A Buzz in the Meadow: The Natural History of a French Farm
By Dave Goulson, author of A Sting in the Tail
Picador Books, 2015
I've been on a memoir kick lately. I get like that every once in a while. I will focus on a particular type of book or topic and delve into it until the next hankering comes along. And nonfiction is my first pick. Anything French farm is also on my list, as well as anything with a gardening or wildlife theme. So, I reached for this book when I saw the title. Just what I have been wanting!
The author, a conservationist, and scientist who has studied Bumblebees for over 20 years, and founded the Bumblebee Conservation Trust in 2006, decided to buy a run-down farm in rural France in the early 2000's and turn it into a sanctuary for all the wildlife, especially the insects and in particular, his beloved Bumblebees.
It was a journey that was absorbing and delightful. The over-arching theme of the book is to get you to care about the smallest fellow travelers on this earth and the ones most in danger, the insects. He makes you long to connect to nature and help to preserve it. And you can learn a lot while you follow him on his journey. You learn, according to the author, "...the importance of flies, how some flowers act as thermal blankets for bees...", and a myriad of other interesting and fun things. It isn't told in a dry scientific manner. This guy can really write and paints a picture with his words.
I thought at first the focus would be on bringing back the derelict farm itself, but this book is about so much more. He is creating an oasis of safety for the life in all its forms that live there, so that they might thrive. If you are winter worn, this might be the book for you to choose now. It gives you a taste of sun and you just might be able to recall the buzz of the bees from your garden last year. And anticipate hearing them in the next several months. It just might spark an interest in you to plant for the wildlife and join in his quest for a better world for us all.