Bloom Where You Are Planted

We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men.

Herman Melville

We often open these posts with an update on the weather. It’s sort of a thing.

Maybe that’s because Ohio cannot seem to figure out which season it wants to be in at the moment (even more so than usual). Maybe it is so we can look back on what the weather was like throughout the year so we can observe both changes and trends.

Regardless of reason, good ol’ Northeast Ohio just keeps on being Ohio throughout the month of February. We’ve had plenty of days of unseasonably warm weather (mid-60s some days) followed by days of ice and freezing rain. That was the story on repeat for much of last week and through the weekend.

The freezing rains of last week really loosened up the soil in our lower pasture. So much so that we had a pine tree lean a bit too far, fall over, and pull up a large portion of its ball.

And as luck would have it, that root ball and the top of the tree both went right through portions of the pasture fencing. Two fence breaks from the same tree! We were fortunate though. Even though this happened while we were away, the goats didn’t bolt. They stayed inside their pasture until we were able to get out there with headlamps and the chainsaw to cut portions of the tree and make some temporary repairs to the fence.

Remember how last week we said you really got to love it? This was one of those times. While running the chainsaw is always fun, running a chainsaw in near freezing rain isn’t one of life’s great experiences. You’ve got to love tending your homestead to get out at night in the freezing rain to maintain a fence.

The next morning, Christine texted our neighbors to let them know that the tree had fallen on part of their yard and that we would be removing it over the weekend. Fortunately there’s nothing for the tree to damage there, but as a courtesy we wanted to let them know that we would be taking care of the situation.

That’s when the magic happened.

You see, our neighbors started with chickens the year before we did. We knew when we moved here that chickens were a part of our future plans, but we had our hesitations because we were new to raising chickens. Talking with our neighbors, new neighbors at that time, inspired us to jump in and begin raising our own chickens here on the homestead.

We saw what they were doing and were inspired to do it as well. Much in the same way Joel Salatin inspired both of us years ago to really think more critically about our food and how it gets to our table. See last week’s blog, You Really Have to Love It, for more about that.

As time went by in the year before we started our own chickens, we really enjoyed watching the antics of the neighbor’s flock. But they took notice of our projects too. Especially our gardens.

Last year, our neighbor, Caroline, asked if she could take a look through our gardens. We were thrilled to give her the grand tour and happily explained all that we had done to build and nurture our raised bed plots.

What does all this have to do with a pine tree falling and breaking our fence in two places?

Well, when Christine messaged our neighbor Caroline asked what we were going to do with the downed tree.

When we originally built our raised beds, we used a lot of tree debris to fill in the bottom layers of the beds. This would serve as natural compost and fill up a good portion of the beds saving us on the amount of topsoil and amendments we needed to use to fill each bed.

We had explained this to Caroline on our tour of the gardens last summer and she remembered it! Now that she was planning her own garden bed for the spring, she wanted to share in the benefit of the fallen pine in filling her bed as well.

That, friends, in how inspiration works. The bug gets planted and good will spreads. We have been inspired and influenced by so many wonderful people in the homesteading community. To have the opportunity, and blessing, to have inspired someone else, even in a small way, is an amazing feeling.

Of course, we’re happy to share in the benefits of the fallen pine!

We’re building our own little community around where we live. We’ve been blessed with good neighbors all around. Just in our little sphere along our shared lane we will have fresh produce, eggs, pasture raised chicken, and grass fed beef throughout the entire season. Through good neighbors and good friends we have built in resiliency and access to healthy, natural food.

We don’t believe we ended up where we are by happenstance or circumstance. We were put here to bloom. Sharing our bounty with those around us is how we’re going to build community.

How are you promoting the local community where you live? Please share your stories with us so we can learn and find inspiriation in the lessons you’ve learned.

We’d love to watch you grow!

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