Grit Blogs > Reluctant Rebels

Listen To The Land

Jack FernardI was walking around the property this evening, trying to mentally detox, when I noticed some bees buzzing around some flowers. There's been a lot of bad news for the bees this past year and bad news for the bees means bad news for me. "How bad?" you ask. Albert Einstein is often quoted as saying, "If the bee disappears off the surface of the earth, man would have four years of life left." That's pretty bad!

Owning acreage for the first time, I've been really excited about being a 'good steward' and crafting a piece of land that is not only good for me, but good for the living beings that I share it with. I want to make it more fruitful; more of what it was before being 'tamed' so many years ago. This has lead me to do a lot of reading about permaculture and the benefits of doing things the natural way. For those who may be unfamiliar with permaculture, a good example would be companion planting. Companion planting is where two different kinds of plants grow better next to each other, than they would if they were planted alone. Another example of permaculture is planting flowering plants in order to attract beneficial bugs – to which bees clearly qualify.

flowers in mid-September 

I've spent a lot of time researching what blooms when and making a list of things to plant. And this is all well and good. But it dawned on me, as I was watching the bees tonight that there were flowers right in front of me. Yes, even as the leaves are beginning to change color, there are blossoms open and full of color. In fact, the more I thought about it, I realized that there have been flowers consistently blooming since the snow thawed. And yet I was so preoccupied with reading and planning about how I was going to improve things that I had failed to notice that?!

That's actually kind of embarrassing.

flowers in mid-September 

I realize that my mistake was not intentional, and I know in my heart that there wasn't an ounce of pride in it. I was just so caught up with what others had done that I failed to see the obvious. I had failed to notice the very best source of knowledge ... even as it completely surrounded me and was starring me in the face.

I still have my list of things to plant. And I will continue to read about the efforts of others. But I will not be so foolish as to exclude the evidence of things working right in front of me. Instead, I will take note of what is growing, of how it is growing and where it is growing. I will watch to see what benefits are gained while waiting for seeds that I can harvest and plant again. That's not to say that I won't try new things, but I won't clear out what is working in order to mimic what someone else has done.

I think if we are to truly be a benefit to this amazing and beautiful world that we live in, then we should we first observe and listen to it. Every relationship requires a frame of reference and this earth already knows what is necessary for human life. It's had a lot of experience in that area. What is lacking is attentiveness on the part of humanity. We should study what is happening in our own backyards, understand (as best we can) the harmony of what is happening and then use the talents and the energy that we have.

Isn't that the best way of doing things?

conniemoore
9/20/2015 1:22:20 PM

Jack, The answer to your final question is YES> Your comments on taking time to really see what is on and in our land reminded me of Georgia O' Keeffe once saying, "No one really sees a flower, really it is so small-we haven't time, and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time." Keep searching your land for answers to your questions about it. It will tell you want it needs and what it can give you in return. Connie Moore, At Home in Ohio


jack
9/19/2015 11:51:25 PM

Nebraska Dave, I had to laugh. You are absolutely right! Wildlife can become 'a bit greedy'. When I was growing up, whitetail deer were referred to as 'the big brown rats'. The orchard farmers really struggled with them, because the deer would eat the blossoms - and no blossom means no fruit. On a personal note, I'm really enjoying reading about your Tera Gardens. I had to start at the beginning, of course, so I've got a little catching up to do, but I'm really impressed with what you're doing. I especially liked the map view, seeing that patch of green right next to all that development. I'm sure the 'Tom' appreciates it! Thanks so much for the comment.


nebraskadave
9/19/2015 8:14:31 AM

Jack, you have a great grasp on what should be the right way to live. We should live in harmony with nature instead of trying to instruct and force nature to do what we what it to do. I have a vacant lot garden in the middle of a city and am trying to grow without harming or destroying the animal life. After all they were there first and I invaded their territory. I don't mind if they eat some of the garden and have in past years planted part of the garden just for them. I'm not sure that was a wise thing because wildlife can become a bit greedy but I'm in process of dealing with keeping them out of my garden and still letting them have their garden. It has indeed become a challenge but one that I love to do. ***** Have a great permaculture day.