnny jump-ups now in bloom hasn't suffered too much. My vegetables aren't planted yet.

Lilies have white leaves and may not bloom, but the apple farmers - and up here we provide 25 percent of Ontario's apple crop - have been devastated. The helpers who come to us from other countries like Mexico and Jamaica are being sent home - their hopes and plans for making a decent living for their families gone. The economy of this area will suffer since it's all intertwined... the apple farmers buy products from fertilizer companies, or tools, tractors, sprays, food for the migrant workers. None of that will be happening this summer. We will miss the cheerful smiles of the fellows who come from far away to help our farmers bring in the crops. They start early in spring when snow is still on the ground, pruning trees and getting ready for spring.

But climate change has managed to make a mess of that this year. I hope my friends who depend mostly on apples for their living will be able to survive this sad situation. Many don't carry crop insurance - it's too costly. Keep your fingers crossed.

And it's not only people who will be hurt - there are many insects that rely on the hundreds of orchards in this temperate region... not only honey bees - and those bee keepers are going to have a tough year as well. The ripple effect from this anomaly of a summer-like February, may continue for a long time to come and spread throughout the natural world.

It makes me very sad. I'm looking at this beautiful daffodil and the little bee-like creature resting on its petals and wondering if its relatives will survive this year... the flower is beautiful and expresses hope - so I will hope... but with a tinge of sadness for what's likely to come.

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