This second article focusses on the more practical applications of Biodynamics stemming from the question: - what are some of the outstanding techniques or ways you use biodynamics on your ranch/property?
1. We make our own compost...and compost 'tea bags'
Using cow or sheep manure, hay, fresh water sourced from the farm, and simple infrastructure and machinery, we make our own compost. The compost produced is used in the vegetable garden and also broadcast onto pastures. We make 'tea bags' (large hessian sack filled with compost) to leave in stock water troughs. The livestock benefit from the diluted compost going through their digestive system and in doing so help distribute the preparations over the landscape when they are moving through those fields. This is especially helpful in areas where we can't apply compost or preparation sprays because of the terrain or steep slopes.
2. Preparations sprays...Horns, Quartz, lactating cows...and the magic of summer burials
We make our own Horn Manure 500, Horn Manure Concentrate or Cow Pat Pit (CPP) and an amazing atmospheric preparation, Horn Silica. All cycles and natural processes that these preparations influence are at one with, and relate to, Nature and the whole farm. Sourcing all ingredients from our farm, such as manure from lactating cows, ensures the integrity of the microbes and energetics present in the ingredients, and ensures these 'magical preparations' are well adapted to the local environment, flora and fauna. The atmospheric preparation, Horn Silica, is also made on our farm using quartz sourced from our paddocks and buried over summer in cow horns. This maintains the closed loop resource system, keeps costs down and strengthens the intention and focus of on-farm management.
Peppering is the practice of spreading the ash of a particular plant or animal that we wish to move out of a specific area or part of the landscape, much like a ritual with good intentions. The mature animal or plant is burned on the day before, day of, or day after the full moon. The ash is then mixed with water and sprayed throughout the area we wish to remove the species from. The intention whilst spreading the ash is not to hurt or harm the plant or animal, simply that we wish to move them on from that area. Again, working respectfully with nature, this creates a clear demarcation between where we are asking them to live and the area we wish them to moveaway from.
We do a brown snake pepper two in every three years, and in the last 8 years there has only been one occasion where we have seen a brown snake around our homestead and garden. Given brown snakes aggressive and fatally venomous nature, we are very pleased with this result considering the sightings were almost on a weekly basis!
A perhaps subtler Biodynamic practice, and one that is not necessarily only found in Biodynamics, is that of blessings. Blessings are the conscious acknowledgement of the many facets of the environment, whether it be a water course, mob of cattle, cluster of trees, or even infrastructure such as stock yards. It involves a ‘conversation’ with that particular part of nature, big or small, animal, plant or mineral, on your farm, and creating an awareness of its’ intelligence and role in the landscape. Nature also includes many unseen and often forgotten realms, such as elemental and nature spirits, that play vital parts in the function and being of nature. Most importantly blessings are the acknowledgement of our gratitude for that particular part of nature and our desire to work in partnership and collaboratively with all aspects of the environment.
Biodynamics is also a way of thinking. The relationship that one fosters with the landscape and its' inhabitants and realms creates a unique opportunity to commune with the landscape and get in touch and work with the ecology of the farm. One tends to see all the resources, plants, animals etc in a different light when they are seen as an integral and essential part of nature within that environment. My attitude to animal behaviour, plant growth habits, soil health, and the frequency and impact of weather patterns on our property, is of a much more accepting nature now than it was when I was a ‘conventional’ farmer. This creates an understanding and acceptance of the way things are and not as I think they ought to be, which allays one’s innate human propensity to want to control everything ‘under management’. We as humans, find our place in this ecological system, and accept a responsibility of the health of all living creatures within the bounds of our farm.
If you’d like to learn more about biodynamics or simply grow your iunderstanding of the land around you, then sign up for out two upcoming workshops at Hanaminno, Boorowa. The first is our Introduction to Biodynamics on 18 May, followed the next day by an Introduction to Projective Geometry with Bronwyn Bellemore.
If you would like to know more please contact me at email@example.com