this acre is pretty much divided in two by the house in the middle. the sides are identified by me as the front and the back. most everyone who passes by, inhabitants of the hood, think of it as opposite. early, i went out in the front and brought down the majority of the kochia, the very strong, but very opportunistic weed that will take over. some of the stalks were as big as my wrist. most a broom handle width. then, surveying it all, thinking about how this year has gone so far, thinking about sometime soon leaving August behind, the BirthandDeath month, about entering into a new winter, i evaluated what i'd done, in 2011.
instead of insisting on certain things, aside from planting the vegetables in the raised beds, i just left it alone. i wanted, "once and for all", to understand something about this acre that has taken me a long time to even define as an intelligent question. for a long time, i have not been able to understand what, at least to me, the difference is between sustainable and self~sustaining. Wendy will catch this as something i was interested in on her blog, now Grace and Mending and Deb G will recognize this too. the abnormal winter and then spring and now summer have helped make this experiment possible as the "usual" wouldn't work anyway.
so...self~sustaining. IF i were no longer here, what would continue without me? what, of the many trees, bushes, vines, etc. that i have planted on the original flat sand only empty acre would Continue? everything i have planted has been considered "native". but what i have come to understand over the years is that native needs to be native to a particular environment. yes, all DO grow in New Mexico, but some, actually, most, only in very specific small ecosystems. rocky soil, sandy soil, disturbed soil, clay, coliche, arroyos, bosque and on. all the variables have not come into play, but a wide array have, this year. extreme cold/extreme wind/delayed seasons/extreme heat. so i know a little more and have more "to go on" now.
and out under the Vitex, the Chaste Tree, that had seemed dead in the spring but then has sent up new shoots, something caught my peripheral vision. just a slight movement. i really had to look all over. but here she was nestled deep within the unwanted weeds:
i could not believe my luck! once growing, she will Continue. she will over time fling off her seeds and sooner or later, one or some will find the perfect crack in the sand and live. Side Oat Grama are self~sustaining. totally. and i thought about the native grasses. there is a wonderful book on them by the Agricultural Experimental Station at New Mexico State. to me, it reads like poetry. almost like Rumi:
Inflorescence a panicle of spike like branches disarticulating below the glumes or one flowered on very delicate sinuous stalk. floretes with a line of hairs on each nerve, pedicelled spiklets, well developed about as large and broad as the sessile ones. nodes, short and hairy, copius and somewhat obscuring tall bluish glaucous, oppressed hairs less than 3cm.
broad, not rhizomateous; anthers purple, tufted extending beyond the point of attachment of the terminal spikelet. stems appearing more-or-less in linear progression, close together with basal sheaths mostly flattened, ribbon like or somewhat keeled.