Bee Calm and Carry On

sunflower-and-beeJoe is allergic to bees.  Not the scary, run for your epi-pen and clutch your throat type of allergic, thankfully, but he does get what doctors call an exaggerated localized reaction.

Joe’s first extreme reaction to a bee sting occurred when Jake was just a tot.  I was out when it happened and arriving home, I was greeted by little Jake, clutching a crayon masterpiece.

“I drew Daddy,” he said, so sweetly.

The drawing was a typical depiction of a humanoid, as drawn by any four year old artist, and it featured straight lines for the body and appendages and an lopsided circle for a head.  But Jake had added a twist  to the stick-figured daddy and this study in fatherhood had ears; one normal sized and one gianormous!  Stick-man dad’s right ear extended all the way from what would be his scalp to his chin on his big circle head.

I wondered at the drawing and then I saw real-life Joe.  That’s when I experienced two simultaneous emotions:

  • awe at Jake’s ability to draw proportions so accurately at such a young age
  • horror that Joe had chosen to treat his condition, not by seeking the advice of a medical professional……but with beer.

I argued for an immediate trip to the local E.R., but lost.  Beer, apparently, was doing the job just fine.

But I am not here to spread panic about the perils of bees or to point out my husband’s poor medical choices.

Instead, I want to talk about why bees are glorious and essential creatures.  Over 100 agricultural crops in the U.S. are pollinated by bees.  As those docile furry fellows are out foraging for nectar, they are also promoting the growth of countless flowers, fruits, and vegetables.

But over the past decade, the bee population in North America and Europe has begun to drop off dramatically. Between 2007 and 2008, the number of honey bee hives in America decreased by 35%.  And every year since, this trend has continued. In 2013, the number of hives decreased by close to 50%.  Colony Collapse Disorder, as the phenomenon is called, continues to befuddle entomologists and to frustrate farmers, who rely on bees to grow successful crops.  Use of pesticides is the suspected cause of this alarming trend, but scientists also blame loss of natural habitat and a reduction in the bees’ preferred wildflowers.

Cue the guerilla gardener.  Guerilla gardeners plant flowers or vegetables on land that is not their own, often covertly, but usually with the intention of beautifying an otherwise neglected or barren space and improving the environment.  One tool of the guerilla gardener is the seed bomb, a projectile made of compost, seeds, and a bit of potters clay or flour to hold it all together.  Simply throw a bunch of flower seed bombs over a chain link fence into an unattractive vacant lot and a few weeks later…..viola!…. a wildflower meadow emerges.  These illicit gardeners argue that that a field of brown-eyed susans and sunflowers beats dirt and concrete any day!

wildflowers

A field of wildflowers beats an unattractive, barren lot any time!

But aside from aesthetics, seed bombing also attracts honey bees!   Seed bomb an area and you are inviting the bees, and creating an environment that might even support a new hive.  Several companies now sell ready-made seed bombs, but who needs store-bought when there is homemade?!

So tonight, Jake and the kids from the Youth Group of Colonial Manor United Methodist had the assignment of making wildflower seed bombs, with big plans for beautifying the world and helping those bees in need!

The project turned out to be a lot smellier than expected, thanks to the compost, but after the kids got past the cringing and a little bit of gagging, those seed bombs turned out great.

You can find an easy recipe for wildflower seed bombs at the link below.   If you try it yourself, be sure to use wildflowers that are native to your area.  And make sure you work in an area with good (I mean really good) ventilation!

IMG_0158

Set your seed bombs in the sun to dry. Don’t worry, as they dry, the smell of the compost goes away!

But one word of warning – unless you want to face potential legal action while you are improving the world, it may be wise to ask permission  from the property owner before you launch those flower bombs.  Seed bombing has been the topic of legal discussion in a few larger cities and experts warn that in certain circumstances, seed bombing  could actually be interpreted as criminal trespass.

It is hard to imagine a land owner opposed to flowers, right?!  Somewhere out there, there might even be a land owner opposed to sunshine and rainbows and teddy bears too.  So just ask permission before you toss….or maybe before you hand out teddy bears!

I am excited to hear  where the kids shared their seed bombs.  And I am hoping to see my neighborhood brimming with wildflowers, maybe in the most unexpected places!

And in preparation for the influx of bees, Joe will need to prepare as well.

Time to stock up on beer!

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Here’s a great tutorial on seed bombs- there are many others online as well. Now get out there and support those bees!!!

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-a-Seed-Bomb/

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About RoofTop Creations

My name is Lisa and I have a craft business/hobby called RoofTop Creations where I use repurposed materials to make useful housewares. This blog is about my crafting process and what inspires me. It is also about my shop's mascot, RoofTop Chalie, my repurposed racing greyhound.
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