I almost see it as a positive feedback loop with more insects, better pollination, more diverse flowers, more insects...
Just as pesticides could create a negative feedback loop.
My only plan for the summer is to seed the lawn with clover, water weekly, and keep it cut at the top height of my mower.
How big was your garden, and how visible from the neighbors? In the front I can see that, but who cares in the back, at least in my area.
The back yard was HUGE. I had wild daisies, black eyed susans, and a variety of other wild flowers. The previous year I'd grown it in order to bring in butterflies, etc and my one neighbour really liked it because they could see it from their second floor windows. The way I did it was to grow it into about the middle of July and after most of the flowering was finished to mow it down.
I think the other neighbour was trying to sell their house that year and instead of just telling me they made a complaint to the city. In fact, I'm willing to bet that it wasn't my neighbours (who I was friendly with) but their real estate agent. Like I said, I was not worried about it at all, but having the city inspector to come to your house and demand that you cut your garden is somewhat stressful (especially if you were planning to grow it out).
You may get some push back from neighbours about the white clover because it is fairly invasive, but probably there isn't anything they can do about it. Anyway, good luck with your lawn! I really enjoyed mine. If you feel like it, mix in some camomile when you overseed. I think you won't regret it (low growing, super soft, smells nice and pretty yellow flowers if you let it grow long enough).
The bees are quite pleased
We have a lot of rain in Waitati and I do not water it. Three years ago it dried out and large parts went brown. Came back happily when the rains came back
Only well off suburban/urban communities the resources to justify mediating disputes to the tune of "my neighbor's hobbies look/sound/smell offensive". If you want freedom to do what you want on your own property you need your neighbors to either have bigger problems or be far enough away to not care. Those places don't generally have good schools or aren't within commuting distance of lots of good jobs. There's tradeoffs to every approach.
It all comes down to being reasonable and in middle upper class suburbia the Overton window of what is reasonable has moved to favor the complainers over the people who want to go about their lives to the point where those places have seen fit to legislate (or enforce via HOA) what is "reasonable" and that inevitably turns into a race to the bottom.
I live in a neighborhood that very closely fits the definition of upper middle class suburbia, and the power balance is most assuredly not in favor of complainers. Quite the opposite in fact.
I also think you do a disservice to this discussion by suggesting it is just innocent people going about their lives that are being held back by the evil complainers. From my perspective it is the assholes driving their damn two-cycle quads up and down the street for hours every morning where there's more than half an inch of snow on the ground. These folks are not going about their lives, they are entertaining themselves at the neighborhood's expense.
I detest HOAs but a well-run community benefits from a collective agreement on what constitutes 'reasonable'.
A large part of us moving out of the suburbs and somewhere rural was the adjacent retired neighbors always being in our business. I'm all for being a considerate neighbor but there's little substitute for a lot of space between you and your neighbor.
HOAs make what's on your side of your fence potentially someone else's business again.
(And they frequently ban chain-link fences, even when they are a cheap, effective, and durable way to put up a fence that won't be popping rusty deck screws out of the slats in three years (or less!) and letting the dogs escape.)
(FWIW I have no issues with paying taxes but annoying to have to pay to fix something existing that's broken).
I agree that more space is better. Once my kids are out of school (which is within walking distance currently) we will move farther out of town. Mostly because I get tired of listening to my neighbors' hobbies ;-)
Which is why we have officials with letterheads to mediate.
Basically anywhere that was incorporated back when they were still burning witches is going to be downright terrible. Of the areas that were developed later some were not blind to the mistakes of the past and these tend to be pretty good. My own town's bylaws are pretty libertarian. They even enumerate the right of the self employed to run a business out of their own home (so long as you don't park too many commercial vehicles over 26k in a residential zone) and are sprinkled with all sorts of great language that limits the government's ability to control the individual. It's almost as good as not living in MA.
That said, while the legal and procedural side of things may be ok, the cultural side is not that great. MA (in my anecdotal experience) is light years behind northern New England when it comes to cultural respect for property rights. Being that busybody who calls the cops because the neighbor's kid won't stop yelling or reports your neighbor's non-permitted driveway repaving to the town is far more tolerated in MA. That kind of stuff is not considered socially acceptable in northern New England for the most part.
First, raked out [thinned / dethatched bermudagrass rhizomes] an area roughly 100 square feet. Broadcast region-appropriate wildflower and herb seed mixes [I'm in the southwest, but regional mixes are available everywhere].
Planted lots and lots of herbs in containers - mints, basils, and every kind of kitchen herb. Herbs tend to attract masses of bees with their yummy inflorescences. Had the added benefit of creating a supply of fresh kitchen herbs. I started out with probably two dozen herbs in containers the first year.
Planted lots of sunflowers in borders and pre-existing beds. Bulletproof plants that attract an alarming number of bees. Also had the side benefit of attracting a flock of feral lovebirds [!], who ate not only the seeds but the flesh of the plant [!!]
