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October 2018 Update

Despite it’s misleading name meaning eight, October in the southern hemisphere is a time between the sping equinox and the summer solstice.

Photo by Jimmy Chang on Unsplash

Freethought Day

October the 12th, is an annual observance known as Freethought day. This is a day for freethinkers to remember the anniversary of the effective end of the Salem witch trials where 25 innocent people died mostly by hanging due to mass hysteria, false accusations and religious extremism.

 

Bridget Bishop hanged as a witch at Salem in 1692. Briggs. Co. / George Eastman House / Getty Images

 

Beltane

A festival called Beltane is celebrated on the 31st of October until sunrise on the 1st of November.
This festival is celebrated to commemorate fertility and growth.
Deciduous trees who have lost their leaves are budding and growing again. Fertile soil will give abundant food and herbs. Nature is at play while the days grow longer and warmer.

 

Photo by Suzanne D. Williams on Unsplash

There are many ways to celebrate Beltane which often include communal bonfires at night and to share the flame for home fires. Maypole dancing is another way to celebrate this solar based festival and committments and promises are made at this time of year.

The planting of a seed into rich soil is an act of magic in itself. It is the beginning of new life and out of the dark earth, it breaks free to grow, express, be, and give seed again.

Fertility is about germinating, sprouting, rising – so while your garden is burgeoning, let your mind be fertile too.

 

Photo by Yuri Efremov on Unsplash

Renew your connection to the force of life on this planet and enhance your dialogue with Mother Nature.
Understanding her, brings out the best solutions to living a wild and happy life.

Without fertility, there is no growth so take some time to meditate on the meaning of this word and see how you can increase the fertility of your life to bring abundance and high spirits.

Photo by Laura Marques on Unsplash

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The Power of Trees

Trees are incredible forms of life on this planet.

I can write pages and pages about them. If you knew what I knew about trees, perhaps you would hug them too now and again. They are essential to our existence and without trees, our planet would be inhabitable. I cannot empahsise enough how we must strive to plant them, whenever we can, and in many places as we can.

 

Just because you don’t have a garden, does not mean you cannot plant a tree.  Enhance public spaces like parks and sidewalks with trees. Choosing an indigenous and water wise species will increase chances of survival and not consume too much water.

Here are some important facts you should know about trees:

1. Trees seed rain

Trees transpire water which form clouds and rain back down. Check out these awesome videos which explain the process.

 

2. Trees increase the fertility of the soil

The leaves that fall off the trees, cover and protect the ground from evaporation. Microorganisms and other small creatures like worms, eat the organic matter and process it into nutritious soil for plants. The oranic matter becomes food for the ground. There are also trees that absorb nitrogen from their air and return it to the soil through their leaf litter and nodes in their roots. If the tree is large enough to prune, the stored nitrogen in the root nodes are released into the soil as the tree balances its roots with its canapy. When deciduous trees lose their leaves in autumn, you can decide how you would like to use them, as they have great fertilizing qualities.

 

You can choose to rake up the leaves, and store them to make leaf mould. Leaf mould is an excellent form of compost, or you can let nature do all the work for you by leaving them on the ground. Fallen leaves have a wonderful purpose, they protect the ground  from extreme cold or heat. Leaves (as mulch) stop water evaporation and when the worms eat them, they turn them into super compost for the soil. This is nature’s cycle of returning nutrients back to the soil so that more life can grow.

3. Trees stabilize the soil

The roots dig deep into the soil to secure the tree and this also protects the soil from soil erosion. Soil erosion occurs when rains fall and top soil is washed away where there are no trees to hold the soil in place. This leaves big gaping holes where it is difficult to grow anything.

 

4. Trees provide shade and regulate temperature.

If you measured the temperature of various man made things like tar roads, concrete, bricks and steel and then compared those temperatures with the tops of trees, you will see a big difference. Trees regulate the temperature. Man made structures like roads and concrete increase the temperature in cities and contribute to global warming. I am sure all of you have experienced the sanctuary of shade underneath a tree on a very hot day.

 

5. Trees help in the maintenance of biodiversity and ecosystem balance.

Trees provide a home to wildlife and increase chances of survival of many species. They provide food and shelter. Where many species live together, a balance is retored and is called an ecosystem. An ecosystem can fall out of balance if a species of life is removed and this threatens the survival of all other life. Biodiversity is key for survival of all species.

 

6. Trees are a resource for fuel and building

Wood from the fallen and dried branches of trees, can be burnt to provide warmth. Burning dried branches also makes coal which can be burnt or used to clean water. It can even clean our teeth! We can make things with wood like furniture, shelter and paper. We must be careful to prune for the trees health, and not cut them down. Destroying a forest for our own needs is selfish when there are better and more sustainable ways of providing for our comforts.

7. Trees store carbon

Do you know about all that carbon in the air that is making our planet hotter and making the sea acidic? Well, it should be in the ground or in trees where it is safe and put to good use. Trees store carbon and return it to the soil by decomposition.

 

The Moral of the Story

Go out there and plant a tree for Arbor month. Plant 10 trees if you can and try stick to indigenous, water wise trees. Let’s fix the grass deserts in our parks and restore the land, climate and wildlife with trees. Plant some fruit or nut trees in your garden and you will be rewarded with delicious food.

Trees are so vital to our survival. We need more of them to fix the damage we have done to this planet.  Plant a tree for Arbor Month.

 

 

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