Caring for and Healing the Earth


Caretaking our Property

by Nick Horvath

        My wife and I "own" 2 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. We’ve 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 don’t 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. I’ve 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. We’ve 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. It’s like getting to know a person – slowly, over time, sharing work or interests together.

[For more information on Roundup and other pesticides please see -- Pesticide Action Network North America]


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