Planted a goodly number of squash and pumpkins all around, wherever space permitted
^ that was the first year, and boy I tell you, did the bees ever come! I was amazed to see mobs of bees on the sunflowers and gangs of bees fighting to occupy the pumpkin blossoms. They teemed on the spikes of mint flowers and buzzed in the chicory. All this with very little effort -- the above plants require very little maintenance beyond judicious watering. The one 'trick' is to water with a fine spray wand while the seeds are getting established, so as not to dislodge them.
The second year, I planted sweet clover [Melliotus altissumus] and flowering fruit trees [peach, citrus, apple] and spread more wildflower seeds around. The sweet clover grows tall but pays off with just ridiculous amounts of bee action and great aroma.
The original wildflower planting had already 'established' and a lot of the annuals in there self-seeded. Same goes for herbs like basil. I planted even more herbs in pots the second year, going for more variety, and carrots which if allowed to flower are massive pollinator attractors.
The bees came in droves -- all kinds of bees, not only honey bees -- I mean big black carpenter bees, little shiny orchard mason bees, black-and-white-striped bees, bees that live in the ground, all kinds. Plus a great many other insect and bird pollinators. Plus more dragonflies!
And it just kept building like that, with the plants doing most of the work themselves. Now the place is like 'The Secret Garden" or something, always abuzz with bees and I'm quite sure that it's the nexus of bee activity in the neighborhood. In fact, it worked a little too well, with one colony of bees establishing itself inside my laundry room wall, haha! [but that was an anomaly]
We don't have an HOA, but an annoying neighbor did complain about the wildflowers one year, citing a dumb city ordnance prohibiting grass over six inches in height. The city came to inspect and basically said "uh yeah, we're not gonna issue a citation against a wildflower garden."
Lot size in my case is a quarter-acre, but I think based on observed results that a real impact can be made with almost any lot size. For reference, I broadcast about two pounds of seeds in total the first year, and usually "re-up" with a pound or so annually, depending on how things are looking. Overall, one of the most satisfying endeavors I've undertaken.
Recreational fishermen still get very upset about it despite how positive it is for fishing in waters that are still open. It seems like a decrease in fishing opportunities, but in reality the reserves function like wells of life for the surrounding ocean to draw upon. I'd love to see even more reserved established.
Since domestic and wild bees comingle this should reduce transmission from domestic to wild bee populations, and hopefully give wild bees a chance to recover.
For those interested you’ll be able to find Stamets talking about this on YouTube in his talk “Into The Mycoverse”, and elsewhere, I’m sure.
Speaking of which: http://journalofastrobiology.com/Mars5.html?fbclid=IwAR0YOON...
1. Honey bees in North America are a non-native invasive species.
2. Virtually all honey bees in the United States are livestock.
3. Colony collapse disorder is an economic issue for commercial beekeepers, and apparently not much of a problem.
4. The true threat to honey bees in the United States isn't environment, but rather the introduction of the Varroa destructor mite in 1987 (which eradicated feral honey bees).
A "honey bee sanctuary" in the continental US is a weird idea.
> the total U.S. crop value that was wholly dependent on honey bee pollination was estimated to exceed $15 billion.
> honeybees perform some level of pollination of nearly 75% of all plant species directly used for human food worldwide.
Which sounds like a bit more than just beekeeping.
Bees pollinate 75% of species, but not 75% of calories. The major cereals (wheat, corn, rice) are all self or wind pollinating, as are number of other staples (e.g. potatoes, peas).
It's also worth remembering that if your concern over bees is environmental and not economic, honey bees compete with native bees and also transmit pathogens to them. They're not entirely benign.
Besides, aren't solitary bees supposed to be better pollinators?
As much as I like honey, I can't help but thinking there is a huge gap in logic with all of these people waving and screaming we aren't going to have food because of dwindling honey bee populations.
So any plant that's say native to the new world (corn, beans, squash, tomatoes) must not rely on honeybees for pollination.
This is not to say that there's not a bee problem: non-honey bees suffer from habitat loss (and a lack of investment keeping them around).
Some families of plants native of Europe use bees, other not. Is more about plant phylogeny than about geography. Similar species of flowers in other areas are quickly adopted by bees when available.
Obviously, worth noting that the trees you're listing --- with the possible exception of plums --- are also non-native. Which doesn't make them bad, but does make this an industrial agriculture problem, not an environmental one. And industrial agriculture seems to have the honey bee maintenance problem basically under control.
Osmia lignaria is US native and used to pollinate almonds and orchards, but is not so common.
There are other mason bees native from USA like Osmia ribifloris but they pollinate manzanitas (a relative to Rhododendron), not manzanas (apples). They can pollinate blueberries also (that are in the same family as Manzanitas and share similarly shaped flowers).
Anyone with more expertise is free to correct me, but I feel like clustering bees on single plots, even 124 acres (which seems big, but is not really that big,) really has some risk if your end goal is to preserve the species.
