When I sum up my philosophy of this life with acreage as well as having a garden, my invented and hybridized word for what we do is this one: "Edenized," meaning returning the earth to an ideal state of looking and behaving something like the biblical Garden of Eden.
Whether you are an avowed atheist or a believer of any faith, I think everyone can probably get behind the general idea of being a good steward and making each place you touch the absolute best it can be.
The idea of a Garden of Eden has become a symbolic representation of a place where nature was perfectly balanced with the needs of all who lived within it, and where everything coexisted in harmony. To me it means cultivating the land you need while also leaving some uncultivated land in its best but also most natural state, for the creatures who were here before you came and will continue to inhabit the land long after you're gone.
If there ever truly was a Garden of Eden, it happened long before mankind showed up en masse and took over. But I believe the story is important (whether you believe it in reality or not) because it puts forth as good the idea of letting nature just be nature and seeing that as a kind of perfection, in and of itself.
To that end, when this house was built 11 years before we moved here, the top of the hill was scraped off in order to build on level ground. But not all the land that was leveled was built on. There is a large area which our back yard overlooks where nothing happened except our leach field was run across it, but the scars left from scraping the hill are still apparent.
If you walk around on it, the ground gradually gets more fertile as the slope of the hill increases, while there is an almost scorched quality to what's flat. That, of course, is because of topsoil. The place where the land literally had its skin scraped off is incapable of growing very much.
I recently got the idea of using the yard waste plus waste shavings and poop from the chicken coop and distributing it along the hilltop -- along with some wildflower seeds. The fecal matter and shavings should provide a little nutrition and protection, and with just a bit more rain (which we are supposed to get next week) it might be possible to get a first generation of flowers started here.
From now on I intend to scatter the shavings and chicken poo, along with lawn clippings and anything else that will biodegrade nicely out there, in order to start building back topsoil that was lost 11 years ago and never replaced.
No reason The Garden of Eden shouldn't be here, too. Gonna Edenize this hilltop.