Monday, April 6, 2015

Meeting the Expectations of the Land

"Meeting the expectations of the land."

That phrase, used by a blogger whose homestead blog I follow, got me to thinking.  We are really only stewards of the land.  We don't own it. If anything, it owns us.  That is, if we choose to labor in cooperation with the seasons and the soil.  Homesteading isn't about controlling the land, it is about living in harmony with it as much as possible. That's the only way to create a sustainable lifestyle.
Stewarding means honoring the systems that are involved in the natural processes.
A friend once said, "once you place a pen around an animal, you become responsible to provide everything that animal needs to flourish".  In other words, their health, happiness, and natural instincts need to be recognized and provided for.
The same is true for the land.   Building soil, and the natural microbial life within it that are vital for growing things, has nothing to do with sprinkling some commercial fertilizer on top of the garden.  There is so much more care and cooperation that is needed. In reality, we don't grow crops. We (should) grow soil.  
Part of the stewardship  is also accepting the seasons and what they give.. as well as what they demand.

 Right now, with sugar season in full swing,  time has to be taken to collect and boil and preserve the precious maple syrup.  
Convenience has little to do with it.  Other chores don't go away, but still time has to be found to manage the sugaring.  I accept that, and is why I was outside boiling until  2:00 am this morning. 
And up at 6:45 am because there are animals that depend on me.  Not every day is like this, of course, but some are and that's the reality.  

The garden area is finally beginning to peek through the snow cover

Another long night of boiling sap last night will net maybe a gallon of finished syrup.
The boiling was cut short by lack of scrap wood that is cut to size. This is all I have left.
The chicks must live in the big coop for now, after a windstorm destroyed their greenhouse on Saturday.
Finishing last night's sap in the kitchen..

So today will be a full day, with the reward at the end being more finished syrup, healthy growing chicks, happy chickens, maybe some seeds planted,  laundry done, and  homemade wine bottled. (Oh yeah, that is something that DID have to take a back seat while everything else demanded my time.)
Somewhere in there supper will be prepared, and husbands welcomed home at the end of the day, to share a fire-side evening together. Life is good.

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