Can't See the WOOD for the TREES

The second 6 principles tend to emphasize the top-down perspective of permaculture... patterns and relationships that tend to emerge by system self-organization and co-evolution.  

From Observe and Interact - pattern recognition - in the bottom-up perspective of the first 6 principles, we progress to the design process of Design from Patterns to Details.

The spider and its web are the symbolic icon for this principle in Holmgren's book, and I just can't seem to get away from spiders so far this month.  Maybe its the unrelenting heat that's driving them into my basement, creating webs that fill the corner by the water heater, span the corridor past the furnace, and fill the mouths of shelved, empty vases and planters everywhere I look.  They scurry out out from under my perennial flats and through the un-mown slopes of my back garden as I selectively weed out the - um, weeds, actually - as I continue to encourage my lawns to move from grass to moss, groundcovers and planted beds. For all the spiders and the dearth of rain, you'd think there'd be fewer mozzies*

Maybe my garden Deva is trying to get me to stop digging (which I thought was better than planting in this heat!) and start looking around some more.  I've spent so much of the 3 year's I've been here looking at how water moves across this place.  Maybe I really need to look at how the drought moves while it's here...

Why does this blueberry bush wilt and the other 2 in the row not so much?  Why this tomato plant stays turgid through the afternoon and not the others? Why is this astilbe completely fried and the others are, if not lush, at least surviving with the same amount/absence of water?  More attention, I think, to the subtle aspect and orientation of the slopes, which spots get that little extra bit of shade that protects a bit more, which are more exposed to drying winds...

A respectable reason to put down the shovel and watch from the shade for a while...

*Australian slang for Mosquitos


Roadsides are looking good if they are lined
by Queen Anne's lace and chicory.

Female milk snakes lay about
a dozen eggs in July.  They will
hatch in six to eight weeks.

The fragrance of milkweed in bloom
can be almost overwhelming.  Bees,
moths, wasps, butterflies, and even
flies are drawn to its nectar.

Wild leek leaves have faded away.  The white, star-
like flowers are out now, in a cluster on a single stalk.

Honeybee lore: A swarm in July isn't worth a fly.

                                                                                                                                           -Virginia Barlow, The Outside Story