Pollinator troubles and botanical illiteracy

bees on helleboreThere’s a diary over at DailyKos about a Beltway gathering going on looking at Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).

It will be interesting to see what they come up with. But what caught my eye was the writer talking about how a third of the U.S. diet — particularly the tasty crops — depend on pollinators. One crop singled out was asparagus.

Can you think of any crop less dependent on pollinators than asparagus? Oy. I’m glad there is growing concern about pollinator problems. But please don’t compromise your credibility by telling everyone that our asparagus is threatened by CCD.

My Generation

[Reposted because some glitch in this message blew out my page.]

Via Donita Sparks at Firedoglake:

The above video [below] was the most watched this week on YouTube. It all started when documentary filmmaker Tim Samuels was making a hard-hitting series for the BBC about the isolated and disenfranchised elderly in Britan titled Power To The People. He wanted to have a grand finale for his project by bringing together 40 of his subjects to record The Who’s My Generation at Abbey Road studios in London to bring attention to their situation and blow some misconceptions of the elderly out of the water.

Hitting the big five-oh next weekend. Already got my first AARP solicitation. I can relate.

Amy Stewart on worms in NY Times

I’m sure Amy Stewart’s fair trade coffee will taste especially good this morning when the GardenRanter savors it while reading her op-ed contributor column in the NY Times, How the Worm Turns

She ledes:

BIRDS have all the luck. New or rare species get discovered and written up in scientific journals and celebrated for their curved bills or their salmon-colored feathers or their unusual techniques for extracting seeds from pine cones.

When the ivory-billed woodpecker was reported to have been spotted in Arkansas after 50 years in hiding, the bird became an overnight celebrity.

I can relate. I have friends who work at the renowned Cornell Lab of Ornithology (the folks who spearheaded the ivory-billed woodpecker search) and a neice who’s a crow researcher. We gardeners are often passionate, but not like the bird people.

Read the rest of Amy’s Earth Day tribute to worms.

Bill Maher on pollinators

Warning: Adult content.

But Bill gets serious around 3:30, quoting Einstein: “If the bee disappeared off the face of the globe, man would only have only four years of life left … ”

Maher: “We’re the ones suffering from colony collapse disorder …”

Bill is a bellwether, and while I disagree with him on some issues, he is an enthusiastic environmentalist.

Update: TDS: Jason Jones Refutes “An Inconvenient Truth” via Crooks an Liars. Hilarious.

Spring #4

I understand the difference between weather and climate. But if one of the characteristics of this period of climate change we’re in is erratic weather, I think this past winter qualifies.

Our first spring came the first week of January. After winter-like weather (at least by Austin standards) in December, 5 of the first 6 days of January had highs of 50 F or above.

Only 4 days in February got above freezing. March 6 to 9 was close to the coldest 4-day stretch of the winter, with lows of -6, 1, 1, and -2. Four days later: Spring #2 with a 4-day stretch in the 50s and 60s.

Following another week of cold weather with lows getting down to 3 on the 21st, Spring #3 with a lot of 50s and 60s the end of March and the beginning of April. Since April 5, it’s been mostly in the 30s for highs, leading up to our big Nor’easter April 15-16.

But it hit 60 Thursday and Friday and the forecast is 60s and maybe even 70s for the next week.

It’s officially spring.

verbascum, ephemerals and spilled hypertufa