Log VI: Soggy Soil and Spirits

It's been a year and a half since my last post containing observations on the land here. I don't know why this is, so I'll not speculate. One thing I do know is that there's no real catching up. Pepperwood is dynamic in its every dimension. It would change so much in the time it would take me to account for its changes thus far observable. Trope-fully and truthfully, change is a reliable constant. How, then, do we ally ourselves with the sacred inverting of life into death into life again? How do we make peace with the slipping streambank, the sliding rock?

We've had sixty inches of rain since October, and I'm moving nearly sixty tons of cattle throughout this place. When the soil seems thin and saturated, and the stockpiled grass runs low, and you're waiting for the sun to make good on the rain's promises, time slows. It pools in every hoof punch. It gets tangled in a breath caught in throat when rounding the wind in the hopes of seeing an unexpected flush of green around the corner.

Romulea abounds. What looks from afar like a robust sward instead proves to be this new kid on the block that may not play nice with others. And since nothing can be done, I choose to do nothing. Because life has too many choices as is. And, "serenity is an option."

Nature humbles me constantly. Nature  herself is best approached at a saunter, and looked at with a gentle gaze. Too much pressure and she reminds us of her maternal authority. 

Wet weather is bad for morale. I live in a tent right now, and even a tarpaulind tent is never quite dry when it's this wet. Water defies gravity; it distills itself from nebulous gas to aggravating droplets at stitching and seam.

Lately I have realized that I am very hard on myself. That much of the time I am generous with others yet govern myself like an autocrat. And this may make sense at first, because auto- here implies self, but in fact we are not a single self. I, like all of you, contain a whole constellation of entities within what's commonly called Ariel. Any attempt to achieve a single outcome that doesn't take into account the whole of me is doomed from the start.

Sometimes the soil is soggy. Sometimes I must tread lightly. Sometimes I must make less of a mark. 

 

Log IV: Inquisition

This log is a little bit different. Instead of sharing my observations I will list a few of the questions on my mind surrounding oaks, grasses, and the interaction effects of grazing.

1. What is the growth rate (or re-growth rate) of moss and lichen on oaks?

2. I have read that moss and lichen attract animals to the trees. Is this more about attracting nitrogen inputs or acorn dispersal?

3. What are the corollaries and differences between the effects of fire and the impact of grazing at density?

4. How will the nitrogen deposition from manure piles affect the preponderance of annual grasses relative to perennials in the adjacent area?

5. What kinds of conditions favor the health and preponderance of native bunch grasses?

6. What does it mean for a species to have co-evolved with grazing? Does this mean its entire physiology now warrants occasional grazing, or does it mean that it is a better competitor amidst grazing pressures? ("wanting" vs "tolerating)

7. Are cows grazing the bunch grasses (stipa pulchra in particular) prior to the annuals because their deep roots provide more craved minerals, because they get more forage per bite, or because there are some green shoots?