Blooms of Promise

It’s beginning to look and feel a lot like spring around our central Kansas farm. The cattle pastures have been burned and fresh grass is now growing in preparation for summer grazing. There’s been increased talk of where we will be planting our crops that will be harvested later in the fall. We’ve finished up servicing our planter and have made room in our shed for the seed order that we anticipate arriving in a few days. Soon, the corn will go into the ground, followed by the popcorn, soybeans and, finally, sorghum. Like clockwork, it’s an annual process that is guaranteed to take place on the farm.

After many cold and dreary days of rain and snow drizzle, the sun is also more present, which is helping the wheat fields transform into a beautiful and vibrant green. The daffodils are making their yearly appearance, and some of my fruit trees have also begun to flower.

My apricot trees are always the first to bud and blossom every spring. More often than not, a late freeze will zap the blossoms, and I mourn the loss of the promise of fresh, sweet apricots in the summer.

Last year I celebrated the beauty of the apricot blossoms in the early days of the pandemic. My kids had just started their remote learning, which would last the rest of the school year, and I was working fulltime from home. On my 30-second “commute” from my office in our shop down to the house, I celebrated the sight of the apricot blossoms and the hope it provided me for later in the summer. A few days later, a freeze destroyed all hope. As dramatic as it sounds, it was very 2020.

A few days ago, as I drove into our yard, I couldn’t help but notice that one of my apricot trees has, like clockwork, once again begun to bud and blossom. The beautifully arranged dots of pink flowers set against the warm browns of the tree bark are always a sight I look forward to seeing following a cold and gray winter. As I approached the tree to get a better look at the tiny, beautiful flowers, I began to hear a small humming sound.

As I got closer, the humming turned into a collective buzz, and I soon realized that the fruit tree was occupied by thousands of busy honeybees collecting nectar and pollen. As I stood beneath a branch to witness the flying workers hurriedly move from flower to flower, the hope of a sweet summer once again entered my mind. While I briefly reminded myself of last year’s brutal disappointment, I allowed the steady buzz of the working honeybees to convince me that there is still a chance that this year’s outcome will be different and that there is still a chance that this summer will welcome something sweet.

While there are many days still ahead before I can guarantee a fruit crop, the presence of the honeybees have at least convinced me that this year’s outcome looks much more promising than last year’s. And for that I am thankful.

What a difference a year can make.

“Insight” is a weekly column published by Kansas Farm Bureau, the state’s largest farm organization whose mission is to strengthen agriculture and the lives of Kansans through advocacy, education and service.

Story from: Kansas Farm Bureau–written by Kim Baldwin, McPherson County, farmer and rancher.