Wendell E. Berry was honored as the Jefferson Lecturer in 2012. Take a good look at him. If I didn’t know any better I would say he is standing in front of my woodshed.
He’s a sticky man! The words of the honorable Wendell E. Berry oozed down like sweet honey to my soul and after reading them, I felt sticky too.
A sticker explains Mr. Berry, are folks who live most of their natural born days, in the same community, on a farm, or piece of land. Many times spending their entire lives living in the homes they were born in and passed down to within their families for generations. They are stickers. Either by need, choice, or love, they chose to stick, to live, to grow old, and even to die within the same community, and in stark and peculiar contrast of our modern culture of roaming to and fro. And to what benefit? Much it seems according to Mr. Berry. Especially for the land. The sticker knows nearly every inch of his land intimately. Every rock, swale, meadow, and tree of his acreage. It’s seasonal aspects, sun exposure and wind directions. He knows what grows and what does not. He tends, mends, amends, and nurtures that ground so it will flourish, and reward him with the desirable fruits of his labor.
This level of intimate knowledge of ones own landscape is acquired over time. Knowledge of the soils complexity and fertility teaches us what to plant, to till, to let lay fallow. This knowledge is the precious possession of the sticker. But as we know lands are often hurriedly sold, passing from owner to owner in shorter spans of time, and with them the intimate knowledge of their fruitfulness and beauty.
We live on just a few acres. It’s not an estate. And clearly not the kind of family farm where Wendell E. Berry resides in Kentucky. But we’ve stuck here some 30 years. I know every inch of its small yet diverse character, it’s orientation to the sun, each tall tree, the layered under-story, the differing soils, the lower marsh. I’ve cursed it at times but mostly loved it as one with a Berry like love for conservation, agriculture and peaceableness. I don’t know who will live here after us. Who will continue to nurture our little homestead in the next generation and see the beauty in it. I just hope they’re stickers.
P.S I have two awesome links for you! Over the years my local extension office has been a wonderful resource in all areas of management for our small acreage and are available to help anyone on what ever size piece of earth you call home.
This one is amazing too, and a bit over my head in navigating I must admit. But if you own or run a farm, ranch or vineyard. This puppy for the technically able would be an awesome tool to have in the shed.
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