When I sat down to journal about my vision and goals last year, I organized my thoughts into four different categories: Mind, Body, Soul, and Earth. The Earth category includes any and everything I can do to give back to the universe. I feel it is very important to give back.
Over the years, I've found many ways to give back. Mostly it's been through volunteering my time or giving financially. But, this year I'm taking a different approach. I am working hard to give back to the earth.
My home sits on two lots and the yard is quite large. When I first moved in 8 years ago, I did what most people do when they buy a home. I started taking care of my precious green lawn. The house came with a really nice sprinkler system. And, I hired someone to come each week to maintain and care for this lawn. Over time, I started to notice a few trends.
First came to constant need to seed, fertilize and water the beast. As I watched patches die, I wondered what I was doing wrong. I was told to water more. This immediately bothered me because I felt like I was already using too much water. Add to that, I was learning more about Florida's fresh water challenges as we are seeing sea level rise around the coastal areas.
A few years ago I decided to stop watering and let nature take it's course. The weekly lawn service was reduced to just cutting what grass managed to grow. Here's what happened. Half my yard turned into dirt and mud during the rainy season. The other half turned into mostly weeds.
Then something magical happened. New neighbors moved in beside me and I watched as they slowly ripped out their lawn and turned their back yard into the most beautiful butterfly garden. No grass. Just gorgeous plants, shrubs, trees and natural walk ways. I loved it so much I started spending several evenings just sitting with them in the garden and enjoying wine. Not only was it beautiful, it took less water and maintenance than a lawn. Many of the plants they used are drought tolerant. Their garden also gave back to nature, feeding the butterflies, bees and other beneficial critters.
So this year I'm working hard to turn my back yard into something that gives back to Mother Earth instead of just taking her resources. The project is a slow one because I'm doing all the work myself and I have a limited budget. But, it is so rewarding. If you are interested in what has happened so far, I've shared some highlights in my most recent journaling video below.