Fireflies, a.k.a. lightning bugs, were a big event at Fourth of July picnics during my western Pennsylvania childhood. Our pack of cousins and siblings ran and yelped through the swarms after dark. Fireflies don’t bite, sting, or make noise, so no one stopped us from chasing the tiny lights while adults picked up the day’s picnic and packed the family automobiles.
Fireflies were so numerous that they could brighten the night. Little did we know that the lights, a product of the insect’s “bioluminescence,” were key to their courting ritual. The aerial dance insured fireflies would flash again next year.
Have you turned a new leaf when it comes to land care? Many people have. For instance, we plant for pollinators, choose native plants, reduce lawn sizes, and use electric equipment instead of gas-powered. Most of those changes take place within the confines of our properties without attracting negative attention.
The same is not always true for autumn leaves.
The stray leaf, blowing in the wind on a dry fall day, has pushed more than a few neighbors into standoffs behind their rakes and leaf-blowers. That's true even now, when it’s no secret that we live in a time where lawns, gardens, parks, and street-scapes are meaningful to the survival of regional species.
An elderly farmer once told me, "In 90 years of living, I've learned one thing. Change is the only constant." The fall of 2017 would make him smile. Everywhere I look, people are exploring new ideas in land care--and some of them are as old as the hills. If even some of these trends take hold, our individual and commercial landscapes will be notably different in the near future. Please use the link above to learn more.
It's November in New England. Got leaves? More to the point, are you hearing leaf blowers? This week's column in the New London Day put a rake into this topic to see if there's a way to find inner peace around leaf blowers. Visit the link: "When Leaf Blowers Go to Charm School."
There are two ways of looking at everything--even our famous New England autumn leaf bonanza. We can view it as a big, boring yard job--or as a free source of soil fertility for the coming year. Leaves are also important habitat for overwintering insects. Leaf piles provide food for overwintering birds.
There are five ways, by my count, to capture the value of leaves. See "Put Leaf Mulch to Work." If you're having trouble with the link, please download the file below.