Who knew there’s a whole teeming world of microbes below our feet, and they have the power to create, maintain and regenerate above-ground health. Not only for plants, but animals that depend on plants - including humans.
The five elements of soil health are easy to understand and should be familiar to all of us that have a yard, enjoy the landscape, like clean air and water, and eat food:
1 – Keep the soil covered with dead or living plants
2 – Minimize disturbance to the soil, like tilling
3 – Promote a diverse variety of plants
4 – Keep a living root in the soil year round
5 – Graze with livestock responsibly
But wait, Anna says we talk too much about soils so I’ll change the topic.
We’re taking a class this winter put on by the University of Idaho on ranch transition planning. Our first assignment is to individually write a legacy statement. Basically what you hope to leave to succeeding generations. How you want to be remembered. What values did you live your life by?
Mark and I had a half-hour to kill in town so we stopped by a sunny window and put pen to paper. It’s not easy to sum up a life, even for a writer like me, so I can imagine the other ranchers in the class struggling with the composition.
One thing I thought of was my intention that Mark and I be a good role model of partnership to our children. We both are “all in” for this ranch, which is good, but it leads to arguments about how to manage it. I like to talk things through, be pragmatic. When expenses come up I often ask, can we afford it? He prefers to figure it out on his own and gets annoyed with my questions.
But he is kind to me. When it's really cold, one of the sweetest things he does is put his gloves on the pickup heater while I feed my load of hay every morning. Then we swap gloves when I'm half-way through so my hands stay cozy and warm. What a difference this small gesture makes. It makes me feel loved and cared for. Happy Valentines Day!
|A shovelful of good stuff from the Back Forty|