Resource Development

We had a nice adventure today to the local supermarket where we picked up 4 cardboard bales.

We originally wanted them as weed-barrier mulch-rings for our trees. But now our brains have exploded with possibilites and we want more. Potential uses include:

1. walls for a compost pile (they provide good insulation which helps keep the pile at a higher temperature for faster decomposition; decomposition will be more uniform with walls; the walls are breathable; the walls will add material to the heap as they themselves decay over time.)

2. building– especially as temporary shelters, perhaps for animals. (Andrew at says “I have heard of people building with densely baled cereal boxes. As long as the bales are tight and dry, they will work. The key is making sure the bales are very tight so they do not pose a fire risk.” The ones we found are unfortunately not very tightly packed. I didn’t find any images of buildings from cardboard bales and text references are limited. I wonder why. Strawbales are the rage, but really they only make sense where straw is abundant. Cardboard is everywhere…)

3. weed barrier — garden paths; over sod as the bottom layer of new garden beds (add compost or such on top to plant in)

4. animal bedding

The moral of the story: resources are abundant.

But what does that mean: resources are abundant? Oil is a resource that appears to be finite. So are trees if you cut them down too quickly and so is the air, if it is polluted. And I might find out tomorrow that I can’t have any more beautiful cardboard bales from the local supermarket.

Maybe I can describe my meaning best with a story. Say you have a diverse orchard. One year the apples are so abundant that the family pig is sustained for the entire winter on the crop. The next year, the apples do poorly and there are not even enough left over to make cider. But the prolific peaches keep you slave to the kitchen, canning for winter and then some.

Now imagine, if everyone only grew apple trees (or corn and soybeans as is nearly the case in the USA today) . A poor year for apples means a poor year for everyone. No abundance. But if you and others are growing a great diversity of crops, than there is always abundance of something.

Scarcity holds a grasp on many of our resources today. But look around you. Something is always in abundance.

Here our orchard is just in its infancy- too small to bear fruit. But at least we have cardboard boxes.

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