I heard a radio program recently that was discussing zoonotic diseases - those shared between animals and humans - lyme disease being the most recognized among them. The person being interviewed described the factors that limit their spread. The most effective was the natural order attained by having diverse species inhabit a large area together. Predators limit the overpopulation of their prey, allowing a tenuous balance to be achieved The diversity of wildlife on this farm is our most important asset in maintaining ecological stability. It is one thing to hear owls in the night, or observe coyotes stalking groundhogs, but it's another thing to find clear evidence of a predator with its prey. After taking some hay up to the cows, I was remarking to Garth about how you could see all the little mouse tracks swerving this way and that on top of the snow. Our eyes followed the meandering lines until we both noticed one path that was interrupted.
A large bird had caught sight of this rodent, swooped down, carving large streaks with its tail, and then, clutching the mouse with its talons, broke into flight again. I feel so happy to have these relationships playing out around us. It's my hope that our farming practices will do little to quell this activity and that we might live contentedly around the edges of this dynamic order.