Nature and the Small Farm
After brunch and time with family on Easter, my youngest Son and I took off to do a quick overnight backpacking trip into San Mateo Canyon Wilderness. San Mateo Canyon Wilderness is a 40,000 acre roadless area mostly within Riverside County but with limbs touching or reaching into Orange and San Diego Counties also.
In 2013, I published a book on the area titled Santa Ana Mountains History, Habitat and Hikes: On the Slopes of Old Saddleback and Beyond. In the book I describe the Natural and Cultural History of the region in some detail, so I will not do so here (Maybe you all will buy the book). In general the wilderness area is made up of deep canyons whose slopes are covered in chaparral and coastal sage scrub, with riparian forest lining the canyon bottoms.
Now, I consider myself an Ecological Farmer, and I try to follow the laws of nature when carrying out the activities required to grow food, flowers and fiber for my community (Just to be clear, I dont really produce fiber but admire those wh, o do). But on this trip, another role of nature on the farm struck me quite hard. I realized after several years of not entering this wild space, how important wildness on the small farm and for the small farmer, or all farmers for that matter. This short trip proved important for my mind, body and soul. (SOIL, SEEDS, SUNSHINE AND SOUL). Taking a little time to slow down, observe my surroundings and share quality, natural experiences with my son was an opportunity you can't put a price on.
The wild flowers in bloom was a tremendous extra and this particular area is known for its wavy leaf soap plant and wild peonies. Both of which provided inspiration for my farming. Ceonothus, also know as wild lilac, painted stripes and splotches of blue, purple and lavender across the hillsides while sticky monkey flower and Indian paint brush added reds, yellows and oranges to the canvas.