Friday, October 12, 2012

Not Just Survival: More Thoughts on Habitat


We often think in a linear manner.

As in: HOLY COW IMA GONNA GETS ME SOME FOOD NOW!!11!1!!!

But long-term planning and thinking should go deeper than putting RoundUp on a patch of grass, whipping out the tiller and planting a big crop of grain corn, though that may be what you have to do in a total collapse. (Please don't freak out... I am an organic farmer... but I did say TOTAL COLLAPSE. In a TOTAL COLLAPSE, you do what you need to do!)

A well-managed plot of land that has the complete ecosystem in mind can support lots more than just your immediate needs. It also recycles water and nutrients, improves the soil rather than depletes it, and provides habitat for other creatures.

When I first moved onto my piece of Florida sand, I noticed a couple of good-sized gopher tortoise burrows. My food forest planning was adjusted accordingly. The burrows are all from the same tortoise, who is now living better than ever. I've planted lettuces, wildflowers and left plenty of weeds for him to gnaw on. And unlike the former residents of this house, I'm not spraying pesticide or flinging chemical fertilizers across the lawn. I also don't own a dog, which allows other worthwhile animals to come in (and keeps my yard from being a crap minefield).

I've planted lots and lots of trees... let grass get long... allowed vines to creep over fallen branches... all the things that a good forest would do. And the animal life has exploded. Butterflies, frogs and snakes wander unmolested through my yard as birds and squirrels chatter in the branches above. At night, owls and armadillos patrol for unwary prey.

And, you know, if things get really bad, you're going to appreciate having a few squirrels, armadillos and other mammals around. Though you could eat a tortoise too, they're really better as mobile lawn decorations and reminders that beneath the economic madness and wars of men, Creation continues poking along.

(Note: If you try eating my tortoise, I'm going to be really mad. I like the old guy.)

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