BEEKEEPING IN THE NORTHEAST - An account of my beekeeping, not a treatise of expertise, but for friends & family who wish to keep bees vicariously through me, and for the occasional apiarist passer-by.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

To Hay & Farm & Fight Nature

We had a neighborhood meeting last night with the folks farming or owning the open places in Wonalancet. I live in what is designated as "Ferncroft" which is a mile or so long road that reaches into this beautiful mountain Inter-vale. It was a wonderful thing to hear farmers talking among each other and to us about the small farm movement that has taken hold so well here. We buy most all our grocery from our neighbors, including the finest grass fed beef, pork, chicken and lamb. We get farm fresh cream and milk from one that uses the hay along Ferncroft to get his cows through the winter, grass fed.. no grain feeding for those cows.
One of my girls after milkweed nectar.

When I look at this photo I see a miracle of nature. Milkweed came up where nothing else would grow after these fields were treated with strong herbicides back in the 60s or 70s, then the Monarchs came and a wide variety of wild herbs and flowers. The now endangered rusty patch bumble bee is a common sight. Bobolinks nest in the tall grasses. What a response from nature! 

But, alas, all the farmers see are weeds and they want them OUT! Milkweed can kill grazing stock and farmer Helen has lost sheep to it. The owner of these fields has long rang plans to turn it into grass and to mow even more often. One farmer said that, yes, there is carnage during the haying season. Nesting birds don't get out of the way... but, he commented, a lot more carnage occurs bringing groceries into the supermarkets than will ever happen out there. 

One said anything man does will be a fight against nature. One said none of these birds or butterflies are native here. To say such things, I've pondered, is to say man is not a part of nature. Like the beaver who floods and clears the woods makes way for other species to thrive, so do we when we seek to change the landscape. Nature moves in wherever it can.

Decades from now someone else will work this land or leave it to resilient Nature. I took a long walk out there this morning to shake some of this off and try and savor this beautiful field I live on while I can.

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