As a pre-emptive counterargument, there's nothing saying that all 124 acres of his ranch can or should host bees. There are tons of arguments for not wanting the hives near the house, other outbuildings, or anywhere animals are kept, for example. It may be that only 26 acres or so (assuming a 1:1 hive:acreage ratio) have flowering plants etc. that are hospitable to bees, even.
In a democracy, the government exists to provide a set of services agreed upon by the people for the benefit of all the people, many times via their elected representatives. Roads, educational facilities, welfare, military, all of those expenses don’t disappear because someone decided to donate something.
If you want tax dollars to support a cause, then vote for it. And there’s no reason tax deductions should be given to support your own little tribe.
This is literally what people have voted for by having tax deductions for certain "good" things, like giving to charity, using some of your land for bees or whatever.
Just because it's agreed that something should be done in the aggregate, doesn't mean that it needs to be centrally managed by some state agency. You decide X is wanted, and then leave the implementation to distributed decision making.
We have a system that enables "donations" to religious tribes in exchange for political support or politicians looting current taxpayers in exchange for future votes by kicking retiree benefit costs 30 years into the future (this is literally happening now).
All of these undesirable outcomes for society are only happening because the complexity creates plausible deniability and difficulty in accounting.
If people want to donate, let them donate, but it needs not having anything to do with taxes. We can save resources on enforcing tax laws, preparing tax filings, and obviously remove all this under the table stuff. Just like how electronic payments reduce tax fraud, only difference is we need total transparency.
E.g. in many EU countries religious organizations are directly funded through taxes. So in some way it comes down to the same thing, both systems have their ups & downs.
Doing it via tax deductions is often cheaper, because in many cases you can get people to match state dollars at some ratio, and since they get to choose what they fund within some framework they often get some benefit for themselves as well.
E.g. in this case Morgan Freeman gets to walk around on his private land covered in bees which'll be partially state funded. The government didn't need to buy land somewhere just for this purpose.
Instead they find someone who's willing to do this not just for the tax benefit, but also because they for whatever reason don't mind a lot of bees on their land.
So Freeman gets a tax write-off, less money is spent overall for the same amount of bees in the ecosystem, it's a win-win.
Trying to control the behavior of giants that are smarter and stronger is probably hopeless, so our focus should be on getting the economy back to normal (pardon the pun).
They also wouldn't disappear if Morgan Freeman had decided to volunteer his labor for a foundation for free - thereby not earning any taxable income - yet the State would have to work it out. In this case, the labor donation was just done indirectly.
The incentive to donate should be wanting to donate, there doesn't need to be anything on top of that from the government.
TL;DR: People have their own, often highly idiosyncratic ideas about what's worthwhile and how they want to spend their money.
I was under the impression that in a democracy there was no single BDFL.
The stories about Springsteen seemed credible. I hope Morgan Freeman is on the level, though.
This of course qualifies for the agriculture exemption on Texas property taxes, so a piece of property that he spent $70M purchasing is paying taxes as if it's worth $290,000. Quite the system we have when the public subsidizes people like Michael Dell for $1m/year on this property alone:
Potential CCD Causes According to EPA:
... researchers who are leading the effort to find out why are now focused on these factors:
Increased losses due to the invasive varroa mite (a pest of honey bees).
New or emerging diseases such as Israeli Acute Paralysis virus and the gut parasite Nosema.
Pesticide poisoning through exposure to pesticides applied to crops or for in-hive insect or mite control.
Stress bees experience due to management practices such as transportation to multiple locations across the country for providing pollination services.
Changes to the habitat where bees forage.
Inadequate forage/poor nutrition.
Potential immune-suppressing stress on bees caused by one or a combination of factors identified above.
When temperatures increased, fauna and
habitat changed drastically, causing the extinction of Apis in the New World until they were reintroduced by European settlers in 1622 (Engel et al. 2009).
This says nothing of the, arguably more important, wild bee population, e.g. bumble bees (genus Bombus) ...
For example, I read articles published on Forbes by "Starts With a Bang" (an astrophysicists) and "GrrlScientist" (a biologist) because I have read their articles previously published from other sites before they moved to Forbes and enjoy what they write.
Can you trust it? Hmmm... Well, you could check up the Twitter postings to see if they are real :-). Not sure if there is much to trust...
I asked him if we could play Rock Paper Scissors.
He said he didn’t know how. So I taught him.
He then told me what he was going to throw. I told him he shouldn’t do that.
Then I beat him.
So I both taught and beat Morgan Freeman at Rock Paper Sissors.
124 acres =~ 0.5 square km or 50 hectar
so pretty big
FWIW though, we have a hive in our back garden and the bees don't bother us or the neighbours at all.
Of course I wouldn't care about motives, if it ends up protecting bees why not.
Our wild bees are not doing so well. https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2018/01/31/79714/the-dark-side-of...
For an acerbic look at the "... but wild bees" argument, see: