We’re going to start a prairie! How cool is that?
We’re on a hilltop overlooking the Arkansas River valley. Deer, bison and prairie dogs used to live here. Now it’s home to neatly carved bermudagrass monocultures, fenced off and sprayed twice a year to fight back the prairie grasses and woodlands.
As a child I remember running through the grasses after my grandfather’s boots — hanging on his every word as he pointed out the indentions where deer slept overnight. His horses and cattle kept those bullying red cedars trimmed down nicely.
After his death in 2007, this land fell to me. My husband and I both moved to this hill in 2009 — lifelong city dwellers chasing the corporate paycheck of big oil most of our adult lives. We’ve adapted nicely to this “country style” life and don’t know how we ever used to live in town.
We’ve learned that all sorts of beautiful plants will spring up towards the sun if we just let them. We don’t poison. We don’t use chemicals. And we’re teaching ourselves which plants are the friendlies and which ones need to be hand removed.
We’ve found three stretches of native buffalo grass still thriving. The blue grama grasses will wave hello if we don’t mow them down. Why spend hot summer days mowing down non-native grass, when we can encourage lovely native grasses to take over? With their long tap roots, the natives can survive even the most brutal Oklahoma droughts.
We really don’t know what we’re doing, but we’re learning. Hopefully we’ll find help here from other like-minded souls — surely you’re out there!