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Manifesting Greener Pastures

I hear my grandfather laughing from spirit as start to write this blog post.  "Why?" You may ask. and at this point I can only answer, I think it has something to do with the rocky red clay soil  he was so familiar with in his own life.  A soil that forced him, with just a 40 acre homestead and a mule, to find unusual ways to make a living over and above what the land, cottonseed, and hard work were able to provide.

 

Today we walked a square around our place and a double track trail that skirts the neighbors place.  We know our place was the main dwelling area of an unsuccessful homestead from the early 20th century.  As such, much of it was cleared of trees, especially mighty Colorado Blue Spruce and Lodge Pole Pine, some that were probably over 500 years old when they were cut down and used for timber.  We have found the stumps of these trees dotted across the outer edges of the pasture, one stump so unevenly cut you can sit on it like a grand throne, with the remaining outer shell and bark providing a back rest that rises high above your head.

 

The other noticeable aspect of our place compaired to the neighbors is what appears to be some severe overgrazing on a little more than 35 acres which is divided into three pastures now largely treed with aspen and ponderosa pine.  The land has carried a sheep lease on it for at least three decades, and there are steep sections where the top soil seems to have washed down to rock, as well as less steep sections where there just isn't enough vegetation to prevent it from eventually wearing down to rock.  A few years back, the aspens caught what appears to be oyster shell canker and many of them died.  Their skeletons litter a section of the highest flattest meadow, preventing the ground there from becoming good pasture.  The remaining aspens look a bit thin, bent,  and diminutive compared to groves just to our west, which are growing tall and deep.

 

We have decided to provide extra grass seed and horse manure on the areas where the vegetation is thin.  I have also raised my hand and ask for a gaspowered chainsaw to make use of the many downed aspen in the highest meadow, I would like to build a guest hogan or platform for a teepee or yurt, since that is the same area where the Sneffles Range of the San Juan Mountains is most easily viewed.  But first, we have to figure out what sort of grass to plant. 

 

What grass is native and helpful?  What is not?

 

After several hours of websearching and review, I find that most of the pasture mixes available at the local garden and ranch stores are offering us a mixture of a couple of native grasses with a multitude of non-native grasses.  After more review I can only find information on five native grasses that belong where we are.  There could be more grasses, but I can only find this information on five as of this evening.  Sandberg's Bluegrass, Western and Blue Wheatgrass, Muttongrass, and Junegrass.  Of these five, the Bluegrass, the Wheatgrasses, and the Muttongrass are most nutritious and healthy for horses. 

 

 I think I am actually in love with the Muttongrass because it is healthy and nutritious for not just horses, but also deer, elk, sheep, and humans.  You can eat it in a salad, sautee it, collect the seeds and make a nutritious flour out of it.  It is like the dandelion of grass because it is so delicious  - but even better because it is a native plant, non-invasive, and everyone can be nourished by it.  At the same time it tolerates it's popularity well, growing more strongly and vigorously as it is eaten and trampled upon. 

 

Now, I was going to make a point about the whole process of manifesting a greener pasture... hmmm... what was it?  Let me see... oh yes, here it is. 

 

This process isn't easy, and we are not exactly sure we are going to go about it correctly, having never done it before. 

 

It's a lot like manifesting a different kind of life, or a new job, or a the metaphorical "greener pastures" that everyone talks about, whether they live in the city or in the country, or someplace in between.   We are not sure where this process will lead us - but I think we have made a good start by taking the following steps:

 

1) We have researched deeply into what we want. 

In this case native, non-invasive grass species that can support the local large grazing fauna (deer, elk, horses, sheep) and provide hardy ground cover to prevent further soil erosion and begin the process of building up more soil. 

 

2) We have taken stock of what work needs to be done to improve the situation and have made a committment to perform that work.

In this case moving and recycling old dead aspen trunks and using them for terracing or guest lodging where appropriate, while leaving the areas of downfall between meadows for small fauna habitat.

 

3) We recognize that this work will require some major personal effort on our part, and we don't expect someone else to do it for us.

 

4) We have visualized what our pasture will provide for the horses, deer, elk, sheep, us, and other creatures we care for living around us once this work is completed.

 

5) We recognize the work may not be completed quickly and will have to be done in stages.  We do not expect a quick fix.

 

7) We are open to finding out that we have proceeded to do the work in a way that will not work or be most beneficial for all the beings concerned, and we are willing to make adjustments as necessary.

 

We are trusting our guidance to lead us in this endeavor, so that we learn lessons that we can apply elsewhere, and do the best job we possibly can.

 

9) We do not expect to know everything about what we are doing in advance of doing it.

 

10) We look forward with anticipation to the days when the pasture is lush, green, and full of a multitude of living things who are supported by it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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