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Lessons from Gaia

 
pollinator
Posts: 93
Location: Grow zone 10b. Southern California,close to the Mexican boarder
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I have always felt close to earth/Gaia. From going foraging with my parents, to gardening, walking and meditating on the soil. I need soil under my my bare feet and fingers, just as much as I need food in my belly and air to breathe. We talk. I know, it sounds crazy, but we do. She has taught me so much about life, and in a way raised me to be the person I am today.
I remember picking wild blueberries and flowers, with the sun shining down on me and bees buzzing around me. I remember gathering wild chestnuts, rose hips, walnuts and pine needles in the forest, while my mother picked wild mushrooms. I also remember my sisters dropping homemade itching powder (made from rose hip seeds) down my back. This way I learned that Gaia will take care of me, if I let her. She will feed me, clothes me and keep me warm and dry. She has thought me patience, to slow down. To take setbacks with grace, and to count my blessings instead of focusing on negativity. The last and most important lesson though has been to listen and observe what goes on around me, and to trust that with hard work, she will provide.
We bought our 1/2 acre with house already built in 2014. It had been “flipped”, so lots of rolled out grass, weed fabric and tons of white rubble. After observing our surroundings for a year, we decided to put in an orchard in our front yard. The back yard though had really dead soil. Not even weeds could grow there, when we started out. Not knowing anything about permaculture and design, we started from scratch, though using chemical has never been something we have done. The right side of the back yard, had the best soil to work with, so we build raised beds, and filled them with a mix of our native soil, compost and organic top soil from outside. The left side, I decided needed to be left alone to recover from the abuse it had taken. At the time, not even gophers wanted anything to do with it. All we have done over the years, has been to add mulch and poop from out chickens, ducks and rabbits. After a while we sort of forgot about it. Slowly we started getting weeds. The insects came back, then the birds, rats, mice, lizards and rabbits. We did plant a Grape wine and Rue there, that miraculously has and still do survive. We bought in a beehive, early on (hosting bees) since we had no pollinators.
Starting last year the weeds really took off, and this year the area has been covered with Mallow, Nettles, mustard cress and a little grass in some areas. Watching the videos from the master gardening course, I finally figured out why there are so many. I had stopped listening to what the soil was telling me. Gaia didn’t just give me nettles and mallow to combat winter colds, but to tell me that the soil are full of nitrogen. If I had sat down, wondered, watched and listened, I would have seen what was going on a lot sooner. The ecosystem had recovered enough that things now can grow and thrive there. I was just wasn’t listening. To others, this will look messy and overgrown, especially in the front yard, but it’s a living mulch, that will be cut down this week, and provide nourishments to the trees. If I hadn’t watched the videos here or read the posts and articles, I would have despaired over all of those weeds. I mean, there are only so much nettles and mallow you can eat, before you get tired of it .
So, I have cut most of that living mulch down (in the back yard), and are now wondering how to move on from there. I do know that I will find plenty of inspiration here LOL. I have been thinking that the area will be good to try some hugelkulture in.
My children has also grown up with this, and I have passed the lessons I have learned on to the next generation. Especially my son has found a love for preserving and cooking, with that the land provides for us. My oldest daughter deals with depression a lot, so I take her with me out in the garden as much as I can. With each seed, she puts in the ground and sees grow up into food, she is healing. It’s life confirming to work with the soil and plants, while the animals chatter around us. Plus, plants won’t tell others, the secrets you tell them, and they don’t get upset when you vent out your sorrows.
I think that the most important lesson Gaia has taught me, is that it’s okay to fail. Failure is a lesson in itself, and it’s okay. Not everything works out in the garden or in life. Often failure opens up new opportunities or forces you to look at thing differently. To observe.
While some crops might fail one year, they might thrive the next, and long as your roots are firmly deep in the ground, and you bend and flex in the wind, life won’t blow you over and you will always be able to find water and nourishments.

D6E6B9BF-04E5-4C5F-B27D-510D30A63B66.jpeg
2015 what we started with
2015 what we started with
B620DE9A-6F25-438F-8BF9-ACFB17225386.jpeg
Front yard 2017
Front yard 2017
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Front yard 2023
Front yard 2023
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Back yard right side 2023
Back yard right side 2023
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Back yard 2023
Back yard 2023
 
gardener
Posts: 371
Location: Northern Ontario, Canada
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Lots of wisdom in this post Ulla. Especially the part about failure being okay...it seems obvious when I read it but fear of failure still stops me from doing a lot.  It'd be better if it didn't! Thanks for the excellent post.
 
Ulla Bisgaard
pollinator
Posts: 93
Location: Grow zone 10b. Southern California,close to the Mexican boarder
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Cam Haslehurst wrote:Lots of wisdom in this post Ulla. Especially the part about failure being okay...it seems obvious when I read it but fear of failure still stops me from doing a lot.  It'd be better if it didn't! Thanks for the excellent post.



You are welcome. I think it does for most of us, but there is a lot of freedom in stopping to be afraid. I was afraid for a long time, until I like you realized that it was holding me back.
People call me a Jack of all trades, but it’s both right and wrong. I am a jack of all trades now, but only because I stopped being afraid of failure. I realized that failure is a state of mind. Failure does not really exist, since there is always a lesson to learn from it. If we learn from something, did we fail, or did we instead take a new stop toward figuring things out? It’s also the nature of things (pun intended). Some crops will do good one years and others in different years. So, it might just mean, that you have to try again at a different time or place. It can be scary, as it’s in our human nature to be cautious, if not afraid of new things. I just came to the same realization as you one day, and realized that fear was holding me back, damaging my health and keeping me from peace and happiness.
I am glad you have gotten to this point too.
I want to add, that when I get intimidated by having to do something, I find that it helps to start with a small easier project part. I usually find something that will also make me feel good, for having done it. This often helps me get over the hurdle of getting started.
 
Yeah. What he said. Totally. Wait. What? Sorry, I was looking at this tiny ad:
Our perennial nurswery has sprouted! 🌿
https://permies.com/t/174246/perennial-nursery-sprouted
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