36 of 48 people found the following review helpful
Be careful about what you wish for,
This review is from: Micro Eco-Farming: Prospering from Backyard to Small Acreage In Partnership with the Earth (Paperback)
This is a very enchanting book, but I think the reader would be wise to take it with a grain of salt. The author makes a list of vegetables sound so good your mouth starts to water. Food literally comes to life. One farm has world class leafy lettuce. Another has miraculous tomatoes. A third has peppers for every taste. A fourth makes wool as smooth as silk.
On the other hand, some of the stories are fanciful at best. For example, there is the story of the 'good' coyote. A farmer takes pity on a limping coyote and offers it some food. The standard practice in the neighborhood was to shoot coyotes on sight, but this coyote touches the farmer somehow. The coyote mends. Once recovered, the coyote decides the farmer is 'one of the pack' and his chickens are 'his things'. Thus, she identifies the farmer's chickens as off limits and protects them from other coyotes, raccoons, and varmints. I've got chickens and cohabitate with coyotes. The idea of a coyote protecting the farmer's hens was good for a hearty laugh.
Another story concerns the 'good weed'. This story is part of section on letting plants restore soil depleted of essential trace minerals. The idea is that plants can concentrate trace minerals deep in the soil and deposit them on the surface. In this context, we meet the good thistle. The good thistle pulls out trace minerals out of the stony soil, then dies out as the soil returns to health. I had another good laugh with this story. In some ways there is truth in it, but let me tell you about my thistles. They are beautiful. Every year my soil gets better. I haven't noticed them dying out, though. Maybe next year!
Finally, there is the story of the weak plant calling out to nearby insects to end it's suffering. This theme is repeated numerous times. I guess it is the story of the 'good' bad insect. You see, those worms and beetles are not just eating any plant, they are consuming the suffering plant. I'm not going to argue that nature has a way of maintaining balance, but I had to laugh. I guess those squirrels that entirely consumed 3 trees of gorgeous, plump, red organic peaches were simply answering the peach trees cries of distress! I should have known!
If you want to grow your own food, more power to you. Don't be surprised if Mother Nature throws you a few curve balls along the way, though. Don't count on coyotes to protect your chickens, nor thistles to conveniently disappear.
Finally, Ms. Adams never mentions the local banker or tax man, which seems odd. I've never met a farmer that doesn't have something to say about these friendly folks.
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Initial post: Sep 15, 2007 7:32:18 PM PDT
Barbara Berst Adams says:
For those who may be confused, here's some information that might help:
Nothing suggested thistles go away by looking at them. The interviewed researcher/farmer followed a careful procedure the book described to eliminate Canadian thistle, readers are given his website that explains it further, where they can also find his other research presented to the Geneva Conference which was scrutinized by their Scientific Committee of 11 Professors of Medicine at four Universities.
Squirrels are not insects, and the mainstream has long confirmed stressed plants attract pests. Purdue University, Whatcom County Integrated Pest Management, the Arizona Cooperative Extension, Gardeners' Supply Company, The American Rhododendron Society, and many others affirm this. The USDA Forest Service funded Urban Orchard Program's direct quote: "Stressed plants release chemicals into the air that attract pests." ("Pests" means insects or other organisms that damage plants, not furry mammals like squirrels, or the neighbors' kids, who raid ripe fruit which helps spread the seeds.)
There is no story of a "farmer" who "took pity" on a coyote that protects his "chickens." My main concern: Taking the story out of context of the book, leaving out its warning about feeding wild animals, and rewriting it incorrectly online for anyone, including children, to find can be dangerous. The expanded version of the real story is available online. It includes the park ranger who experimented with this coyote and his waterfowl (not land-roaming chickens), PhD professors and wildlife biologists who study coyotes. There are carefully and scientifically performed experiments re-creating even more promising results of wild territorial predators' avoidance and inadvertent protection of various chosen livestock. It's at www.MicroEcoFarming.com, click on "Peace with Predators."
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