Outside of my window a cold rain washes away the last of February’s first snow. Even though this winter has been relatively mild it’s still cold enough for a fire in the fireplace and have a cup of coffee while reviewing my archive. The image of the ironweed from early September came up and I thought it was the perfect subjec to bring a little warmth to a gray day.
When I look into the photo I can feel the balmy breeze against my skin and smell the sweetness of the ironweed bloom. The day was warm without being humid. The leaves were just showing the first sign of color. The bees were busy with gathering pollen for that last bit of honey to get them through the oncoming winter. I’m by no means an expert on honeybees but I’ve learned that that don’t actually hibernate in winter. So they have to store enough honey to feed themselves until Spring. Honeybees activity warm the hive with their metabolism so there has to be plenty of fuel for their bodies or their whole colony could die. Fortunately the ironweed is both plentiful and productive for them. The plant itself is considered to be weed and is often cut down as such but in doing so we are removing a resource from the honeybees that pollinate the flowers that produce the fruit and seed that feeds the rest of forest.
As I’m considering the connection between the ironweed and the survival of bees through winter I notice that coffee is gone, the fire is low and its time for me to do a little hibernation of my own.
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