Spanish Needle

Reading Time: 4 minutes

“I don’t understand what the bees forage off of down here.”

Neil is walking through the pasture, I’m keeping up with him wondering if I should attempt an answer. I don’t necessarily have one but I’d attempt one just to stay in the conversation. The mild gulf coast weather has made the grass green all the way into late November. But Neil is bemoaning the fact that our pasture and all the ones around us are thatched over with bahia. Bahia is a hardy perennial grass that loves the farm’s sandy loam. It’s good for cattle. Not so much for pollinators be they honey ones or otherwise.

“In Arkansas we had stands and stands of goldenrod and Spanish needle, clover and thistles. Golden and I would put the hives out on acres and acres of wildflowers from spring through fall.” He’s shaking his head. He’s remembering back decades ago, to his teenage years and what fields around our home looked like. I think back too. It seems things were wilder then.

Everything is more managed now.

Stumbling a bit over the gopher holes riddling the ground of the pasture, I don’t fall and Neil shakes his head.

“Do you ever where anything but flipflops, Jan.” It’s hard to know if that was said with more exasperation, resignation, or brotherly derision.

“I can feel the gophers vibrating as they are digging when