What I hear at this time is that Mother Earth is asking us to take Spring Time as an opportunity to renew ourselves and reconsider our path.
Like it or not we humans are, collectively, on a journey on this small, perfect Earth we share. Trumpkins/Clintonians, Socialists/Libertarians, Hippies/Businessmen, Third World/First World, Indigenous/Immigrant, City Folk/Country Folk….we share this home. Though it may not seem like it, as we divide between nations and battle for resources, we share it all. What we do to our neighbors we do to ourselves. We need resources (gifts of the Earth) to survive and we need love and connection (from each other) to thrive. If “It Takes a Village” to raise a child into a compassionate responsible adult, then Earthen Heart is but one Vision for a reconsideration of how this village can manifest in a rural setting. I am humbled, overwhelmed and appreciative of all the other efforts simultaneously occurring globally.
Here we observe nature, mimic and expand the existing flows and cycles in order to improve human habitat while also giving back positive inputs to nature. Rather than simply remove weeds and bring in soil amendments, we first consider these plants in their own right, not as problems. In fact, the more we learn about the nutritional and medicinal value of “weeds,” as we identify and research one plant at a time, the more we can reconsider the whole paradigm of farming and focusing on single row crops. For now, some undesirable plants are going into these black barrels to become compost. The image above shows fresh weeds in the barrel and in the background compost from last falls weeds. It transforms into rich compost pretty quickly. Even this pesky “dead nettle,” pictured below, has some notable uses.
Inspired in part by the Nearings classic book “The Good Life” we have chosen to minimize farm animals and animal waste in the equation and to build soil up slowly but surely. The west side of the property is wet and rich soil and the East side is generally more sandy, so we bring buckets of soil up as needed as we dig out ponds and such. Domestication of ourselves and animals is a trend that has seemingly made us all less healthy and burdened us with so much work and expenses related to food production, medicine, etc. Re-wilding is a process that many of us have begun. How far we choose to go is a personal choice. A gradual but steady shift is our preference here. Why are so many drawn to these “Survivor” reality shows one has to ask – is this part of a cultural meme related to re-wilding ourselves?
Cilantro is an example of a plant that we encourage to re-seed itself, letting a couple plants grow seed heads then spreading and digging in the seeds in fall, cover with mulch and wait for spring. Other plants like garlic, wild onion and mustard greens seem to work well in this way. This is another form of re-wilding the plants.
Though I love to be in the gardens it is perhaps most important to build community and lately I have seen that as involving not only asking people to come help here, but reaching out to nearby farms and friends and seeing what they need a hand with. This morning I helped my friend Joe at Harvest the Good.
Thanks for reading. Next post will be about our upcoming summer blueberry gathering at Earthen Heart.