As I sit down to write, I can hear Mr. Skunk rustling around on the porch. I crept outside earlier to check on the noise with a sneaking suspicion that it might be him. Upon spying his distinctive markings, I fled back in the house and shut the door quicklike. He is interested in the dog food, and I am not dedicated enough to attempt to deprive him of his meal.
We try as best we can to co-exist with the native wildlife; there is a gentle balance that must be achieved between taking away from their habitat and providing them too much food in nontraditional places. It is neither good to fence out deer or feed the skunks, but the reality is that it happens, both intentionally and unintentionally. The compromise we strive for is to try to keep the impacts to a minimum.
Perhaps in paradox, we tend to put out some alfalfa during late August and early September because we deprive the deer of habitat that includes heavy acorn-bearing oaks (some oaks bear heavier than others). Some of this is for selfish reasons, for the deer are hungry and will test fences and gates seeking to gain access to our gardens. There have been many instances in which we have to spend time chasing them out when we would rather be working. The lactating mamas need nutrition for their babies, and the brittle landscape provides few options during the hottest, driest part of the year. Acorns are one of these options, serving as a basic and necessary staple for the deer population. In recognition of our depriving them of this staple from parts of their traditional range, we offer alfalfa during that one period of the year.
Also in paradox, we love animals and raise them for meat. We slaughter on farm and have learned a great deal from the process; from the mechanics of bodies and their internal parts to the spiritual and social reflexiveness that is engendered. A depth of feeling and connection is the result. The responsibility of taking life is one that we carry with gravity and conscious choice.
There is much that can be debated in this line of discourse; it is an area that is ripe for healthy dialogue but can often become charged and confrontational. A sense of righteousness tends to pervade the different positions, and there is often diametric opposition. This is fertile ground for learning and teaching, but also an opportunity for accepting different viewpoints without having to agree with them.
On the farm, we have continued to have minor struggles with the water system; there is more algae this time of year to clog filters, and this is the highest water demand part of the year. Broken lines also seem to happen in August more than other months, but things don’t break when you aren’t using them.
We are seeing the first heavy flushes of tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. There is a certain irony to the fact that we are also feeling the first faint vestiges of fall, creeping around the edges of midsummer. Due to the heavy snows this spring, we are late this year on production harvests of hot crops; such is life.
Crisp lettuce from Woody Ryno Farm offers the last salad greens we’ll see until the end of September, along with kale from Emerald Spirit. From HappyDay, cool, refreshing cucumbers dice well over salad, while ratatouille and other summer delights beckon from the cookpot and the recipe column. As alwyas, much love and appreciation from Team HappyDay!