Those of us who tend gardens, care for animals, and try to make choices in our lives to live more simply are constantly walking the line between managing the earth and working with the earth. No matter how subtle we work, we inevitably change the world around us: we pull 'weeds', we build fences, we collect water, we enrich soil , we raise animals in certain spots and leave other spots natural, we build houses: we improve.
Lately I've been questioning that line a bit: so often when we homestead it seems like we need to control and do things, so much so that sometimes it becomes difficult to trust in the world around us.
I firmly believe that when an animal comes into our care that we accept the responsibility of taking the best care of that animal we are able to. But so often it is hard to know just what the best care is. I've been told that my rabbits will live longer kept in the cool basement instead of outside, but is keeping a rabbit out of site of the sun most of the time really best? I know that keeping my garden weeded and my plants well spaced is better (it certainly looks better) but is leaving bare soil for other weeds to grow really best?
When we decide to trust in nature, we often benefit in ways we don't even understand.
This summer our bees have tested our trust in good old mother nature. When our hive swarmed last month, we ultimately decided to split the hive and formed another new hive. Since we couldn't find any evidence of a queen in either of our hives, we trusted in our bees ability to raise their own (bee will take brood and make a new queen all on their own). Sitting back and letting them do their own things was hard - why couldn't I just solve the problem and move on.
The last 2 times we visited the hive we found no new brood, and finally came to the conclusion that we needed to find 2 new queen quick.
Five days later we still hadn't acted on ordering new queens: call it a hunch or just procrastination, but yesterday we finally went in the hives 'just to be sure' and there was brood - AND we found a queen (see her in the photo above).
We can help and guide those plants and animals that come into our lives. We can feed them, and measure their protein intake, or their nutrient needs (and we should) but sometimes the key to a happy, safe, healthy, productive homestead is simply a little trust in nature.