My Minnesota backyard is still covered in snow, but some of you are already enjoying flowering spring bulbs. This is the time of year I start getting serious about what my summer garden should look like. I should be planting more swamp milkweed this year, and hopefully my tomatoes will be happier in the 3 foot by 3 foot bed that is being added to the back yard.
One longed for addition will not happen. My town council decided not to allow backyard beekeeping. Ever since I moved to this house, I’d been aware of efforts to change the town rules to allow for backyard chickens and bees. The council voted last month to allow chickens, but not bees. Having been pecked by my grandma’s chickens more times than I can count, I have zero interest in chickens. What surprised me the most was that although more individuals in a survey of citizens said they would keep chickens, the percent of the population who opposed chickens was about 15% higher than those who opposed backyard bees, but the city stands to collect more in licensing fees from the potential chicken wranglers than from bee keepers.
My current writing project features a bee keeper who hates chickens. Personal curiosity drove my research into pollinators and bee keeping, which in turn fed my manuscript and efforts to change town laws. I won’t be able to set up a backyard hive, but I am looking forward to welcoming bees and pollinators to my yard with a variety of colorful blooms and native plants.