The Spider and the Fly

Nan Nan would always recite this poem to everyone. I find it quite fitting that this spider and fly are living their best lives on this peachy colored rose.

“Will you walk into my parlor?” said the spider to the fly;
“‘Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you may spy.
The way into my parlor is up a winding stair,
And I have many curious things to show when you are there.”
“Oh no, no,” said the little fly; “to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair can ne’er come down again.”

“I’m sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high.
Well you rest upon my little bed?” said the spider to the fly.
“There are pretty curtains drawn around; the sheets are fine and thin,
And if you like to rest a while, I’ll snugly tuck you in!”
“Oh no, no,” said the little fly, “for I’ve often heard it said,
They never, never wake again who sleep upon your bed!”

Said the cunning spider to the fly: “Dear friend, what can I do
To prove the warm affection I’ve always felt for you?
I have within my pantry good store of all that’s nice;
I’m sure you’re very welcome – will you please to take a slice?”
“Oh no, no,” said the little fly; “kind sir, that cannot be:
I’ve heard what’s in your pantry, and I do not wish to see!”

“Sweet creature!” said the spider, “you’re witty and you’re wise;
How handsome are your gauzy wings; how brilliant are your eyes!
I have a little looking-glass upon my parlor shelf;
If you’d step in one moment, dear, you shall behold yourself.”
“I thank you, gentle sir,” she said, “for what you’re pleased to say,
And, bidding you good morning now, I’ll call another day.”

The spider turned him round about, and went into his den,
For well he knew the silly fly would soon come back again:
So he wove a subtle web in a little corner sly,
And set his table ready to dine upon the fly;
Then came out to his door again and merrily did sing:
“Come hither, hither, pretty fly, with pearl and silver wing;
Your robes are green and purple; there’s a crest upon your head;
Your eyes are like diamond bright, but mine are dull as lead!”

Alas, alas! how very soon this silly little fly,
Hearing his wily, flattering words, came slowly flitting by;
With buzzing wings she hung aloft, then near and nearer grew,
Thinking only of her brilliant eyes and green and purple hue,
Thinking only of her crested head. Poor, foolish thing! at last
Up jumped the cunning spider, and fiercely held her fast;
He dragged her up his winding stair, into the dismal den –
Within his little parlor – but she ne’er came out again!

And now, dear little children, who may this story read,
To idle, silly flattering words I pray you ne’er give heed;
Unto an evil counselor close heart and ear and eye,
And take a lesson from this tale of the spider and the fly.

Source: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/the-spider-and-the-fly-by-mary-howitt

Regenerative Agriculture

I am attending a free online summit called Eat4Earth. The interviews are sent to my email. I play a couple from my phone each day.

After just a couple days, Jason and I are inspired! We are learning so much about food, farming, and healing the planet. Here is a quick synopsis:

Regenerative Agriculture focuses on a healthy soil food web. By adding biology, the dirt has life and becomes soil.

Fungi and bacteria grow around the roots of plants. Those fungi and bacteria get carbohydrate carbon cakes from the plant. In return, the bacteria and fungi reach out into the ground collecting and storing nutrients for the plant. It’s a plant pantry!

Predators (worms, protozoa, nematodes, microarthropods and macroarthropods) eat from the pantry making it bioavailable to the plant.

This results in plants with more nutrient content, that are healthier and more resistant to pests and disease, while sequestering carbon from our atmosphere and retaining more water in the ground and atmosphere. Everybody wins when you work with the bounty that nature provides!

Different plants like different ratios of bacteria to fungi. Weeds grow in bacteria dominated ground. On grasslands, the ratio of bacteria to fungi should be around 50/50. In the forest, there’s even more fungi! A couple kinds of plants do not like fungi at all- brassicas like broccoli and cabbage.

We are so excited by all we are learning. We are also excited that the universe has already put some of these solutions on our path. The Mycorrhizal fungi that many speakers talked about is on its way here from High Country Gardens; when I ordered it, I didn’t even know what it was! We plan to inoculate some pollinator friendly ground cover plants with the fungi.

We paid the local worm farm a visit and brought home compost and worm castings for the lawn we are going to grow. We ordered a native grass seed called blue Gramma. Compost is full of nutrients but we still need biology to make them plant available. Luckily I saw some volunteer worms in the yard.

Register and listen to the Eat4Earth summit here and let’s discuss mycorrhizal fungi!

Worm box in a square foot garden

The documentary Kiss the Ground focuses on industrial agriculture. Livestock are separate from crops. Crops are not biodiverse. The dirt is torn up every year, releasing carbon into the atmosphere and leaving the ground suceptible to erosion and runoff. Have we learned anything since the dust bowl days?

Then fertilizers and pesticides are added. Chemicals mask depleted soils. We are building a tolerance to these chemicals and using more and more on our food each year.

Kiss the Ground does a great job of illustrating how rejoining hooves animals and their pasture are a key to maintaining balance and biodiversity. Cows and goats are walking microbe factories!

It also shows the importance of sequestering carbon from the atmosphere, through plants, into the earth. A byproduct of which is oxygen. This system not only takes carbon from the atmosphere, but also holds water- literally! You never till the ground thus preserving the magnificent structure of the soil. How nice for the biology (and my back.)

Worm pooping

We also watched the documentary Seaspiracy. It shows how the fishing industry is ignoring it’s negative impact on ocean life while playing up the consumer plastics issue. The majority of ocean trash is not straws– it’s fishing equipment and the majority of destruction is caused by industry practices like bycatch, trawling or overfishing. Solution? Maybe eat less fish.