Wednesday 23 May 2012
There is no waste in Nature.
On the small farm, we do our best to replicate Nature's best; and so we work hard to produce no waste.
The small farm model isn't simply a quaint addition to the sustainability movement.
The small farm exemplifies sustainability.
As a microsystem it mimics the lifecycle found in Natural habitats.
Organic material is animated and re-animated infinitely; life ebbs and flows through mass and being.
Ensuring that we harness and harvest the energy that moves through each cycle defines the efficiency of the farm.
The less waste there is, the more energy has been retained and is available to use to sustain ourselves.
Understanding that everything is a part of life and that all organic matter is pure energy, is the point at which we start.
The challenge is to be able to control the elements and redirect them where they are most needed and best suited.
As with natural ecosystems, the more biodiversity that is present, the more effective the conversion of energy.
On the farm, you may choose not to have livestock. But, by excluding animals from the system, the diversity is diminished, and therefore, the efficiency is reduced.
Having too many animals also reduces the effective production and conversion of organic matter.
The carrying capacity of the land must be strictly observed.
A careful balance is needed.
The horse manure came from outside the farm, but there is pig and chicken manure from last year's animals.
Much of the pig manure was deposited throughout the land they cleared, but there was still an indoor piggy bathroom that was used at night and when it rained.
Today it was time to clear out from underneath the chicken roosts.
I would just add straw and shavings to the pile as it grew. Now it is a great mass of manure that needs a year to age, but will be a divine addition to needy plants next year.
Aging and preparing manure is a skill of it's own. We aren't so proficient at that yet, but with a few more years and more offerings from the animals, we will better understand mixtures and temperatures that improve dressings.
I must always remind myself when we buy feed from outside the farm, that the money is buying energy into the land.
And though our intention is to grow our own feed, converting cash money into organic energy is a long term investment.
It goes so far beyond the food that we will harvest from the animals this season.
That feed is to be converted into energy for us to consume, but the remainder will stay with the land and in turn become consumable again.
The Sun is the replenisher that allows the cycle to continue; making up the difference when we use energy for our bodies in order to live and move.
Manure is the ability to store and manipulate the Sun's energy.
And though it seems that the farm is a poor copy of the natural world,
it allows us to participate in a lifecycle that may thrive with our efforts, and in turn permit us to thrive.