Saturday, June 11, 2022

Stories from this Land

House Wrens are nesting on our porch again. They probably don't think of it as "Jen and Steve's porch," but probably as a sheltered space with a perfect sized house facing southeast. We are frequently scolded by them, but I think they know we are trustworthy. We have to be much more careful in the winter when the Carolina Wrens spend the night in the straw baskets. There are always two, tucked in together, trading baskets depending on the day and weather conditions. 

Sharing space on this 3.5 acres is an important and necessary act of nature activism, but it's also a return to wonder for both of us. The front plantings are growing, feeding and screening us from the road activity and the whole feels like a fairy tale setting...a place where magic happens.

Catbirds, Cedar Waxwings, American Robins and Northern Cardinals gobble the serviceberry along the front sidewalk and out in the berry planting. To have trees fruiting that we planted to feed birds and other wildlife is beyond satisfying. I don't know how quite to describe it, but it's almost as if we knew this would work, but couldn't really imagine seeing it working and then suddenly, it IS working. Beautifully. Perfectly. Like Mother Nature knows exactly what she is doing.

The Redbuds, for the first time since planting, have set heavy fruit and there is no doubt once ripe, they will be eaten by so very many. 

The plants everywhere here are filling in, connecting with one another, boggling our minds. 

Trails lead all of us living here through these enchanted places. What makes them enchanted is not only their beauty, but also their ecological function. 

These plants, insects, soils, animals...are all in relationship with one another. They support one another through shared and known history. Planting and letting grow, these native communities of plants, harnesses an ancient knowledge that is needed for survival, not just for our non-human kin, but also for us humans too. Nature is where we came from. Nature is what allows us to live. Nature is where we belong. Nature needs and deserves our help. 

Ohio Spiderwort:

American Bladdernut:

Wood Frog:

Yellow Slant Line Moth:

Winter Firefly:

Carpenter Bee on Gooseberry:

Feeding Sign from?:

Nature is not just in our National Parks, which is only about 3-4% of the land in the United States, INCLUDING Alaska. Nature is in our local parks, along our roadways, out our back doors. It has to be. If it's not out your back door or front door or patio, have you thought about how to welcome nature back? This moment is the perfect time to begin. 

Some At-Risk plants we've planted here to return them to land they cannot return without help, are beginning to settle into their native soil. Black Cohosh is going to flower here this summer, for the first time in how long? Decades? A century? More? 

American Spikenard is growing healthy leaves and will someday be the giant bush-like plant it has the potential (ancient knowledge) to be.

A few American Plums survived the cold spring and will grow pink fruits to make more plants and feed hungry bellies in the process.

Steve and I have now planted American Persimmons all over this 3.5 acres. Experiencing the tremendous numbers of animals that benefit from persimmon in all forms and knowing 70-80% will be males (non-fruiting), we planted dozens more this spring. We now have 50+! One persimmon is flowering here this spring and we have many babies popping up their hopeful heads. 

Sassafras are dioecious just like American Persimmon so after a tremendous flower set this spring, there is only one fruit growing. We need to plant more so pollination is successful! Planting densely isn't wrong; it's how Mother Nature plants and grows because some plants thrive, some plants die. 

We work for the Earth. We work for ourselves. We work for humanity. Thank you to all of you reading and sharing space and planting plants with relationships to one another and the land and all life. Thank you for being scrutinized and doing it anyways. Thank you for remembering we are part of a beautiful, magnificent, functioning WHOLE.