Down in the pasture I've been noticing a a carpet of green and a lot of holes in the ground which have both taken over the uncultivated space at the bottom of our hill.
The greens, of course, are natural grasses and shrubs, a.k.a. weeds, which grow enthusiastically on our property with a tenacity and success that I have yet to match with the trees and vines I plant down there. They're not much of a worry to me, except where they are growing around my berry and grape vines and trees.
Not willing to apply chemical sprays, I've spent the better part of two days hand weeding around the bases of the trees and shrubs, and have the bleeding arms to prove it. Berries are thorny and very well-defended plants, even when you are trying to help them by removing competitive plants around their bases.
The holes are a bit of a mystery to me, except for the largest ones which are from ground squirrels. There are small ones and medium ones, which could host anything from tarantulas to snakes to field mice.
While the greenery is a simple fix -- pull what's competing with the plants for nutrients and leave the rest -- the holes are a dilemma, because if we are going to have livestock, the holes will have to go. They are just too much of a hazard to sheep, who could injure or even break a leg by stepping into one.
But one of the basic cornerstones of permaculture is leaving a certain amount of your property to nature and her critters, to do with what they please (within reason). And so I'd prefer to leave the bottom of the pasture to the hole-dwellers, if possible.
This will take some creative fence design, but I think having a balance of cultivated property and wild property is worth it. As for how to do it, I'm not sure yet...but in the hours I will be spending down in the pasture weeding, perhaps that will give me more than enough time to think about it.
Of course with enough holes and enough greens, I guess I could always open a permacultural golf course, and with the general pathetic-ness of my golf game, the hole-dwellers are probably safe.