Apple Trees, Spring Greens and Black-and-Gold Bumblebees

We added three new trees to our small fruit orchard this past weekend. Two Macintosh (my husband’s favorite), and for pollination’s sake, a golden delicious.

If you’re thinking of growing apples, remember that there is no such thing as a reliably self-pollinating apple tree. All apple varieties need a compatible pollinator within 100 feet in order to set lots of fruit. The Macintosh tree needs to be pollinated by a Gala, Fuji, Cortland, or Golden Delicious apple tree. Macintosh will not pollinate another Macintosh.

Our peach trees survived the harsh winter and the buds are fattening. Peaches also need compatible pollinators nearby in order to produce fruit. Our trees are a good seven feet tall now. I’m hoping for a few fresh peaches this summer.

And how does the pollen travel from tree to tree? By way of the magnificent, miraculous black-and-gold bumblebee. To a much lesser extent, wind carries some pollen between trees, but is not nearly as precisely as the cute little bees that live nearby. Bees are critical to food production. And their numbers are dropping fast. This is something to be very concerned about.

Since the 1940s, honeybee colonies have decreased from 5 million to fewer than 2.5 million. There are many reasons for the decline, from parasites and bacteria to environmental stress from insecticide and fungicide use.

Here’s some great information on bees and pollination from the Great Pollinator Project:

To get involved in the larger bee rescue efforts, check this out:


Want to actually do something about the decline? Check out

…plant flower gardens around your home to encourage bees and then register the space with Pollinator’s Partnership database.

This weekend, we also put in the spring greens garden (seed) bed, and that’s big, wonderful news! This really marks the beginning of the growing season. The greens bed features dandelion, two kinds of lettuces, and kale. My husband and I both enjoy fresh salads in summer, I love kale, and dandelion greens are a frequent part of my morning green/banana juice. It will be great to cut fresh, organic dandelion from our greens bed soon.

Someone asked me for my recipe for the morning juice I drink Monday to Friday, so here it is:

1 frozen banana (I chop organic bananas into chunks and freeze them in bags for a 2-week supply)
Large handful of fresh Italian parsley
Large handful dandelion greens, when available
Splash banana or vanilla extract
A taste of raw honey
Kefir or coconut water
Whir it all in your blender and drink cold.

Also this weekend, I put the potted rosemary outside, days only (indoors at night for now), planted a window box of Italian parsley seeds, and a few extra pots of it, and planted some pansies I bought at the nursery. We also added a large aloe plant to the kitchen. I saw tulips peeking out of the soil in the flower garden out front, and the hens and chicks are coming back.

The new, amazing Buddha is out front. “What if someone steals it?” my husband asked. Well, I wouldn’t be happy about that, but if someone needs it more than we do, then it would be a good thing. May it bless them.

Absolutely everything is impermanent, and when something is taken from your grasp, it’s a good opportunity to learn about the burden of attachment. 

I once lost a large sum of money when I was out, and at first, I was afraid. But it gave me the chance to fully realize that money comes and goes anyway. One way or another, that money would have drifted out of my hands. Like the garden – it comes and goes. And so it is.

Explore the Five Precepts of Buddhist ethics, very simple and straightforward, and all based on ultimate reality. In the following, the original Pali text is given in italics, and the corresponding English translation is given side by side:

1. Panatipata veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami: I observe the precept of abstaining from the destruction of life.

2. Adinnadana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami: I observe the precept of abstaining from taking that which is not given.

3. Kamesu micchacara veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami: I observe the precept of abstaining from sexual misconduct.

4. Musavada veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami: I observe the precept of abstaining from falsehood.

5. Suramerayamajjapamadatthana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami: I observe the precept of abstaining from intoxicants that cloud the mind and cause carelessness.

Spring is here, my loves, it really is. The garden is stirring. There’s lots of work to be done. I’m ready.


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