Thursday, December 28, 2017

Nature Rewards Those Who Love Her Most

While out for dinner on Tuesday evening, our waitress, Kim, kept coming by our table to check on us and to chat.  At one point in the conversation, she made a joke about our farm.  Nothing malicious, merely something that seemed extremely funny to a nineteen year old.

She said, “since you have chickens, that makes you a “chicken-tender”.”  haha, cute, right?  But that started me thinking about the whole concept of “tending” as the phrase was used so many years ago.  Stewardship of the land (or tending the flock) have both agricultural and religious connotations that have broad, far-reaching implications to us all. 

I have always had a love of animals – all animals – and, in my wildest dreams as a child, I never would have imagined that I would finally reach a point in my life where I could buy a farm, renovate a 130 year old farmhouse, raise livestock, live relatively off-grid and become a true steward of the land.
 “Whatever you do to the animals, you do to yourself.” ― Ben MikaelsenTouching Spirit Bear

The stewardship of the land and livestock are both a responsibility and a privilegeWe should always leave an amount of land as it is, providing sanctuary and a native habitat for any wild animals that find their way onto and through our property.  We also leave "pockets" of undisturbed sections for our livestock as well.  We have an area of hillside that we leave untouched.  Since living here, we have seen several groundhogs making their homes in the side of that hill.  They have raised families and remained in their dens year after year.  They travel the short distance down to our creek for water and remain outside of the pasture fence where we keep the goats, pig and Pyrenees.  We live in harmony with these, and so many other creatures, that pass through our land.

Small changes, when combined together over time, maintain the integrity and sustainability of the land.  When we learn to care for the system as a whole, by managing the individual ecosystems (water, soil, air, livestock, crops, landscape) with holistic methods, we are becoming good stewards.  We need to understand that by living in harmony with nature, we begin to mimic the natural, continuous cycles of renewal of all of the resources we are attempting to conserve.  Our land practices should positively impact the land as a whole and both directly and indirectly affect the flora and fauna of other adjoining landowners as well.
“When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”  -- Aldo Leopold 
We are truly blessed to have been given the opportunity to be at one with nature.  Every new day is a new adventure.  By enjoying life to the fullest every day, we are able to experience all that nature has to offer which, in turn, sparks joy and wonder and excitement in the life we have chosen to live.   There is always something new each day that I open the door and head to the barn first thing in the morning…whether it is the sound of a bird chirping, or a rooster crowing, or the sound of the ducks splashing in the creek, the smell of a nearby wood-stove wafting on the breeze, or any one of a hundred more sensory triggers that evoke a feeling…every day is definitely a new adventure waiting to be embraced. 
 “Land stewardship is the conservation of your property's natural resources and features over a long period of time. Stewardship motives are altruistic, as you also want to be a good neighbor, one who shares concern for the lands that surround yours and the water that travels downstream from your property.
Many consider the late Aldo Leopold to be the father of modern conservation theory and practice. Leopold believed that land stewardship was not only rooted in conservation but also involved ethics, or the search for a higher meaning. He wrote that all ethics rest upon the single premise "...that the individual is a member of a community of interdependent parts. The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, animals, or collectively: the land." This is to say that once we understand that humans are not separate from, but are part of and depend on the natural community, we will develop an ethic to care for the community as a whole.“ – Sargent, M.S and Carter, K.S., ed. 1999. Managing Michigan Wildlife: A Landowners Guide


To A Life Of Simplicity
Happy Homesteading!
~ Susan & Rick
Celtic Acres Farm

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About the Author:
Susan along with her husband, Rick, are the owners of Celtic Acres Farm, an organic, self-sufficient, off-grid farm where they raise chickens, ducks, goats and a pig, rescue dogs and cats, grow their own heirloom, non-gmo produce, create handmade crafts and home décor items, and strive to live a self-sustaining lifestyle while attempting to carve out that little piece of paradise where they can live free, breathe free and commune with nature.
Celtic Acres Farms is committed to healthy animals, a greener planet, recycling-reusing-repurposing, while maintaining our rural heritage and sharing it with others. We believe that we must all lead the way to a more sustainable future while never forgetting the things of the past. 

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