Thursday, August 28, 2014

Stewardship : The winds of change

A turkey offering 

End of garlic bloom



Spotted Knapweed



The winds of change are upon us. The summer season is drawing to a close. The days are shortening and the nights are cooling. Time to think about winter and firewood. Crunching through the woods surrounding the cozy cabin in the woods , I think about stewardship . What does that mean to you ? Especially when you think of the land that supports us ? In grazing states there are noxious weed laws. Needless to say much of the summer was spent in the yoga position of "Down Dog". On my piece of heaven I have decided to pull and mow instead of poison the weeds. After three years of avoiding chemicals I finally have honey bees visiting the yard. This is great news. Life returns . I have been pondering the the fenced in Jungle . This is my garden that grows 3 foot high grasses that rival the high plains . Tilling the soil encourages weeds to grow as the weed seeds can lie dormant for years in the top inches of the soil. So I have decided to use the mulch technique . This will involve perhaps 20 to 30 bales of straw to create a mulch mat that prevents weeds and grasses from growing . It sounds appealing. We will see. My version of stewardship is to create a habitat that encourages the insects and birds to thrive. Herbicides by definition prevent thriving . I understand why they are used especially when you see the vast expanses of pasture land here. It is a hard sell to encourage hundreds of people to stand on their heads for hours pulling weeds in the middle of no where.However I am only in charge of a few acres and for now will tread gently on this soil and continue the physical removal and spare the chemical warfare.

Monday, August 11, 2014

4 years and counting : Happy in Montana

 Ah  summer ! We dream of you in Mid January when the snow is deep and the wind rattles the windows . But such a quick visit . Already if feels like we will be busy stacking fire wood and placing the snow shovels strategically at each door. So many summer chores remain although many have been completed. It is hard to believe that I have weathered 4 years in Montana . The time has slipped by quickly with so much to do .

A quick jaunt to the Northern shore of  Flathead Lake with Saucey . It is 82 out and sunny with haze from the Idaho and Washington fires . I would like less smoke but it is a given that we will have some haze this time of year . Many fires are sparked by lightning however many more are human carelessness. That is one thing I can not understand.  How can people go into the woods and not following simple rules to preserve our wildness and air quality ?

The North shore is a waterfowl production area and full of wet lands either side of the road to the shore . Even though we are inland there are many ocean shore birds that make their home here as they do on the Missouri River on the East side. Interesting. Plump little guys . It looks like they have had plenty of food this summer. The beach is rocky but full of drift wood that has been pummeled for eons. There is a 2 foot layer of peat like material that makes you feel like you are walking on a dried peat bog. I saw my first snake in Montana and as fate would have it I had on Chaco sandals and a fully exposed toes . The snake was wanting to get away not knowing that I had no taste for snake snack and I as well hastened in the opposite  direction with Saucey in tow. A very nice afternoon all in all . Thinking of going back tomorrow . …. Summer's delicious long golden sunsets will be at an end soon. Enjoy them while they are present .