Deus Ex Machina published a really interesting post recently. His focus was on respecting and appreciating the gifts we are given - often without any spent energy on our parts. I referenced those gifts in my recent commentary on stuffed grape leaves. Granted, we planted the grape vine, and without it, there would be no leaves, but after we planted it, we have done very little else with it. The base of the plant is as thick as my calf (shut-up ... I don't have fat ankles!). The two discussions had me thinking about our nanofarm.
With so little space to plant, nothing in my yard grows in a monoculture. Cabbage and onions share space.
Peas push up through the pak choi, which shares ground with a tomato seedling.
Big Little Sister's Warrior Cat garden is a study in cooperative growing.
Even the animals have to share space. The chickens, ducks and rabbits all share the 512 sq foot yard we built for them (to keep them out of the gardens).
When one lives on a small space and subsistence is the goal, the need for cooperation, sharing the hardships and the joys, is necessary, and everyone has a job, and everyone must do his job. The beans fix the nitrogen in the soil so that the borage can provide pollen for the bees so that the bees will give us honey.
I watched a white butterfly flit into the animal yard today. I love watching the butterflies and other flying insects and birds enjoying my herb garden. The butterflies particularly love the milkweed (a volunteer), and hummingbirds are attracted to the bee balm. So, I took an interest in the little guy as he floated through the fence at, roughly, eye level of the ducks. I had a moment of panic, though, when I noted that Padoda was interested for a completed different reason, and I sent a mental warning to "fly away! fly away!" The butterfly made it out, unscathed, but not before the rest of the flock noticed and started snapping, too.
As much as I would have been sad to see the butterfly become duck or chicken food, I was reminded, in that moment, that the ducks and chickens were simply doing their job, too. They were eating bugs, which they need to make the eggs, which we use to sustain ourselves.
It's a balance, isn't it? Precarious and precious.