Roy Exum: ‘Bring The Bees Back’

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

One in every three bites of food we put in our mouths you can bet a pollinator like a bumblebee had something to do with it. The bad news is that in 2016 it is believed that 44 percent of the bee colonies in the United States collapsed. Poof. Gone. So the great news is that the Honey-Nut Cherrios people – General Mills – came up with an idea to give to its cereal eaters 100 million free wildflower seeds earlier this month in a glorious campaign to “bring the bees back.”

Hold on! The response was so overwhelming that the front office, located in Golden Valley, MN, called the Veseys Seed people and told ‘em to send all they could find.

In one of the most thrilling First Day of Springs ever, I learned on Monday that 1.5 billion (with a “b”) wildflower seeds were just sent all across the United States. I tried to get in on the rescue effort yesterday but General Mills had already sent away every seed … all 1,500,000,000. Is this the greatest country in the world or what!

If General Mills can do it, so can we. No, not 1.5 billion times but I ordered some wildflower seeds yesterday to put in the woods behind my house. According to the agriculture wizards, most of Tennessee, north Georgia, and north Alabama are in what is called “Growth Zone 7.” That means the last frost of the year will be before April 15 and we are safe to plant until after Oct. 15.

This year we are having an abnormal early spring so plants are blooming early. When you learn that 85 percent of the plants the world over depend on pollinators, bees are a vital part of our ecosystem. I’m not much of a tree hugger but we gotta’ have bees. Do you know if you suffer from allergies, a teaspoon of “local honey” will greatly help? You need to find honey that was gathered in our area and so help me, it will work.

My gardening buddies say the same thing is true from shrubs and bushes. If you’ll buy “local plants,” instead of quick-grow from south Florida, they will thrive far better. The annual Wildflower Sale at the Refection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center is believed to have the best plants in our area and this year’s dates are April 21-22.

John Evans, the greenhouse manager at Reflection Riding, can tell you more about what wildflowers mean to America than anybody. But, trust me on this, bees are vital to our lives. Let’s do all that we can to restore their allegiance and grace, not to mention a bee will flap its wings over 130 times a second. That is almost as mind-boggling as the fact General Mills just sent out 1.5 billion (with a “b”) wildflower seeds on behalf of all of us.

* * *

THE BUMBLEBEE ON A LAGUIOLE

I was taught early in life that a man is incomplete without a folding knife in his pocket. It is a tool, hardly a weapon, and I am a devotee. Most days I carry a simple Swiss Army knife, but on special days I carry a Laguiole knife because it is the best in the world. Laguioles are premium knives that have been made in France since 1829 and the design is that of a woman’s leg. Some have a cork’s screw, added in 1890 at the request of bars in Paris. The knife has two special features. There are 6-to-8 wire braids imbedded in every handle so that a shepherd, far away with the flock, can stick the blade into the ground and have a Three Bishop’s Cross to celebrate Mass.

On the knife’s spine is the remarkable image of a bumble bee, awarded to the region where the knives are made by Napoleon who praised the courage of the warriors from Laguiole. "La mouche" (the fly) is the name of bee on the knife’s action and, again, it is the best folding knife in the world. I have several Laguiloes in my drawer that have carbon-fiber blades and are today worth far more than when I acquired them. Yet it is the bumblebee that draws international attention to the best knife in the world, not that its shape was borne from the back of a woman’s leg! Hurray for the bee.

* * *

‘CAPTAIN MICKEY’ IS A CLASSY GUY

I don’t know if you caught it but in the Sunday newspaper a couple of weeks ago, there was an impressive ad where Mickey McCamish, who ran the District 2 City Council seat, saluted Jerry Mitchell, who won the race. I can’t remember that ever happening here but I wish I could see more things like that. That ad proved to me our civilization still has a chance.

* * *

SPLOST (Special Local Option Sales Tax)

Public school funding has reached the critical point in Hamilton County and a friend sends in this suggestion: “Catoosa County has done very well in funding their schools through a SPLOST (Special Local Option Sales Tax). This is voted on by referendum and everyone participates instead of just property owners. This can be specific to just building facilities and the SPLOST is only for a specific term until it is brought up for a vote again. The politicians can save face since it is left in the hands of the voters. Seems to be working pretty well down there. (I’m for trying anything.)

* * *

ALWAYS GET A SECOND OPINION

This from an Internet buddy:

Ever since he was a child, a guy always had a fear of someone hiding under his bed at night. So he went to a shrink and told him: “I've got problems. Every time I go to bed, I think there's somebody under it.  I'm scared.  I think I'm going crazy.”

"Just put yourself in my hands for one year," said the shrink.

"Come talk to me three times a week and we should be able to get rid of those fears.”

 The guy asks, “How much do you charge?”

“One hundred fifty dollars per visit,” replied the doctor. “I'll sleep on it,” the guy said.

Six months later the doctor met the guy on the street. He asked, “Why didn't you come to see me about those fears you were having?”

“Well,” the guy said, “$150 a visit, three times a week for a year, is $23,400.00. A bartender cured me for $10.00. I was so happy to have saved all that money that I went and bought a new pickup truck.”

“Is that so?” With a bit of an attitude the doc said, “And how, may I ask, did a bartender cure you?”

He said, “He told me to cut the legs off the bed. Ain't nobody under there now!”

It's always better to get a second opinion.

royexum@aol.com


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