Monday, January 14, 2013

Food Not Lawns

One of the first things we did when we moved here was to take out the water-sucking front lawn.  Out here in the country, running any water means using a precious (and dwindling) resource, and also running your well, which costs you money.  So you'd better love what you're watering, because you're paying for it. 

Since the huge front lawn not only wasn't giving us anything back in terms of food, but also requiring water PLUS going out when it's 90 degrees to mow and edge, we decided the big front lawn had to go. So we stopped watering it.
We are planting shrubs. These are not giant gopher holes.  

So here we are now, in January, with the lawn good and dead, and we have begun to fill in the former lawn space with some lovely, drought-tolerant plants, shrubs and trees.  We have lots of rosemary and lavender, and also some Torch Flowers, Gold Coin, Santolina (medicinal in addition to being a lovely landscape plant), ceanothus, a China Berry tree, and some other native stuff.  

We bought all these at the local nursery.

So we're at that same nursery this last weekend, buying vines and talking to the lady there about our neighborhood, which she's quite familiar with.  We're discussing the house that's kitty-corner from us, which was foreclosed on and where everything, trees included, died when the bank stopped watering.  Call it another casualty of the Great Recession.

But then the lady (who obviously doesn't know which house is ours) quips, "And what about the house across the street from the foreclosure?  Those people have totally killed their lawn!  I don't believe it!  Why would anyone do THAT?"

Ahem. Yes, I'm sure you guessed it.  We are "those people."

I relayed this to her and she pretty much died of embarrassment right on the spot.  But it does lead one to wonder:  Are people still so behind the curve they believe watering a half-acre of turf is somehow a wise thing to do, in an area where the water table is dropping?   

While it is hard to be considered "those people," conservationists have to be willing to stick to their guns and realize they may be out in the lead in terms of forward thinking, and that some people still haven't understood the reasons behind conservation of water and other resources, and the urgency of getting on with it. 

Like the old saying goes:  When you're two steps ahead of the crowd, they'll call you a crackpot.  When you're one step ahead of the crowd, they'll call you a genius.


The Neighborhood Crackpots.

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