After a Summer and Fall of fruit harvesting, it is time to reflect on what has influenced me to create action for next season. Especially, with the continuance of the Diamond Tree, which is an extended addition to the Orchard Run Newsletter, and more diversity in the Orchard.
I do have it in my heart to pass on whatever seems to be working well in the orchard to folks just like you. My aim is to be part of a population of folks that have it in their own minds, the ‘why am I doing this’ reasoning.
Sometimes we forget why we do the things we do, simply because it created a habit in us. Then, confronted with the questioning of the why, we must think of a justification for the habits.
I’m not sure I need to justify any part of doing what I’m doing far as the orchard is concerned. The orchard, I believe, is much more natural and organic than any rules say we are.
There is reason behind why I do the things I do.
I began the natural/organic journey one day in 1996, after I had gotten out of the service and was sitting at the tavern having a cold one, believe or not. The tavern, some say this is where folks solve all the worlds problems. Maybe not, but it certainly provided an opportunity to sit down next to someone who had ideas that weren’t accepted by hardly anyone.
This someone was so far beyond organic, which seems a little out there because even being organic wasn’t accepted well either. This fellow didn’t even allow a microwave in his home. What this fellow did though was sell me on the idea that maybe all the conveniences out in the world right then really didn’t have our interests, our best interests in mind.
Unintentional consequences began with conveniences that helped you in one way or another. Now I’m not talking about building a better mouse trap here. I’m talking about ways to control. Ways to control pests and diseases in the garden, orchard, landscape, etc. It’s always about control, it seems.
Those of you who have been through our workshop ‘Organic Apple Hour 101’, know that I have noted two careless approaches there. Deer Approach and Shotgun Approach. Either of these can lead to each other and are so one sided that it is impossible to meet the three ethics of permaculture.
Earth Share – People Share – Fair Share
Care of the earth. The soil, oceans, rivers, lakes, trees, forests, what have you. Do you know how much time it takes to make an inch of soil vs. how long it takes to destroy it? Well a lot of us do know. If you are reading this, you do know.
It hasn’t been too long since we have begun to understand that plants can communicate with each other. An underground communication system otherwise known as a fungi called Mycorrhizae, is the tell-all of this world, what we know so far anyway.
When a soil gets intervened by human hands, things like plants and trees can’t communicate very well. If open ground is kept open, erosion occurs, and ground temps increase. The earth has a pretty good way of protecting it’s soil by way of seeds. Weeds are only plants that we don’t have a use for, they say. What if we change our thinking here?
Care of the people. What if we can get away with the thought that we only produce enough for this household, but two households instead. Maybe one family can produce enough for three or even four, maybe more. My family and I produce more apples than we can use, so we supply others. It’s when we break loose from ourselves into the community, that we will feel fulfilled.
Here in Wisconsin, we are fortunate to be able to be stewards of the land and grow food for not only ourselves but supply certain foods in our capacities to the communities in which we live. No need to truck food long distances if we could figure this all out.
If you look hard enough, there are what we call CSA’s all over the place. Community Supported Agriculture. This is where you can purchase food shares and share in the bounty of crops that are produced. If it is a great year for growing vegetables and fruits, your shares will be heaping. If it was a tough year for growing, then you share in the loss. However, even sharing in the loss is normally plenty to survive on.
A share for everything. Though all three ethics are equally important, Fair Share is the favorite of yours truly. Now, a lot of you know we have an orchard. In this orchard we grow a lot of different foods. Wouldn’t it be selfish of us if we didn’t share some fruit with the birds? Birds that have been working in the orchard all season eating pest insects.
What about the wasps? Shouldn’t we share some apples and pears with the wasps that haul off the leaf eating caterpillars in those orchard trees? Should I mention deer? Or not? We do have deer in our orchard. Some of the crop succumbs to deer. However, we don’t make our entire living by way of the apples grown here.
Deer trod through the orchard, and if it is wet, the tracks they make help aerate the soil. When you see evidence that come out of the south end of a north bound deer, that becomes a source of nitrogen.
It is in the eye of the beholder.
Changing of the perspective and getting to the root of why you are doing what you are doing will help you to keep moving forward. Believe in what you are doing without having to keep justifying it all the time. We grow trees and fruit naturally because of what I mentioned above. What is your reason? -Don Albrecht