Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Practice What You Preach

I believe in a few things very strongly. I don't like discussing them much, debating, or arguing to convince others of my beliefs - but i do like to teach by example and practice what i preach. This blog is the largest 'voice' of my convictions, and i hope that the tips and suggestions i write here will inspire others to delve more deeply into a life of sustainability. I think i've shown how easy it is to incorporate simple things and practices into our lives  to become more responsible human-animals on this planet of limited resources.

One of the practices and tools that i feel good about is the way i approach the maintenance of my lawn. I see my lawn as a green (sometimes) space that fills the areas between my vegetable gardens, is a place for toads and anoles to nestle in,  puppies to pounce through, and is a luxury to be enjoyed, but not necessarily pampered. If there's a drought, my lawn dies. I don't irrigate it, and save any sprinkling or captured rain water for my food crops and occasional thirst quenching of the native perennial beds. I help to promote the green of the lawn by leaving the 'grass' as tall as i can stand in the Summer (which shades the roots and encourages water thrift), and by scattering winter rye in the fall for Winter green coverage. My front lawn is mostly native horseherb, a low growing weedy thing that is quite lovely with little yellow flowers on occasion. There is also evil bermuda grass that encroaches on all my beds, and a few spatterings of St. Augustine here and there. I let the rye grass seed and get tall and seedy and unruly in the Spring (much to my neighbors' chagrine i'm sure) so that it can reseed itself for the next Fall. We've been lucky to have a fairly wet spring and the lawn is still green. Once the heat turned up (it's been in the high 90s, low 100s for the last few weeks) i stopped mowing. It got a little insanely tall, but it was still green - with an unfortunate side affect of promoting mosquito life to propagate and consume me. The last week and nearby hurricane have brought quite a bit of rain, however: time to mow. Even the horseherb was mounding at its peak height. My itching ankles, and my very short puppy appreciate the reduced lawn matter. I leave the cuttings on the ground to help shade the roots now exposed to the hot Texas sun, and to replace the nutrients stored in the leaves back to the soil.

And when i say mow - i mean mow the old fashioned way. No gasoline is used. I am not addicted to oil (or try hard not to be - my car has been used more as a sun-drier than a transporter of late) and only my own energy is expended in the process. I have a used reel type mower that i got locally - it can't quite defeat the highest weeds or navigate tight corners, so for those areas i use a rechargeable battery powered weed eater.  We've had it almost two years and both batteries are still working great, and are recyclable when they do hit the dust.

 I enjoy getting out there and sweating all over the place: burning calories while beautifying my yard, feeding the soil, saving gasoline, promoting a healthy environment for native critters to thrive, and teaching by the example of my own actions.

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