John Paul's Ranch - Punta Gorda - 9-18-2019
September 30, 2019
REPORT FROM THE ROAD - OUT IN THE RANCHLANDS: Much of the day Wednesday was spent with friends exploring my friend John Paul's 4,000-acre ranch near Punta Gorda. This is what I call one of my "BOTANICAL LAND EVALUATIONS." I didn't realize that we would spend so much time there and see so many diverse acres. With Eliezer at the wheel and my buddy Bobaba in the back seat, we drove all about in a large Honda atv. I am beginning a plant inventory on this property. Some of the highlights for me were:
- Seeing blooming PINE LILIES.
- Discovering a huge patch of LEMON BACOPA near an area where we fed a couple of horses.
- Harvesting bunches of SMARTWEED, Persicaria species, that I will make into a wild hot sauce.
- And seeing a few hundred LOW PINEBARREN MILKWORTS, Polygala ramosa.
Thanks John, for such an extensive walk-about! John is one of the wisest ranchers anywhere. Modern ranching systems are harmful in many ways and have leaps and bounds to progress to become more sustainable, then more importantly, regeneratively and in balance with a healing environment. John tries to tackle some of these issues.
A SIDE NOTE ABOUT SPRAWL: With the ever-multiplying numbers of humans on the planet I believe that, for the most part, food production systems that heal the Earth will be seriously addressed only after emergencies force such actions. I may seem negative, but I look around me and see tens of thousands of new homes being constructed just west of me in eastern Sarasota County and wonder how many resources will be taken from the land far and wide and shipped to those new gated communities made up mostly of well-to-do families. Many of these new gated communities were large farms and ranches just five or ten years ago. I see online that many thousands of the new homes just 40 miles east of me are priced above one million dollars each. This march eastward from the coast here on the west coast of Florida is happening in similar ways world-wide. From ancient forest, flatwoods and scrubland to timbered forest. From timbered forest to ranchland. From ranchland to farmland. From farmland to housing developments. From housing developments to strip malls. To me it is disgusting and heart-breaking.
With John Paul the rancher, I find a warm-hearted person who openly discusses issues of water usage, environmental pollution, etc. John has worked in the past as president of Calusa Riverkeeper which has been on the front line of protecting the river to the south of me. Experimenting and creating proven examples of systems of healthier agriculture is a key to human survival and I sure look forward to these systems being promoted. John's new building is run by solar power. His new cutting-edge sub-irrigation system saves something like 45% water useage, he distills native beautyberry leaves to create natural insect sprays, and he dives into many other progressive things. Still, there is so much to be figuered out. No modern humans have ever come close to the beautiful self-sustaining syytem that is THE FOREST OR OTHER WILD HABITAT GENTLY WILDCRAFTED FROM that ALL of your ancestors relied upon for millennia.
I so look forward to camping out there back by that huge pond way out on John's ranch and will begin to compile a photo album of the plants on the land this afternoon. THANKS AGAIN JOHN!
PHOTO: Fellow plant explorers (left to right) Jamie, John Paul, Bobaba, Rich, and Eliezer.