Samhain/Halloween/Dia de los Muertos marks the end of the harvest season, and needed time for honoring and mourning the dead – especially acute this year. And as we’re harvesting the last of our pumpkins, it’s time to start planting new garden seeds for next year – just as many of our neighbors and friends who’ve come through the last weeks of northern California’s recent historic fires. The earth will regenerate, but, especially in places ravaged by these terrible fires, needs the help of humans to recover and start the growing cycle anew.
Long ago I decided I had to build a bat box (plans courtesy of Bat Conservation International), and the time seemed right – to help along the replenishing process of nature. Plus, it’s Bat Week! In order to create a safe haven for bats in the yard, in addition to installing a bat house BCI advises leaving leaf and branch litter on the ground, as well as any trees with holes; have a water source nearby (that’s protected from predators); and keep cats (bats’ natural predators) inside, especially at night. These small, furry pollinators also act as seed dispersers and pest controllers – keystone species – without their valuable services, entire ecosystems could collapse. But with their help and that of us humans, we can watch together the rejuvenation of the coming year.