A Better Sense of Place

This is a story of diversifying the species in a yard in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I wanted to undo some of the damage that was done by replacing native species with exotic species. Few birds, few butterflies, constant maintenance (weeding, mowing, watering), complete disregard of the environmental uniqueness of place. I figured I could do better.

Land sculpting

This weekend, I wanted to just go through everything again and pull out large clumps of grass roots. As I was doing it, I remembered I had wanted to reform the ground a bit so that the very back brick area doesn't get swamped with water whenever it rains a lot. So I started digging a slight depression and a levee of sorts. It's hard to tell which way the water will drain, but it's looking kinda cool now. I made a little ridge and put the stepping stones on it. I guess I'll wait for the dirt to settle a bit. Hopefully, it'll rain at some point, too. Then I might just be ready for sowing next month. I haven't decided exactly when I want to. Perhaps mid-month.

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Continued hoeing

I finished hoeing all the areas I was planning to on Friday. Today, I moved the bricks from the firepit area and then went back and re-hoed everything to mix up more of the roots to try to dry them out. I'm wondering how effective this method is going to be. I know some roots will remain viable. Then there are the dormant seeds hanging around.

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My brand new hoe

My hoe came in earlier this week. Today, I got to use it. I hoed the chicken yard and a good bit of the future wetland. This was not easy in 95°F, high-humidity weather. The hoe was super sharp and was working out really well, but I hit some gravel or something at various points. The edge now has some dents. I'll need to buy a file.

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Another scalping

I decided to scalp the future wetland fringe area again. Some of the grass was starting to shoot up again.

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Scalping with a mower

Today was the day to scalp some turf grass in preparation of my hoeing next month (or so), which I'll be doing instead of tilling. I dropped the mower and went at it. I went slowly to give grasshoppers a chance to hop away. Then I moved the stepping stones to what may or may not be their final locations. I just placed them on top of the ground without digging. I think I'll level a couple of them later on when I decide it's good.

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Another backyard "before" pic

I forgot to take one from this angle.

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Backyard "before" pics

I figured I should take some "before" pictures. Here they are.

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Sketch upgrade

I printed out a better scaled drawing of the yard and copied my previous plan onto it.

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Less talk, more action

It was time to move beyond ideas. I whipped out a notebook and made a quick sketch of what I've been considering for a while now.

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