Kicking it Up a Notch

| June 19, 2013

Because it’s such a hot button issue, you may not have even heard that the rules are back in force regarding watering restrictions on those beautiful green lawns of ours. It’s an annual event now, so put it on the calendar because it’s not going away anytime soon, and heaven help us if we actually have a water surplus in the future. Texas seems to be the kind of state that uses what its got, regardless of how much is actually there, or the consequences. It’s a lot like our Governor deciding it’s time to lower taxes since he now has some cash flow. Exactly the wrong way to think – and definitely not a true Republican (R) way of thinking.

I never “had” a house until I met my lovely wife, and her yard was “lacking.” Maybe it’s a guy thing, but I took it on myself to make … shall we say, “improvements.” Ten years ago that meant grass, green lush grass. And so it went. A pallet here and a pallet there over a couple of years, and the sticker patch was eventually replaced with green, thirsty green, grass.

As we began to get more creative with our lawnscape, and less “suburban” in appearance, we also began to have a heightened awareness for all the time it took to water, and all the water it took all the time. If you fly fish in Texas, you know the hottest months are pretty good for freshwater action. Now, I would rather be fishing than watering the yard, wouldn’t you?

So we began to chip away at the grass with new beds of native species, rocks and other ornaments that added interest and reduced water consumption. You may recall, it all reached a crescendo a year ago when we were awarded “Denton Yard of the Month.” Then someone stole the sign after a few days, and bruised my ego. Somewhere there’s a picture of us with that sign taken a few hours before it disappeared.

When I came to North Texas in the fall of 1980, after just missing the record breaking summer of 1980, I would never have imagined that a scant 33 years later North Texas supports cactus, and other plants that were once one zone further south. This is our world in the here-and-now though. The trend is toward warming, the global kind, and the numbers don’t lie. I don’t come down on the side of man-caused global warming, that’s just so presumptuous. Maybe it is manmade, but science requires proof, cause and effect.

What’s your yard comprised of? Is there a way to cut back on watering and improve your landscape at the same time? If you are a big green chemically treated lawn person, how does that jibe with our new climate and the changing Texas map?

Water Wednesday could occasionally cause you to take a closer look at your daily existence, and we’re not here to come off as preachy or to guilt you into changing your watery ways. That’s not how Texas operates, and at my core I guess I’m a Texan. It’s just past time to take a look at how we, as participants in one of the grandest sports that uses water, deal with water once we are out of nature and back home. Gone are the years of surplus. Here are the days when I hear people mumble, “I hate to say it, but we could sure use a hurricane.” Really?

Instead of wishing for more water, from God knows where, it may be time to think about using much less water for your yard. Think about xeriscaping and capturing water runoff from your roof to use for your watering needs. We currently salvage 110 gallons of water off our roof, and if it were up to me we would do about five times that much. These things take time though …

NOTE – I am finishing this up today from Port O’Connor, Texas, today, where the fly fishing with Scott Sommerlatte this morning was fantastic. Imagine what it will be like once even more fresh water is cut off from the bay system (by diverting to new reservoirs to water the population explosion), with the balance becoming even more perilous. I will have photographs of the yard next week to show you how reasonable a xeriscape (not completely xeriscape but going that way) yard looks.

Today’s fishing was off the charts for me, with more shots at redfish (and more caught) in the skinny than anywhere I have ever fished in Texas. Honey, pack up the plantation, we’re going to Port O.

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Category: Causes, Life Observed, Science and Environmental

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I write. I photograph. I fish, and I live.

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