For Heaven’s Sake “Keep the Soil Covered.”

Guest Post – My friends Wayne and Connie Burleson travel the world teaching people everywhere to grow their own food. 

Find them here:  http://farmer-to-farmer.org/volunteer/stories/wayne-burleson

And herehttps://www.amazon.com/Gardening-Life-Required-Illustrated-Growing/dp/0989286304

(Excerpts from NAKED LAND NO MORE articles)    By Wayne Burleson

Let’s wakeup everyone, especially gardeners, ranchers and farmers.  Poor soils equate to poor life. No soils, no life. Healthy soils, healthy life. If you look out your windows or walk on the land and see naked soils, these soils are dying, and economics are dropping.

The words “Naked Land” comes from a trip to Tanzania, Africa.  An elder African fellow that has a very interesting museum at the base of the famed Mount Kilimanjaro made the following impacting statement to us:  For 2,000 years after the invention of iron; “Man has been making the land naked.” (meaning no cover).  Impacting statement, but true!

An African shepherd leads his goats across a large dusty plain, a few scraggly trees and bushes are the only green for miles.

Bare soil leads toward death.  Covered soil leads toward health.  It’s that simple.  Dust kills – Covered heals.

If you have trouble understanding this biological law, just try laying out flat on the ground, with no clothes on some warm day and see what happens to your skin.  Your uncovered skin will start to burn immediately. Stay there all day with no sun protection and you will cook yourself into the hospital.  This same principle applies to the land, your flower beds, vegetable gardens, croplands and even pasture lands.

Sun cooked soil becomes very hot, plus the ultraviolet light kills valuable microorganism that live in the soils.  Their job is to build and grow new soils.  The long-term effect of this affects all of us.  The big picture is that our weather patterns can go completely nutso.  Is this happening today?  Yep, just turn on the news and you will see it, someone is always talking and showing news clips about extreme weather events.

I listen to these climate reports documenting catastrophic fires, floods, droughts, and intensifying hurricanes that are killing people.  Most reports talk about global warming caused by industrial factories, carbon dioxide emissions, the burning of fossil fuels … carbon going up into the atmosphere.  Seldom do I hear that these devastating events are being caused by poor land management.  Farmers are making the land naked by plowing, tilling and severe overgrazing.  Plus, the millions of African farmers burning their croplands sending valuable carbon the wrong way – up, instead of down into or leaving the carbon (plant matter) laying on top of the soils surface, where it is badly needed. 

Naked land leads to death.
  • Loss of WATER            
  • Loss of SOILS
  • Loss of PROFITS               
  • Loss of HEALTH
  • Loss of PRODUCTION

    Even Leads to Civil Unrest & Wars

Try growing a crop on this naked farmland in Tanzania Africa.  It will cost a pile of money using “Chemical Farming.” Sometimes 80% of the farmer’s gross income. 

We have published a book Gardening for Life – No Money Required.  For those interested in more information, watch our YouTube video.  Just Google “Top 5 ways to grow food with no money

The point of this article is; Please do your best to keep naked land covered.  Our lives depend on you.

God Heard Me

Psalm 116: 1-2

I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy.
Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live.

Both verses make it clear. Because God heard me, therefore I love him. Cause and effect.

Love and trust grow between two people when they genuinely hear one another.

God Hears Us

When I feel that God is far away from me, that’s when I know I need to pour out my heart to Him. One time when I was going through a particularly difficult situation, I dedicated every evening to Him. I gave away my T.V. and spent every evening reading scripture and praying. Sometimes hours would go by when it felt like only a few minutes. Did God immediately solve all my problems? No. But I did feel His presence in powerful ways! I cried out to Him in pain for 18 months. Then He blessed me beyond my wildest dreams.

When you are in desperate straits, pour it all on God. He wants to hear it.

Speak to Him in the silence of the night.

Cry out to Him throughout the day.

Pray while you take a fast walk through a park or go for a hike. The added exercise will combine with your prayers and amazing things will happen.

We Must Hear Others

Love and trust grow between spouses when they genuinely hear one another. Listening to our spouses shows that we love them and that they are important to us. When our spouses feel that love, their love for us will also grow.

Friends also need our undivided attention. Our lives have become overfull of activities and social media which means little time is left for deep friendships. God created us for relationships with other people, face to face relationships. Texting is convenient but it will never replace loving someone enough to sit down and look them in the eye and say, “I am here for you.”

Listening is not an easy thing to do. Lynda D. Elliott, in her book The Counsel of a Friend, said, “Listening may appear easy or even passive, but really ‘hearing’ another person may be the hardest work you will do.”

How to Listen:

  1. Pray first – Ask God to help you truly hear that other person.
  2. Focus on them – Set aside your own thoughts and judgements.
  3. Watch – Look for body language that reflects their thoughts and feelings.
  4. Notice – Take note of their feelings. Are they feeling angry, sad, guilty, frustrated, hopeless or something else?

