Patriotism on this Fourth is all well and good. Feeling patriotic and hanging a flag out in front of your house is also all well and good. So is firing up the old grill and gathering the family for a barbeque. But before you do any of that, time to get out your checkbook.
So, for the moment, our vets who need a ride to the VA hospitals, will get one. But further donations and a steady long term funding program is still needed. So, before you show our patriotism by waving a flag, why not cut a check, made payable to Ride On: Veterans Express and mail it to 3620 Sacramento Drive, SLO 93401. Then call Reps.Capps and McCarthy's local office and tell them you want them to find funding for this program. As Bill Morem notes, "Must this vital service depend on the good graces of a child and her cache of pennies to survive?"
Then go eat hot dogs.
Bees! Bees! Bees!
The garden is running amok and the bees are back and busy at work. Though I just read in the last New Times that keeping bees, a growing hobby, is apparently illegal in the unincorported areas of the county, i.e. Los Osos. Which was news to me and will come as a surprise to hobbyists who have small hives in their back yards. Apparently the rules were put in place years ago when killer African bees were seen as a looming threat, but -- knock wood -- it's been a threat that hasn't become a real problem here, yet. But the rules still stand. So hobbyist apiariasts are busy working with the county to get the rules modified.
What, you might ask, is the problem with people keeping a few hives in the back yard? After all, bees are in trouble so anything we can do to help them should be a very good thing. Well, for one, ill-kept, improperly-kept, abused bees can be a problem. If they're not well cared for, they can leave home and become a nuissance to their neighbors. But well kept, happy bees should be no problem and as far as I can see. Plus, encouraging bee-keeping all over the place might help bees, which are in danger from mass death due from a still-unknown disease/disorder refered to generally as "colony collapse." And if "colony collapse" is the result of a spreadable disease organism, then most professional bee-keeping is the equivalent of factory farming -- gazillions of bees all gathered together in one place, just ripe for rapid disease spread. Hobby beekeeping, on the other hand, is more like small family farming which scatters hives and colonies all over the place so if a disease hits, it's limited to that one hive rather than wiping out gazillions.
Hopefully, our local apiarists will help fashion practical, workakable changes in the law so anyone interested in keeping bees can do so. And the rest of us need to plant lots of water-thrifty flowers to help the little guys out. Our own lives (and food supply) depend on them.
So, this Fourth, hang the flag, send a donation, plant a petunia -- plant three petunias: red, white & blue-- then invite a bee over for lunch. And have a wonderful Holiday!