Just when I think winter will hold sway forever, the sun creeps higher and the snow evaporates. While it it is still pretty cold, and rather muddy, it is finally spring in northern Vermont. This year, the wood frogs started chorusing on April 24th, and the spring peepers on April 25th. Of course there is the usual cacophony of birds staking out territories. We've also had a few special visitors: a great blue heron, a northern harrier, an American kestrel, and some woodcocks calling at dusk. Going out at night with a flashlight, we see iridescent ground beetles out hunting, and nightcrawlers creeping about. I expect to hear the American toads calling soon, and the bluebirds and tree swallows bickering over nesting boxes.
As organic farmers, we appreciate all these visitors. It means that we are doing a good job providing them with all the essentials: clean water, food, shelter, and places to raise babies. The more diverse the ecosystem, the more resilient it is.
If land is treated harshly, with chemicals, overgrazing, or plowing and planting every inch, it will not sustain diverse populations of animals or plants. Eventually it won't produce the intended crop, either. By maintaining land in way that is good for wild creatures, we also maintain land in a way that will keep it productive for human animals.
Happy spring, everyone!