Rebuilding Sustainability 4: The Sagebrush Catalyst

With a few changes in environmental legislation in the current weed desert in which we plant houses in the catastrophically failing Okanagan grasslands, we can live in a land of plenty instead of a simplistic organic machine, vulnerable to all the stresses that climate change can throw at it. To recap this week’s discussion so we can add a dimension to it, with a small amount of legislation and at very little cost, we begin. First, we capture lichen on loose rocks by planting them amongst them…

… then plant them in their permanent home….

… where they heat, water and feed young flowering plants …

… which then attract bees (and other insects) …

… which then attract birds.

The birds plant seed, fertilize it, scatter it, dig in its seeds, and keep the land under big sagebrush open for seeds, which grow more flowers, which attract more insects, and more birds. As the bird above demonstrates, bushes growing in watercourses, even those without surface water, are an important part of this story, but so is big sagebrush. If we’re going to build a grassland environment, then, we’re going to need everything above, lichen, rocks, flowers, insects, birds and big sage. I suggest we plant some.

Big sage melts winter snow mid-winter, drawing water from the dry sky, which will take it away. In the summer, it lifts deep water to the surface and makes it available to flowering plants (and insects, deer and birds), and then, when it gets overgrown …

… fire takes it away…

… leaving more fire-resistant plants behind, and their flowers, fertilized by ash from the fire.

9 Months After the Fire!

This is excellent habitat for bees, snakes, birds, and eventually for deer , although not for cattle. We aren’t going to want to burn between our houses, but a little work with some clippers for a weekend should do the trick. Now that we have deer coming to our grassland, we can get serious and finally plant some grass. The story doesn’t end there, either. Tomorrow, let’s look at what happens between grass, deer, coyotes and humans as they pass through the grass in a linked chain, and how this deepens the sustainability of the land. Let’s talk tomorrow.

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