Homesteading discussion

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message 1: by Amber (new)

Amber | 11 comments :)


message 2: by Lynn (new)

Lynn Szwalkiewicz (viggie) | 12 comments Oh good you found it :) Who knew you could create little sub-boards like this


message 3: by Amber (new)

Amber | 11 comments well i certainly didn't! :)


message 4: by Amber (new)

Amber | 11 comments is everyone quiet because they are reading away??


message 5: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Best | 15 comments Mod
You bet! This is a really good read!


message 6: by Lynn (new)

Lynn Szwalkiewicz (viggie) | 12 comments Loving the laid back style. It's slow going between work and school, but I'm working on it :)


message 7: by Stitchywoman (new)

Stitchywoman | 14 comments Haven't done a book discussion through this type of forum before. How do we go about doing this? Is there a specific time and date to go on or is it an on going discussion? Looking forward to seeing insights others have to offer about this book.


message 8: by Amber (new)

Amber | 11 comments i'm not sure was wondering myself...great book! Looking forward to hearing what everything thought too :)


message 9: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Best | 15 comments Mod
Have you guys finished the book...or need more time (no shame in saying you need another week!)? I'm done and really enjoyed it! I'll admit, though, some of it got a bit repetitious.

The introduction of the Two Gardens was very interesting. I could see bits and pieces of my own family as both the uber-fussy grandfather who wants the garden to be neat and perfect vs. the laid-back do-as-I-please style of his parents. What did you think of this intro? Did it hit home for you?


message 10: by Stitchywoman (last edited Apr 01, 2011 05:03PM) (new)

Stitchywoman | 14 comments I'm all done. I actually found his whole view on the suburban front yard amusing and very true. I have been trying to convince my son, who is planning to start a garden this summer, that the front yard is the best place since it's a southeastern exposure. There are people who are starting to break out of that mold with suburban homesteading but it's still the accepted norm. I live in suburbia and have always found front yards a tremendous waste of space, time, and resources. I have been slowly filling mine up with gardens but, alas, only flower beds since I am now thinking everything in terms of resale value and I'm not sure how vegetable garden/fruit trees would go over.


message 11: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Best | 15 comments Mod
Stitchywoman, I hear you! Luckily, we have lots of unused backyard space left to turn into harvest-rich spaces, but I can forsee a time when the front yard will be endanger of loosing its lawn!
What was your favorite chapter...and why? I think I really enjoyed Into the Rose Garden the most. I am rather new to gardening, so I have been hell-bent on getting edibles to grow. I almost skipped the chapter on roses, thining they are too stuffy, too ornamental/useless. But now, I'm dying to plant a couple old roses among all the edibles! I think this book helped me gain an appreciation for the balance of beauty and utility. And maybe make me lust for a larger plot of land!


message 12: by Stitchywoman (last edited Apr 02, 2011 04:26AM) (new)

