We have lived on this property for 20 years. We bought it 25 years ago and saved up money to build. The land looks completely different now – more trees, a small barn, the beginnings of a garage, and, of course, our house. Gardens are expanding, trees are getting taller, bird feeders have multiplied, and because we have allowed part of our property to go back to forest, wild life sightings have increased. Last year we had a herd of nine deer visit us each evening.
This year we even saw an bald eagle in our cottonwood tree.
We are planting trees, caring for chickens, rabbits, cats and the neighbors’ dogs. We are using renewable energy in the form of water collection and solar power (passive – during the winter), recycling plastic and metal, reusing plastic bags and using fiber grocery totes. We are finding uses for old tires and growing our own fruits, veggies and herbs.
As I created this list I realized all of my friends are doing many of the same things. They are creating a better world environment in their own back yards. I share some of their insights with you here.
Dorothy said, “How fun!!! We live on a 160 acre ‘farm.’ One hundred acres of it is woods. (Yes, Pooh would love it here!) We cut our trees (mostly looking for dead, dying, trees). We use that to heat our home. Haven’t had a heating bill for twenty some years! Yay! We plant a HUGE garden from which we can, freeze, dehydrate. We are starting up a beehive again after not having one for many years. Recycling is a given (we could probably be doing a better job of that). My husband has a Natural Resources (Wildlife Management) degree and I have a Home Economics Education Degree so, we are all about advocating for this world God has let us use.
Michael said, “Well that is something Rachel. Here at “Rancho Verdugo” we try to keep it going all year round:
*Slowly using more indigenous flora and less grass for the yards. Lowers the water usage.
*We recycle what ever we can. That dumpster is usually more full than normal trash.
*We’re a one car family so that speaks for itself.
*The company I work for has incentives for low fuel consumption in company vehicles.
*We’ve been using reusable grocery bags for over twenty years now.
This is really inspiring. I hope you get a lot of responses.”
Kay said, “Not putting chemicals on lawn (much to the chagrin of my neighbors).”
Andy offered some words of wisdom, “While getting in connection with nature, some words of advice; don’t get poison ivy!”
VeeVee chimed in with, “In reference to your “Humble Request…World Environment Day… People that know me say I have too much time on my hands when I comment on the length of a shadow, a flora or fauna color, the shape of a cloud or something as delicate and strong as a spider’s web.
“I’ve spent my entire life in the country repaying Mother Earth for the bounty she offers. If you give…she gives in return. The grandchildren listen wide eyed and with both ears…until they are filled with knowledge and can hold no more. Patience. Patience is needed as they walk away to become their own ‘person.’. The day comes around when they teach their own about the ‘Three Sisters, Cover Crops, the sweetness and flavor off a sun-ripened strawberry and the taking of time to play in the gardens of life. Clover. Big Purple Sweet Clover. Plant it. To see the ingenious inter-workings of an ant hill is magical. To feel a summer rain on your face… As a warm breeze tickles my back I feel the gentle of Grandma’s hand as /Grandfather Sun sits lightly on my shoulders.
“A walk, building a brush pile constructed for the safety of a bunny or serving as a home to many birds. Watching how wildlife co-exists in the brush you provided is rewarding. While others mow grass mimicking a golf green, I leave patches for the animals for cover to do what animals do. No chemicals and plenty of dandelions for their nutrition. I plant milkweed and flowers for the butterflies, hummingbirds and watch them enjoy.
“I have a spring-fed pond that the dragonflies and frogs enjoy.
“I love my back yard. Love taking walks with my grandchildren and my now spiritual ancestors. One day…the day will come when my daughters teach their grandchildren the ways of their ancestors. I know this is lengthy, Rachel, and I have done no editing. You’ve inspired me to get it out thus far… Thank you. Big Smile!”
Kimberly said, “We recycle anything the village will pick-up, plant flowers that help the birds and butterflies. Plant a vegetable garden, and herbs. Plan shopping around travel to minimize gas usage.
Jenny said, “I planted a lot of perennials that the pollinators and butterflies and hummingbirds love. I also put out bird seed all year long. I love to watch the birds and the squirrels and the butterflies! I also planted herbs and a few veggies along my fence with my grandchildren. I love teaching them about nature and how to grow their own food! What an amazing world our God has created!!!
Erica said, “I let the thistles grow wild and bloom on our 60 acre farm. The goldfinches completely love the idea!!”
Susan said, “Did you see my sister’s post of my one garden, there are more. I will try to post. We have a nice habitat for bees, rabbits, squirrels, birds, etc. I plant with the idea that some of the plantings are food for the little creatures!”