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April 16, 2016
Dandy Springtime!
A Note from the Farmer's Wife
As you can see from this picture, we don't spray our lawn for dandelions. This carpet of gold manifested quite suddenly, and at it's appearance our daughter leapt from the car. She only paused a moment to say, "Mama, is it "Dandelion Day?" Yes, I guess it is! Only once a year, and only for a few days, can you see this burst of sunshine in the grass, without one single "wish," the white puffy seed heads. There is something magical about it, tempting one to take a nap in the sun and listen to the buzz of honeybees.
Although many lawn aficionados decry the dandelion as a weed, these prolific blooms provide essential nourishment early in the season for pollinators. Bees and butterflies, beetles and even birds, benefit from the dandelion. Often this plant offers the very first feeding for insects, and so can make or break a colony's successful survival. Instead of jumping on the mower early this season, consider leaving the blooms for at least a few days. Take a little time, and a small person with you, if one is handy, and investigate the life at your feet. Discover the variety of six legged and two wingers that industriously get to work when the blooms start.
Gooserock Farm, a farm full of apiaries, has a great article on how we can help save pollinators. In line with my thinking they add a lot of detail if you would like to learn more:
"Most of the important bee plants in the northeast are wildflowers. Of these, probably the single most valuable early spring wildflower is the dandelion. If a hive survives the winter, beekeepers know the bees will be safe from starvation if they can stay alive until dandelions bloom. Dandelion pollen is moderately nutritious and the nectar is abundant. It doesn’t normally produce what we call a ‘surplus’, i.e. enough nectar to produce honey above and beyond what the bees will use for themselves, so you won’t generally see dandelion honey for sale, but it gives the bees a huge boost and adds to the health and wellbeing of the hive."

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