Saturday, 14 May 2016

Musings on Diversity

My husband recently had hernia surgery. Lying in the hospital for three days, he got to talking with his roommate, who was a farmer from Kansas. It sounds as if they had pretty interesting philosophical discussions, and one observation the farmer made was how amazed he was at the cultural and racial diversity in Toronto. He couldn't figure out how we all get along so well, considering "No one speaks English!"

I thought about this for a while and concluded that we all get along pretty well because we don't share a common language. It forces us to slow down and really listen to each other with the intent to try to understand. We have to reach out and meet the other person half way and put effort into dialogue in order to conduct day-to-day business. That is a great thing, when you stop to think about it.

I'm currently reading John Seymour's The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It for about the sixth time, and the part I'm in now talks a lot about the necessity of diversity in maintaining a healthy farm. The downside of mono-cropping has been talked about a lot, but he also points out how you need multiple kinds of animals as well. Focusing on only one (for example, just raising sheep and nothing else) is as detrimental to the soil and the farmer as mono-cropping is. You need diversity in the bugs and bacteria. And you need a community of different people -- you can't be entirely isolated and try to do everything on your own. Even the most self-sufficient of people need other people, and being too independent is as unhealthy as being too dependent.

With this in mind, I went out Friday evening and bought two new kinds of flowers to add to my garden (which is heavy on the annual vegetables and light on the flowering perennials). I'm hoping the pink Lupines take over a bare spot in my yard, set off nicely by the Soapwort around their base. And I planted the little orange-blossomed Avens (Geum urbanum), also called Herb Bennet or Clove Root, where the flowers will show nicely against the green stucco of my house. Its roots can be used as an antiseptic, and in the Middle Ages were believed to fend off evil spirits and venomous beasts. So I'm set should any show up.

Itching to get the vegetables into the ground, though we still have a couple of weeks until last frost. My seedlings are straining at their pots, and my hydroponic tomatoes are about nine feet tall now, brushing the ceiling, collapsing back on themselves, then reaching the ceiling yet again. Lots of flowers but no fruit yet, in spite of my daily applications with the paintbrush.

It's raining today, so I can't do much useful stuff outside. Instead I plan to go to Lee Valley to buy a propane wand to burn weeds with. Between that and the Avens, my bastion will be sufficiently fortified.

No comments:

Post a Comment