As we navigate all the snags we’ve hit in our development of our homestead, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about purpose, integration, and stewardship. First, it was, “Let’s get sheep!” But sheep do not graze in a vacuum. They’ll be useful for brush control and clearing land, but they can’t do it all. And, of course, we’ll need eggs anyway PLUS chickens can follow the sheep across pasture and help scratch the manure into the ground while taking care of parasites. While we can graze sheep amongst the walnut trees, they’re unlikely to get a lot out of the dropped buts. Pigs would be a better choice for that, wouldn’t they?
And on and on spin the plans and ideas. No one element can be managed alone. All the pieces must fit together. I’ve spent quite a bit of my time in this cold, uncooperative Spring exploring video modules on farm as ecosystem, rotational cover cropping, and more.
Nor does the practical management of the farm exist without the spiritual framework. Stewardship. Preservation. Management. Community. All these things are integral.
I’m trying to return to blogging, and as I do so I intend to address many of these topics. Buckle in for a discussion of restorative vs. extractive agriculture. Why (in spite of the extensive modules at ag schools across the country) removing biomass and attempting to replace what is sold with inorganic carbon and nitrogen just doesn’t work – the missing piece, if you will. The way that ag schools have wandered off mission, the Morrill act, genetics and breeding, and the goal of improving the lives of rural people is fodder (pun intended) for some more upcoming posts.
I’ll highlight some people doing good work in all these areas and share some of my stumbling attempts at creating a system that will nurture us, the land, and allow us to leave behind something better than what we started with. You might even get some recipes, animal stories, craft projects, and other goodies along the way.