I have a crush on this company. Their mission to preserve and rehabilate the great plains of our country is pretty remarkable. The prairies of the midwest and south were devastated almost entirely at the turn of the last century due to cultivation and over grazing of cattle. Native grasses and wildflowers, have an unbelievable root structure! Many native species have roots that grow as much as 15 feet deep! Check out this link to a beautiful visual. Sadly, an overwhelming majority of the native species in the plains states were replaced with invasive and non-native species which has completely altered the landscape. Not to mention the mess that is industrial farming of corn and soybean and cotton. The story of the stark transformation of such an intricate, beautiful, perfect ecosystem is so brutal and heartbreaking. Did you know that the prairies were naturally designed to catch fire? That frequent prairie burns were actually beneficial and promoted species diversity? That native prairies were extremely drought resistent? In fact, it just so happens that the last 75 years have been wetter than usual. And we've gotten use to said precipation and so have our ill-adapted man-made landscapes. The recent ongoing drought is actually pretty normal weather in the grand scheme of long term weather patterns.
So, now we find ourselves in a pickle because drought resistent we ain't no more.
Enter native species. Seek them out. Plant them. Use them. They work for us. And they are stunning.
On Friday, Bea and I rode our bikes up to the animal shelter and played with the sweetest dog named Autumn. Then we stopped next door to our local nursery. I was so happy to see packets of Native American Seeds on their shelves. We chose a few wildflower varieties that are suitable for sowing in the spring and pedaled on home. On Saturday, we cleared up a little area around the chicken coop and planted the seeds (like scattering feed to chickens -- I can do that) just as the instructions indicated. If we can keep close tabs on the girls, the seeds will germinate and we will have the beginnings of a pocket prairie.
Little by little, we continue our efforts to turn this little plot of desperate and scraggly land into something that resembles what our good earth offered to us so long ago. It's a slow project, involves a lot of trial and error, but I'm hopeful of the changes to come as the seasons march on.
Are your thoughts turning to seeds and life outdoors? Spring is in the air in our parts!