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Ecology and Farming is a constant Balance

June 21st, 2018 | Posted by miker in Musings from the Field

Ecology and Farming is a constant balance.

Notes from the Field:

Task: Maintain low production hay field, by mowing.

Objective; to control against invasive species, encourage “cut and regrow” species ( like clover ), and avoid rank, overgrown conditions that require heavier equipment than we have.

First step is to mow at least two passes around the field, defining the edges clearly, and exposing any hazards that may have fallen from hedgerows, or been left from previous activities in neighboring fields.  In the Veg D Field,  there is a Ground Hog warren, hazard, that I mow with the brush hog, before cutting hay with the Haybine.  This time I planned on dividing the field in two equal parts, while mowing with the brush hog, to simplify the next process of haying..

Observations that caused me to question my Farming Objectives..

The Canada Thistle patches in the field are supporting vigorous populations.. Barn Swallows, Goldfinches and Bees and Wasps of all kinds..  So the Balance of Responsibility begins to cause doubt in my Plan.. Perhaps the Habitat provided by the wild Thistle flowers outweighs the non productive goal of controlling invasive s…  By not mowing,  the families of Red Wing Black birds will have a chance to finish raising their babies..

SO, I decided to take a nuanced approach, Mow out the perimeter, divide the field for future mowing, but leave the Thistle bounty for the Goldfinches, maintaining a plan to mow prior to allowing the seed heads to blow into neighboring fields, as possible..  THEN I hit the brakes, because RIGHT in the middle of the field is a large stand of Milk Weed, a wild flower critical to sustaining specialized wild species, like Monarch Butterflies.  I’ve made an effort to protect flowering MilkWeed when possible, so ended up circling the patch with the mower, leaving a big block of Wild Flowers, mixed with all kinds of other flowering invasive s, clovers and grasses to do their own chaotic things..

Farming is an effort to shape our relationship with Nature, ideally to produce consumable products.  Ecology is the study of Life, with the intent to learn more about our place in…. Life.  Opportunity is the chance to try to balance Productivity with the Right Choices.  I’m grateful for the freedom to choose, in my path, and Ill endeavor to consider the farmers around, and to follow me, and mostly I hope to be a supporter of dynamic and diverse systems and communities..

MikeR June 2018

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