|The Feeding of the Multitude, by Norma Boeckler|
Sassy and I had our morning walk and the sky was overcast. Mrs. Ichabod and I went out later in the Icha-boat, and we returned in a downpour. The rain has continued in the afternoon, often with such force that all the rain-barrels and buckets are full again.
One seed can, a zinc garbage can, was left open yesterday and filled with rain early. Yes, I was the one. I poured the seed over the platform feeder so the water would drain off a bit. Soon a baby squirrel was eating his sunflower seed soup with great energy. I did not warn him away this time.
Lenski or Luther pointed out that the fragments were gathered into baskets to show that nothing should be wasted or taken for granted when God gives in abundance.
Squirrels, doves, and sparrows will gladly work through the leftovers to take care of their needs. We can see that divine management system all the way down to the microbe level. I try to get that across to Creation gardeners and those wanting to abandon expensive and bad growing methods.
Today our Army Ranger landscaper and his grandson dropped off four enormous bags of soggy leaves. Autumn has begun. Those leaves will cover the cardboard layer in the new gardening areas.
Before garbage trucks and green bags filled with organic treasure, God created a system to capture the useful chemicals in the top layer of the soil, normally the first foot of soil. In the Great Plains, that may be several feet of topsoil, created the same way but with prairie grass and millions of bison.
Fungi, bacteria, nematodes, and protozoa break apart the vegetation and decompose the dead animals. These carefully engineered microbes swap chemicals by their mutual balancing act, and higher level creatures continue the same.
As I was explaining to Mrs. Ichabod, the earthworms are giants compared to the microbes, and yet they cannot digest on their own. They take in food for bacteria to break down and help with a little gizzard to grind the food and hard stuff. The bacteria benefit the earthworms, which donate nitrogen products and Caltrate to the soil, in the form of kidney excretions, casts (manure), and calcium carbonate. The earthworms love sweet, calcium carbonate fortified soil, and they manufacture it, which makes most crops more productive and helps break down chemicals more easily.
Rains and animal byproducts add to the nitrogen and other useful chemicals in the soil. Birds not only plant their favorite foods - they leave some fertilizer in the soil with the seed.
Those four bags of leaves are more than soggy masses to hold the cardboard down. They will suppress weeds (and also harbor some) but they will ultimately become part of the soil. Chemical gardeners say, "Their NPK rating is 1-1-1 at best. Leaves are mostly carbon. What a waste of time!"
The Creating Word determined - at the beginning - that the ocean of life in topsoil would not only gently mix those leaves into the soil, over time, but also increase in population with added food and hold those essential chemicals in the top foot of soil. The biomass in topsoil includes:
- Animal excretions
- Dead plant materials
- Beetles and grubs
- Sowbugs and pillbugs, and
- Many more living and dead creatures.
- Birds will flip and probe the leaves to find the creatures that move the leaves and pounce on them.
- Earthworms and other creatures will reach up from below to pull down cardboard and recycle the leaves.
- Fungi will pull apart the more complex chemicals and bacteria will work on the simpler formulae.
- Beneficial insects will overwinter in the leaf little and reward our efforts next year.
- Spiders will find interesting places to cast their nets for themselves and their young.