Stitchywoman | 14 comments I think I had two favorite chapters. I really liked what he was saying in Weeds Are Us and The Idea of a Garden. I am a contemporary of Mr. Pollan and so grew up and started gardening in an age when people had this glorified idea of nature and vilification of people. I have since come to the conclusion that neither is correct. I think that people need to find their place in nature but at the same time take responsibly for the impact. Let's face it, we need to have farms, houses, means of transportation, however, we also need to understand and deal with that impact on the world. That isn't to say we are villainous and everything in nature is good. We do need to take a realistic view though on the ecosystems we are involved in and think before we leap. Sometime what appears cruel and unfeeling really is the best way to approach our environment. I'll take deer as a perfect example. The normal population for deer is 10 per acre. In my town we have approximate 250 deer per acre. This is due to the fact that they no longer have natural predators in suburbia (accept for the occasional run in with a car) and they have readily available food all year round in the form of our gardens and yards. Because they have increased weight and body mass all year around now they are able to sustain multiple births. Instead of having 1 and occasionally 2 fawns a season, it is now becoming common for them to have 3 per season. This is bad for the deer, the surrounding foliage, and us. I have several deer that will graze behind my house and there was one in particular we used to call gimp. This particular deer had an open fracture of one of its hind legs, something that should have meant certain death in a matter of days. Because of the conditions today, this deer was able to survive limping badly. Not only did this deer survive but she had offspring. For several years she had 2 and one year she even had 3. To me, this was cruel. She had to be in constant pain and created an unnecessary stress on her herd's resources. We have to take responsibility for our place in nature and act on that. I'm not suggesting we are "masters of all we see" but we need to understand that we have tremendous impact on everything around us and, as rational reasoning beings, have a responsibility to look at the big picture and act accordingly. Thankfully, this idea is gaining popularity since Mr. Pollan's book. Environmentalist are becoming pro-active in the management of parks. For instance, in Yellowstone they are reintroducing wolves and doing controlled burns. I know at a land preserve in my town they have begun a huge project of ridding the area of the invasives so that the native plants can thrive. Right now it looks like they are destroying the forest but when you look at the big picture you understand that this is best for the area since non-native plants bring non-native pests and disease that the native fauna and flora can't cope with. The landscape is going to change eventually one way or another depending on our actions or lack there of. Ok, stepping off my soapbox now.

By the way, you're going to love roses but they are picky. I am inspired to try some of the old ones now. Sounds like the potential for better luck is there. And remember, sometimes bringing beauty into our lives is what makes a plant useful. And if you need to harvest something, roses are edible (minus any insecticides) and the rose hips can be used to make teas. Both are great in potpourri. This year I actually want to try and make beads from the rose petals.


message 13: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Best | 15 comments Mod
I understand. We actually are PART of nature - we are natural beings. We are going to "hurt" nature as part of OUR nature - we somestimes make selfish choices and hurt nature intentionally and sometimes it happens by accident.
I like the Native American idea of 7 generations. Each action/decision is weighed against the effects it will have for 7 generations. If it benefits the 7 generations, do it. If not, don't. That seems to put actions into perspective for me and limits the boundaries of the impact to a couple hundred years. If we all agreed that we have to choose to benefit 7 generations (not just ours, not 'forever', which is just too far to really think about), I think it would really benefit us all.

My husband has a knack for roses, fortunately. They love to bloom for him and he always gets the most perfectly formed flowers. I'm hoping that'll help.

I think Pollan's main message is that we affect things in ways we don't even know. We can't undo being there. This may be WAY out there (so tell me if you think this is just nutty!), but I read The Book Thief recently, wherein a 20-year-old Jew man was being hidden by a German family during WWII. I felt his conflict so vividly in that book - the urge to fight back (to certain death), the shame of putting people in danger and the frustration that the danger is caused by him just being there - of being himself. He couldn't change who he was or "fix" the problem. He didn't feel ashamed of being who he was, more like he was ashamed of 'being' at all (I'm not a good writer, so not sure this is making sense; it's sort of a subtlety). And Pollans rather hit on something similar, I thought. We are who we are and we affect changes in nature through thought and through accident. That's never going to change. We can't "fix" that. We can't back out of a place and have that place go back to how it was before we arrived. But that's ok. We're part of nature and we're natural. We need to try to work with the land to 'improve' it, but shouldn't feel bad that we've affected it. We exist and we shouldn't have to apologize for that fact. We just need to make sure we take care of what we do and try to take care of the plants and animals we touch along the way.


message 14: by Stitchywoman (last edited Jun 17, 2011 11:36AM) (new)

Stitchywoman | 14 comments Tracy wrote: "We are who we are and we affect changes in nature through thought and through accident. That's never going to change. We can't "fix" that. We can't back out of a place and have that place go back to how it was before we arrived. But that's ok. We're part of nature and we're natural. We need to try to work with the land to 'improve' it, but shouldn't feel bad that we've affected it. We exist and we shouldn't have to apologize for that fact. We just need to make sure we take care of what we do and try to take care of the plants and animals we touch along the way."

I feel exactly the same way.



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