This time of year Phillip and I drive around with blinders on our eyes. Even to the point where we’ve declared to each other we need to leave our area during this time. Just the 5 mile drive to our favorite farm stand, Nature’s Touch, in Templeton creates anxiety, bewilderment and frustration. Yes–we, as a collective group of ranchers/farmers/landowners/residents, welcome with outstretched and up stretched arms rain, yet we hasten to then don our sprayers to apply chemical herbicides to our fence lines, to the grasses growing under the rows of vines, to the 3 feet around our fruit trees, under our olive trees, around road signs, barns, sidewalks (public and private), trees in our parks, and the list goes on and on. With the advent of rain, California transforms overnight from our dried and burned landscape to lush, green, ripe fields–burgeoning with native grasses, wheat, weeds, wildflowers. But how dare such wonders grow in unwanted places! So herbicides are applied, to kill. And indeed, the vibrant green changes to yellow and red as the growth is dying. Whatever pollinators (honey bees, bumble bees, native bees, butterflies, moths, birds) have happened to land also reap the herbicides. I often wonder if the earthworms, too, die as quickly as the grasses and weeds. And take a look at the people applying herbicides–they are wearing gloves, masks, some even wear full body suits. How ironic–unsafe to breathe, but okay to eat the fruit from that sprayed tree?
This is a time for you, too, to look around and perhaps apply the blinders–are your favorite vineyards, orchards, gardens and farms also spraying? The telltale sign is yellow and red and death amidst vibrant, natural green. And if you care, then apply the “blinders” where necessary.