With whatever excitement or trepidation (or some combination of both?) we may feel in advance of it, every journey begins with an act of our wills - to take the first step!
After writing the post on what inspired me and my beloved to launch into it, this will be my first post on the journey we have begun to take into the fascinating world of permaculture generally and "Back to Eden" gardening specifically.
One which we expect to be on for whatever "number of days" we have remaining to us ...
This lead image was a powerful illustration, to us, of what lies behind the inspiration we have derived from all I wrote about in my inspiration post - Life and Death. I will come back to touch on it again in the "Philosophical Postscript" section, at the end of this post.
First, "let the journey begin" and walk with me, dear reader, through what we have experienced along the way, in taking our first steps ...
Initial Decisions and the Inevitable First Hurdles ...
While the inspiration to get going was considerable, the almost immediate "reality checks" to progress were equally considerable. One specific example being how much of the "good earth" did we have to devote to this exciting new chapter of our lives?
The answer? "Square foot" gardening anyone? 😉 Seriously, anyone undertaking even the thought of starting out on a journey like this one is immediately faced with an almost overwhelming number of choices to make. Many of them written about with a lot of passion, by people similarly motivated!
We resolved this fairly quickly by realizing there is no absolute "right" or "wrong" answer. You just have to get started and do what seems best to you, within the constraints of the circumstances in your own life. For us, that was the "reality check" that we live on a pretty standard lot in a small town. And much of that was already taken up by "mature" landscaping planted decades before us. By the previous owners of our home ...
So ... We ultimately settled on doing what we could, with the portion of our yard which could be the most readily and easily devoted to this new chapter of our lives. Then, learn what lessons we could from it. And apply them, over time, to whatever increased amount of square footage we deemed best to devote to it.
With this initial decision made, we were "off and
running shuffling" ... 😉
There were really only two areas of our yard which readily lent themselves to forging ahead. The western side yards, both in front of and behind the fence we had around our back yard.
Photos: Side Yard, Front and Behind Fence
- Note 1: First picture shows one of our challenges. What to do with the beautiful yellow hollyhock we had growing there ... 🤔
- Note 2: Second picture shows work in the beginning stages of getting this area ready for what's coming ...
First, both of these spaces had the most southern sunlight shining on them. A big deal at our elevation, since our growing season is already comparatively short.
Second, while there was a lot of current vegetation, most of it we were ready to either relocate or part with altogether. We also had a number of problem weedy areas, which we were happily looking forward to bringing under better control.
Another key decision was deciding exactly which route we were going to follow in providing mulch and cover to our ground. Again, pretty quickly we determined we wanted to follow Paul Gautschi's "Back To Eden" gardening approach and primarily use wood chips.
While reaching this decision was pretty easy, deciding where we were going to get some wood chips was not. Seeing many online references to supposedly all of the "many resources" for free wood chips "all around us," in our area we failed to find a single one! 😧
So ... We decided we would make our own ...
First Step: Source of Wood Chips
On the opposite side of our lot, from the pictures shown above, are a number of trees. From the early days of the property, aspens had been planted. As "nursery" trees for the evergreens planted at the same time - a blue spruce and a ponderosa pine.
As is often the case and was true for our property, the aspens slowly die off, as the evergreens grow in size and strength. As a result, we had 3 dead aspen trees, closest to the evergreens and 3 more heading that way nearby.
In addition, we had two smallish fruit trees, which were both in a bad place and had never produced anything. We also had a tree long dead, which had produced some sizable shoots growing up all around the original stump.
Taken altogether then, we had 9 trees we could take down and turn into wood chips. As part of the benefit of using these trees, they had never been treated with any herbicides or pesticides. And they provided a nice mix of dead, half-dead, and living trees, bark, branches, and leaves for our mulching objectives! 👍 👌
Photo: Going ... Going ...
- Note 1: First picture shows one of the fruit trees on the left, the large blue spruce clearly seen in the background, as well as a glimpse of the ponderosa pine to the left of it.
As interested as I was to talk to this crew and as impressed as I was with their work (I gave them a significant amount more than their estimate), sadly it did not occur to me, until they were well along to completing the task, to capture the experience with my smart phone ... 😞
Oh well, at least I did catch the end of it and the final result.
Photos: Gone. Making quick work of it!
Writing to family and friends about this resulting pile of wood chips, I let them know a team of 3 men, both well-equipped and experienced for the task, had managed to cut down all 9 trees, chip them up, and turn them into this nice pile in our driveway. In ~ 60 minutes!!
And let them know I, who was ill-equipped and inexperienced, would likely be working on it for the next several weeks!
With this start made and our adventure underway, in my next post I will be bringing you the details of what I learned over this period of time. Spoiler alert! I did get the ground covered with wood chips, before the snow flew, but just ... 😉
Wrapping up this post, dear reader, I would like to briefly touch on some of my philosophical reflections, 🤔 while working in the peace and quiet of my own garden. Based on how unexpectedly refreshing and inspiring I have found this time to be ... 😉
"Trap" of Time and Consequences ...