 

Listen beyond their words. What is in their heart? Don’t try to “fix” them or their problem. If they want advice, they will ask for it. Till then just listen. Just love.

DSCN1471

The Stillwater River, MT

April-May 2013 040

Standing beside the crashing river, I could feel the water pound throughout my whole body, landing in my heart. Deep in the water I could hear the pow wow drums beating the song.

The far side of the river was the shallower side. Boulders of various sizes made the water dance and slide in a way that carried my troubles and fears away – far down the mountain.

The near side was deeper, for no rocks showed. Rather than dance and slide, the water took one great dip, then rose like an ocean wave. The crest boiled over into a curve facing upriver. It dared the adventurous surfer to challenge it. The water then rushed on to the next wave and the next, splashing water to the sky.

Watching the water rise into that huge wave, my stomach tickled – like riding a roller coaster…the excitement continued building and building till I had to look away just to recover.

The power of the river gives me strength. It clears my soul.

In John Denver’s song To The Wild Country he sings about Alaska, but his words ring true for every wild country and every person it touches. The chorus goes like this:

To the mountains, I can rest there.

To the rivers, I will be strong.

To the forest, I’ll find peace there.

To the wild country, where I belong.

 

The land has so much to give.

We must respect it. We need to care for it. We should enjoy it.

Nevertheless, it is vital that it speak to us – that it touch us.

We should not always be the subject of the sentence – the initiator of the action.

We are not complete until we have received from the land.

I came to this conclusion recently on my own, after years of being in nature and after many discussions with others who are not attuned to the wild. Then just the other day I was reading some Native American writings and was astounded at what I found.

The Arapaho have a proverb that says “All plants are our brothers and sisters. They talk to us and if we listen, we can hear them.”

The Huron say, “Listen to the voice of nature, for it holds treasures for you.”

We have much we can learn from the Native Americans (and from the wild) if we are willing.

If you are ever in southern Montana, stop and listen to the Stillwater River.

Sounds of Silence

“Silence is not the absence of something but the presence of everything…It is the presence of time, undisturbed. It can be felt within the chest. Silence nurtures our nature, our human nature, and lets us know who we are. Left with a more receptive mind and a more attuned ear, we become better listeners not only to nature but to each other. Silence can be carried like embers from a fire. Silence can be found, and silence can find you. Silence can be lost and also recovered. But silence cannot be imagined, although most people think so. To experience the soul-swelling wonder of silence, you must hear it.”

Gordon Hempton, One Square Inch of Silence

http://onesquareinch.org/

Product Details

“The soul-swelling wonder of silence.” What an incredible phrase! I have felt it but never knew how to put it into words.

Once, long ago, I was hiking through Silver Falls State Park and I sat down for a rest and a snack. No one else was around. After finishing my snack, I paused. Then I heard it! The natural silence. The pitter-patter of chipmunk feet behind me. The soft  whoosh  of leaves high in the trees. Yes! I could feel it in my chest.

When life gets difficult, I always find myself retreating to the forest. There are other beautiful places to hike but there is a magic about the forest that touches me in a way nothing else does.

Stress…worry…anxiety…burdens…tension…

My muscles are tight with it all. My mind stuck in an endless flow of negative thoughts. My temper on edge. My patience non-exsistent.

Then I reach the forest. I look for steep trails that lead to isolated water. I hike hard and fast. I push myself, allowing only small amounts of water periodically. My lungs feel it first. The burning. Then my thighs start to ache. Sometimes there are tears. I am not ready for the silence yet. The forest is only beginning its work on me. I feel protection from the trees. I feel the firmness of the trail beneath my feet. I feel the boundlessness of the sky above me. I feel the hidden animals aware of my intrusion. I feel much that I am not consciously aware of.

When I finally reach exhaustion, I stop and look around. I can begin to see again. A thousand shades of greens and browns. The view down the valley.

I find a place for a snack and sit, replenishing my energy and soaking in the feel of the forest. I am half way there.

My hiking is now slower and my thoughts match my pace. The negetive thoughts have stopped their insistent hammering in my head.

Then I reach the water. Just the sight of it soothes me. My thoughts and emotions settle. I need to touch the water, to feel its coolness slip over my hands. Next, I find a place to sit as close to the water as possible. Another snack and I am ready for the silence. I sit and listen. The tiny lap of water on the shore of the lake. The birds crying as they circle overhead.

How long have I sat there? One, two, three hours? I refuse to take a watch hiking. A glance at the sun tells me when I need to be heading downtrail so I won’t get caught in the dark. “The soul-swelling wonder” of the silence has nurtured my human nature. It is difficult to head home, but I do. I will be patient and kind once again. But not for long. Soon I will need to return to my forest and my silence.

Nature’s Peace

Multnomah Falls along the Columbia River

This is one of my favorite hikes. Thousands of people view the falls from the parking lot. Hundreds view the falls from the bridge. Few view the falls from the top.

“Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls.”

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” John Muir