No, this is not a friendly repeat of some old anti-war song about wrongs. It’s a report on Mother Nature, and how She’s faring this spring, at least at my own location.
I know I am can only report from my own location, a few miles west of the Augusta area. (Augusta, Georgia, that is, Home of the Masters – golf tournament that is). And while the blooms may be full out on the golf course, they aren’t so much here.
It started with a false spring – the promise of spring in an environment that’s gone wrong. I’ve seen more and more of this as my time on this Earth has gone by. I’m sure you older folks have noticed it as well: earlier spring, shorter duration winters, and sharper, more severe weather swings of increasing frequency and density.
But this year (sighing) – it’s about the same as last year, only worse. Last year the cool fooled the buds into keeping their leaflets folded until the true spring had arrived. This year? Not so much.
This year we got some “freak” warm weather (which has about become the ‘norm’) during mid-winter, followed by short blasts of frosts (thanks, your Northern folks: you can keep it!). During this period of cycles one came – and then another – which were enough to open them dang blooms up.
And so – every so often a few flowers would show, Bang! – then a frost, and they’d all fall off. I’ve noticed a 80% loss of wisteria around the place, including out in the woods. My nut trees (not that we can eat those things) are missing well over 70% of what would have been ‘nuts’ in the fall. Most of the buds just fell off – long before the bees could come to pollinate them.
Speaking of bees, that’s another things that’s off. Usually those ‘nut’ trees attract thousands, if not tens of thousands of bees. Every year you can hear them humming – the sound just fills the air! Mostly it’s bumblebees, but honeybees as well. But this year? I guess due to the low flower output they have been affected as well. Last year we didn’t get enough to fertilize our squash, so there were blooms, but no fruit. This year? It looks even worse.
What bothers me in all of this is: how are the animals going to fare come winter? If what I am seeing is any sign or indication of things, fall production is going to be off. WE may be paying more for fruit, vegetables and such – IF the same story holds true all over. I hear lettuce and cabbage have shot up due to some unusual frosts in the Mississippi valley area – I don’t know if it is true. And I haven’t heard the peach farmers complaining, which they usually would do if a cold weather snap had caused them a disaster. But I’m wondering about all those other crops – those things people don’t eat, but animals do.
Of course life will “adjust” – that is the pattern. You either adjust – or go extinct. Or in our case (simply humans) we alter the environment to fit us. Even if it means putting ourselves into our own little boxes and sealing the environment out.
But meanwhile life goes on – on the outside.
I don’t know how many people are actually paying attention to this kind of stuff. I’ve been monitoring my own land (a mixture of dry clay and sandy soil down to bottomland with a pond and a creek – all on one acre, measured) – for over twenty-five years and I’ve seen a lot. A lot of loss in terms of wildlife, variety in wildlife and such. When the neighborhoods were cut in we lost much . . .
But even still, I’ve accepted my fate in the name of progress and have continued to monitor my land – and others.
In most places it seems this unusual ‘winter’ which left us with more false springs than I care to count has badly affected the environment in some places. The flowers – they all came out too early, even before the bees – and then they were wiped out by the cold and freezes we had later on. The bees, coming out of their hibernation, have found almost all of the flowers are gone. Later on it’ll be the animals coming out for their food. There’s gonna be a lot less fruit and berries for them to eat. This fall they’ll start to go hungry.
We’ll have to see what the winter will bring. Will the coyotes (an invasive, but replacing all the grey wolves we wiped out) come on closer into town – perhaps feed on a pet or two? Will there be a general wipeout of some population or two? Are the lesser number of flowers going to mean a smaller natural crop next spring – especially since the remaining animals are going to be foraging harder this year?
Anyway . . . just reporting from the woods . . . and we shall see what life will bring.