Caretaking our Property
by Nick Horvath
My wife and I "own" 2½ acres of
land near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Between getting tired of mowing and wanting to give
back to the land, we decided to turn our lawn back into field and forest. First, we
started letting trees grow as they appeared in the lawn. We mowed less often and mowed
around the new trees. Part of the back field had native grasses growing already so we
encouraged them by mowing up to July and then letting them go to seed for the rest of the
season. We bought a DR Field and Bush mower to do the heavy mowing. The light mowing and
remaining lawn were taken care of with a Toro mower. Weve planted a number of trees
also pines, hemlock, cedar, and willow.
In all of this, both of us have worked with
nature in a co-operative fashion using meditation and observation. Val and I supply the
intent and physical work. Spirit provides the knowledge and best methods. We have had some
difficulties with our township. However, we wrote up a plan and submitted it to the
council and things have been quiet since then. Our neighbours have been supportive too.
The key in all this is working with and
listening to nature so that the best result is obtained. We dont run rough shod over
things; asking before doing is important. The trees that have appeared naturally are ash,
hawthorn, tulip poplar, box elder, cherry, and black locust. We deal constantly with honey
suckle, multi-flora rose, crown vetch, and bitter sweet. These are kept at bay by mowing,
digging, and clipping. Ive also bought some Roundup to use this coming summer. One
summer we burned the overgrown lawn near the house in a controlled burn. It worked quite
well, but I am reluctant to use this method on the larger fields. Weve also planted
some special plants like sumac and mullein, and encouraged others already here like
dogbane and butterfly weed.
One of the side benefits of all this is
becoming intimate with this landscape through constant, ongoing contact. Its like
getting to know a person slowly, over time, sharing work or interests together.
[For more information on Roundup and other pesticides please see www.panna.org
-- Pesticide Action Network North America]