In our "cause and effect" world, it is an endlessly repeated mistake to do something and wake up in the morning to the appearance of "all is well," particularly when it appears to be in alignment with what we want it to be.
But ... Is it truly?
The "trap" to which I am referring? When the passage of time slowly but relentlessly reveals we have deceived ourselves. The longer the period of time, before the truth is revealed, the more insidious the trap becomes. Why? The wrong thought processes become all the more deeply ingrained. We become all the more deeply entrenched in habit patterns taking us down the wrong road.
The lead image, tied in to what I wrote about in my inspiration post, is a case in point. It was very sobering to hear agricultural experts talk about how we are slowly but surely turning once fertile areas into deserts!
Life and Death. Taking care of our stewardship responsibility over the earth in a manner which is in alignment with the way its Creator intended. Or ... Going our "own way" and stubbornly continuing on it, no matter what evidence there is to the contrary that it is not working out well ...
Haven't we all grown up understanding the "benefits" of the "modern miracle" of heavily mechanized farming in only the last 3 or 4 generations? Which has "freed' man from the monotony of his historic ties to the earth and growing his own food?
Add to this all of effects of using herbicides and pesticides as a part of "continuous improvement" of the environment in which our food is grown. Why stop there? We now think we know enough about DNA to use genetic engineering to create new bioengineered foods that are uhhh ... "better" than ever before! Right ...
That said, prior to discovering this new way of looking at gardening, frankly any thought to the contrary had really never crossed my mind. Like most of us, I just went with the usual "everybody knows" view ...
And now? While making no claim to being wise enough to fully grasp all of the implications, I have certainly started to ask some hard questions. And begun taking concrete steps in a different direction ...
In our time and for many of us, this commonly used word immediately conjures up many thoughts. Most of them highly and "politically" charged. And, as a result for at least this Steemian, quickly dismissed and walked away from, as I don't care for them. At least as commonly portrayed ...
This journey, however, has caused a considerable "rethink" for us on this overly used (for us at least) word. From our system of belief, unapologetically Christ-centered, we prefer stewardship responsibility, hoping reasonable people would agree it is conveying pretty much the same end result as the word sustainability, albeit from a different perspective.
As a result, starting into this new adventure, we have a renewed appreciation for a favorite portion of God's Word:
"When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?
Yet You have made him a little lower than God,
And You crown him with glory and majesty!
You make him to rule over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet,
All sheep and oxen,
And also the beasts of the field,
The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea,
Whatever passes through the paths of the seas.
O Lord, our Lord,
How majestic is Your name in all the earth!"
Psalm 8:4-9 [emphasis added mine]
Paul Gautschi's "Back To Eden" gardening approach addressed both of these philosophical subjects indirectly. The inspiration this provided for what can be had a powerful influence on us.
From which we derive
a lot of motivation
for what lies in front of us! 👍
a lot of motivation
for what lies in front of us! 👍
We can all find a lot of people's experiences and thoughts on taking the first step into any new venture in our lives. Anxieties and even fears can set in. Procrastination can bind you up. For us, our view of it is pretty simple. 🤔 We just need to get up out of our chairs and start moving! 😏 And "adjust course" along the way, as seems best to us!
In my next post, dear reader, I will be providing you some details of all that went into trying to get our little patch of "the good earth" covered with some wood chips, before snowfall. And introduce you to what we found to be a very effective little machine to help us with the task.
I hope you have enjoyed reading about the beginning of this exciting new chapter of our lives. I’d love to hear any feedback you may be inspired to provide.
Until "next time," all the best to you for a better tomorrow, as we all work together to build up our Steem Communities and add increasing value to our Steem blockchain! 👍 😊
P.S. As this is my first time posting on #naturalmedicine, I welcome any and all input on anything I could have done better, for the next time.
Interested to read more of my related posts?
|Lead Image||Title, Link, & Summary|
|Observations: Gratitude and the Simple Things
Summary: Reflections on a quiet, peaceful morning about what is truly important and being grateful for what we so often take for granted.
|R2R Reflections: For Such a Time as This ...
Summary: While on my road trip, what I probably thought about more than anything else was our time. While these reflections were focused on my own personal history, I also thought a lot about the time in human history into which I was born.
|R2R Reflections: "Golden Years" and our Legacy ...
Summary: While on my road trip, my primary focus was on the "next chapter" of our lives. Our legacy and the "footprints in the sands of time" we would leave behind.
|Reflections: Permaculture, Food Forests, and "Back to Eden!"
Summary: The response to this question - "What is a "food forest?" The story behind all the surprising and life-changing inspiration it has provided to me and my beloved.