Happy Earth Day!

Though I’ve truly been going green for some time now, today being Earth Day made me really want to focus on doing as much as I could. Our family decided to go vegan for a day, and we really enjoyed it. Aside from the horrors of slaughterhouses and living conditions for livestock and poultry, livestock are responsible for a huge percentage of greenhouse-gas emissions, and add to it that the acreage required for livestock has contributed to the mass deforestation of rain forests. So… we went vegan today. I can’t say we’re ready to not eat meat at all, but I know that we’ll have more all veggie days in our future (to this plan a friend called out, “Plant killer!”). I also have been trying to purchase more local and humanely raised meat in the meantime. I’m there in principle, just not yet there in financial commitment, since we live on a budget and price often dictates what we can do. So far we’re there in… eggs.

Back to Earth Day. This morning, Nolan was particular wonderful about making sure no unnecessary light was left on, and if natural light sufficed, he wanted everyone to not turn on a light at all. I made sure to not waste any water, and though I had to water my baby plants in my garden, I did so in the early morning hours to minimize immediate evaporation.

My neighbor Jan and I visited a plant nursery, and I picked out two Crossvines, Texas native plants with tubular flowers that provide food for hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees. They are now happily twining up our cedar posts by our back porch. I think that they will really be spectacular when they take off. I also managed to get more plants planted from the stock of baby plants that have been waiting for me to prepare the next bed. This includes herbs, which means that not only will I have fewer herbs to purchase (ouch, expensive), but I won’t be contributing to excess packaging cluttering our landfills.

From the nursery, we headed down to Lady Bird Lake (Town Lake) to participate in a lake clean-up with Keep Austin Beautiful and the National Wildlife Federation. We even made it on News 8 Austin — yep, that was me in pigtails, a garden hat, and gloves pulling trash from among the shore plants. It was fun, and we rewarded ourselves with a bubble drink from Coco’s.

Earth Day 2009 Austin 1

Earth Day 2009 Austin 2Earth Day 2009I would have been happy to have been able to ride my bike or a bus to where I needed to go today, but we did have to travel across town. At least Jan and I went in the hybrid!

Back at home, we made progress on the pond, too. We had to hire some men to help us dig our trench, as Michael’s knee has been really bad with all digging through rock, and today the trench was completed. So Michael’s now working on the next step for the pond. The men also dug out big roots from our tree stump, and so this evening we were able to rip the stump out of the ground via our mini-van and a long rope. It turns out the old hackberry has become a haven for all sorts of bugs, including this strange, large creature, an Eyed Click Beetle.

Strange bug in tree stumpWe plan to move the stump to our bird habitat in the backyard (or at least the stump in parts for easier moving). Also, I already have a tree to plant in its place (one that also provides berries for the birdies).

The rest of the day was spent getting plants planted. The only thing that I didn’t get to do was order my composter, but that was due to money. I hope to get it soon. We have to get a tumbler-kind because there’s no way we’d be able to keep the dogs out of any homemade composter. They at least help us mulch by chewing up any stick or root lying around the yard.

Oh how the garden grows

Spring is at last here, and we are back in the yard. It took a few days to get all the weeds out of the butterfly garden. I had great fun going shopping for plants, and once again I only managed to fill half the garden. Plus I still have many more beds to prepare. So much to do! But all the family has been helping some, even our young puppy Grover.



I look forward to all these plants getting big! The butterflies are already fluttering by from time to time. I’ve found earthworms, snakes, centipedes, and spiders — such a change from the beginning of this garden, when we were working with scorched, unhealthy soil. The wildlife cometh!