Shaggy Maple Homestead

Honoring God in all we do on the homestead

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Shattering the Glass of Lies

Daffodils beneath black walnut tree

Daffodils beneath black walnut tree

Black walnut tree

Black walnut tree

It comes as no surprise to me, as a Christian, that the world, having fallen in sin, should be full of empty deceit and lies.

Our society has so far separated itself from the reality of creation, and of Creator for that matter, that there are "facts" we take for granted- presumed wisdom- which in fact has no basis in reality.

One of the biggest ways this plays out in my own life is through my efforts to build a permaculture system on our homestead.

Over the last 7 years, I've observed, I've practiced, I'd succeeded, and I've failed in more endeavors than many people try in a lifetime. And I've spent so much time unlearning all the textbook knowledge of how to succeed in gardening and livestock management. Why unlearning? Because most of the knowledge purported in many of the books and manuals I've read have been based on isolated monocultural methods that have no lasting or profoundly productive results. Chemical fertilizers were developed during the late 1800s and used widely during the first world war in an effort to bring fallow waste ground into peak production to supply food to the nations, warring against one another. They were never widely tested for sustainability, or long term viability. They were a short term additive meant to produce immediate results. And that is just what they did. Apart from any meaningful incorporation into holistic land management, these fertilizers and pesticides, rather than having their desired effect merely pose more issues. Instead of building topsoil, the chemical fertilizers are dumped en masse on to over-tilled, overworked, compacted soil and erode away into the ground water. Instead of creating ecosystems of productivity, we've given in to governments subsidies and produced chemical laden, toxin-heavy commercial crops that can neither nourish nor sustain our soil, bodies, or farmers.

So what gives? Why do we buy hook, line, and sinker all these lies we are told will help us to become productive if they have no basis in reality? For the same reason Adam and Eve abandoned God's good creation in favor of playing God and defining for themselves what is good and evil.

What then is our solution? In my experience, the answer was to get out in nature. The more separation I put between the "have to's" of man-made systems, the more I was able to take in how God designed nature to work. I was able to see the good purposes behind the various plants, animals, water, and soil issues. I stopped fighting so much for control, and began to manage what was already in existence, according to the rhythms put in place by the Heavenly Father's good design.

One big lie I've heard again and again, with absolutely no basis in reality is that nothing can grow beneath black walnut trees. This is said to be because of allelopathy- when a plant secretes a toxin that inhibits the growth of nearby plants as a means of self-preservation. However, when viewed in a permaculture, holistic system, this is an outright lie. On our property, we have two black walnut trees. They drop their leaves every autumn, and we have neither planted, nor cultivated anything in particular under them. However, upon my venturing out into the gardens and woods today, I noticed a plethora of life bursting forth from the earth, right at the feet of these black walnut trees. Daffodils, irises, Solomon's seal, wild black raspberry, and many other medicinally valuable plants are thriving in this polyculture system, and I've done nothing to it. That tells me some things.

1) It tells me that God has designed His planet to be interconnected and interdependent. To remove one aspect of Creation as superfluous is to detract some integral part of a complex system that as of yet, we've failed to fully comprehend.

2) There may be an abundance of knowledge, but knowledge is not the same as wisdom. Wisdom is knowledge rightly applied; in the proper time, place, and way.

How much of God's bounty and beauty is missed simply because we take for granted everything we have been told without further investigation? How much of our lives are based upon man-centric lies that fail to account for the experiential wisdom of being connected to God the Father and to nature?

My challenge to you is to get outdoors- whether it is at your own home, a park, or other green space.. look around you at the various species occupying the space. Watch the grass, observe the movement of the landscape, and ask yourself, "Is this something that man has subdued and managed well? Or is it something artificial that while temporarily functional fails to take advantage of the fullness and goodness and beauty of the Master Gardener?"