I die a little bit every time i step out onto my beginning permaculture adventure. Whether its the asian pears i thought were big enough to live without protection or the hugel bed that was just too big to fence right away, the underestimation of animal predators seem to get me every time. Now I've had sheep eaten by bears; foxes, raccoons and opossums get into the chicken house; fruit trees eaten by deer and now a mysterious wilt, and an entire spring crop decimated by voracious ground hogs taking up residence in the hugel bed. I just stopped writing for a time. Stopped being excited about this venture. again.
But then we shot a ground hog and the chard got some time to grow back, and then i had a salad. Then the vision that inspired me to grow my own food gave me hope again, hope that springs from the everlasting well that is life. Then i buy a couple more soil amendments a book or two, some seeds and I'm off again planning and conspiring against the enemies that i think shouldn't be enemies. That is the most frustrating, thinking that i should be able to grow food and raise animals in harmony with nature not fighting against it... which brings me to yet another metaphorical way to die on your tractor; thinking you can do things that go against the natural order.
I dont think we were meant to cultivate to the extent that we do. We are meant to be foragers, to be in line with nature so that we know when to harvest before a thing is gone. We can help things along but we aren't the only things alive out here. You cant just kill everything that eats your chard.
I gotta think that if you can "control" pests by balancing the soil and the plants you encourage to grow, there must be a way to do the same with animals. The questions this raises is- Are the populations of deer and groundhogs a symptom of our tampering with mother nature too? Could I handle some deer attacks if there were fewer? Are we responsible for some of the animal control ourselves? We eat so much red meat and chicken, what about deer and groundhog? Is it just that we have so removed ourselves from the laws of nature that this is what we are left with? Farming animals by the thousands while ignoring the meat running around the back yard? With all these questions how can i not reevaluate at every seeming failure? As the sun sets on another day and the deep blues of the sky sink into my eyeballs i cant help but think things will come to me and i will get it eventually.
Born in New Hampshire and raised in Maine, Eva's passion for living self sustainably began with Helen and Scott Nearing. Both were homesteaders who carved their lives from the land. Eva now lives in Eastern West Virginia, with her husband Dain and daughter Shayna, carving out her own life.