Sunday, April 24, 2016

Earthday and Permaculture

What is permaculture? Despite all the ways we can complicate explanations and make things seem either grandiose or like some unattainable dream, permaculture is simply short for Permanent Agriculture. It seems appropriate to celebrate Earthday by talking about ways that each of us can not only do less harm to our planet, but actually make it better and let it heal itself. 

Permaculture is as individual as those who practice it and as unique as each piece of land that's managed this way. As we learn more and as our small farm evolves the ways we steward our land change too. First the sheep came. They grazed down the old tussocky grass and added nutrients from their manure. Their hooves broke down the old dry grasses  and helped the old thatch get composted so that new grass could grow through. The chickens helped reduce the grub population and their scratching and pooping added to the biology of the soil, allowing air and nutrients in. The pigs dug over the pasture allowing for a garden to be planted the following year and the goats removed a lot of the brush. There is still more work to be done and more to be learned but the farm is now a haven for wildlife with so many more insects and invertebrates making their homes here. Our once barren soil is now teeming with earthworms and the fertility is increasing each year from the free range poultry. It's a work in progress for sure and we are trying to slowly but steadily make this a natural green oasis that will be productive ground for many years to come. But it's a slow and steady process to balance the rejuvenation of an old neglected hay field into a productive ecosystem that has room for humans, nature, and food production. 

People talk about permaculture as if it's some high ideal we should all study and then implement immediately. But to me it's just an integrated way of improving your land. And setting goals that balance the needs of your family and your land long term. Composting, recycling, home food production, mindful consumption (not wasting stuff), and integration of the natural world are just a few aspects of the ways we live and hope to teach others. Building community is another huge one. Shopping local, getting to know your neighbours and working on community projects are also great ways towards a more sustainable place to live. Permaculture in isolation isn't really permaculture at all. Working together to make things better, that's permaculture to me. So don't feel bad if you can't do it all at once. Start now and do something better. A thousand baby steps adds up and is more sustainable than a giant flash in the pan idea that never works out. Slow. Steady. Just like Mother Nature. That's the way to do things. We hope you have a wonderful week and that your seedlings grow strong and healthy. Love from Humblebee Farm. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Nursery Greenhouse

Good Monday Morning! You might be wondering how come I haven't written for a while. Well, it's been very busy what with building a couple of greenhouses and coaxing seeds to sprout in this still often sub zero climate. But Spring is becoming more and more entrenched and the cold weather crops are up and thriving. The nursery greenhouse at the Annavale Country Store in Middleton is almost done and will be open the first week in May. One of the neighbours had z little grass fire so some excitement on Sunday while we fastened the last of the plastic on the vents. Now we just leave it to settle, re-set the locks, and fill it with plants! 
I'm still moping around a bit. My best friend Deanna died on Thursday and I feel useless and a bit adrift. I miss not being able to just be there for her family. So all I can do is keep busy here at the farm. I'll get some photos posted later of our projects. In the meantime, hold tightly the ones you love.