Restoring Vitality into the Land

By September 23, 2015Homesteading, Permaculture
east slope into draw_20007536583_l

This land represents so much powerful potential for health

A few weeks ago, I took photos all over our newly acquired land to have good documentation for the future. In the coming years, we will no doubt re-envision this place, build new infrastructure, shape the land, and introduce new plants and animals. It’s exciting to think about tapping into the potential of this land, and restoring more vigor and vitality.

Let’s be clear here… The land ain’t “perfect”, and what land really is anyway? (Perfect is such a loaded word…) The soil could use a lot of help, for one. It’s degraded, and the topsoil is nothing to write home about. That’s probably true in most place these days. The woods have been logged most definitely in my lifetime, and unfortunately, former land owners have used them as a dumping ground for all manner of trash. Kudzu flanks a big swath of the edge of one section of woods. Some of the fields are an unmanaged hot mess as far as succession goes. There’s at least two decaying structures that need to be dismantled and dealt with.

kudzu chaos

Kudzu… a problem or an opportunity?

Despite that, there is plenty of beauty here and there’s loads of potential for restoration.The sun shines brightly from the south all over the land for much of the day. Water is abundant in the form of springs and rainfall. The breeze is just wonderful during parts of the day, and the sheltering effect of the trees lends privacy, protection from harsh weather, and all manner of positive benefits. Just over the past two days, many bees have been buzzing wildly in patches of wildflowers in the pasture.

exposed soil

How do we harness the amazing potential of soil-building?

These photos will be useful in the coming years as a reference point — here’s what we started with, and here’s where we are now. If we’re on the right track, we have the capability to enhance the beauty and vitality of this place. That’s the ultimate, and most rewarding goal.

Perhaps five, ten, fifteen years from now, I’ll be able to look at these same locations, and do a side-by-side… and see that the health of the land has been on a wonderful uptick.

If you’d like to see photos of the land in its current state, view my album here.



  • mdouble says:

    Restoring degraded, less than perfect land will certainly be a challenge. However, simply having land which can be restored will be more valued than gold in the challenging years ahead. The very fact that your land is somewhat depleted provides the opportunity for you to build it up using sustainable permaculture methods. From my perspective that makes your land a better investment than stocks, or bonds.

  • Lynn Peskoran says:

    I’m really curious about how you will turn kudzu into an “opportunity.” We have two so-called invasive species on our family property, and I am the only one in the family who recognizes opportunity, rather than a problem. One is Japanese Knotweed, which I used to really dislike, but I allow it to grow around the foundation of my house now, where it makes a pretty showing until about now when the flowers are gone and it begins to dry, so I just cut it down and feed it to my goats and geese who love it. The bees loved it, too, when it was flowering. The other plant is phragmites, which the Nature Conservancy (yes, Nature Conservancy) offers to help landowners kill by the use of glyphosate spraying. I just learned that it has been a much-valued plant in some parts of the world for centuries, and it makes great thatching material. Check out the thatched porch roof on the Camp Kawartha Environmental Education Center in Peterborough, Ontario:

    So, please let me know what you are able to do with the kudzu. Thanks!

    • ziggy says:

      @lynnpeskoran:disqus: I’ll keep you updated… honestly I have no idea what we’ll do yet. There is certainly far more than we could reasonably use for something like craft work. Time will tell.

      • Lynn Peskoran says:

        You probably know about the “goat” solution for kudzu, but just in case, put “goats eating kudzu” in a Google search.