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Small Stuff #61: Planting a Harvest March 9, 2010

Posted by dianehuhn in Big Fun on the Bayou, Coastal Restoration, Friends.
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Small stuff that I am grateful for today: Planting all 7,000 spartina plants!

Bonus: Playing at the beach after a hard days’ work!

For more pictures of our adventures, click here.

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Small Stuff #59: Young and Talented March 7, 2010

Posted by dianehuhn in Big Fun on the Bayou, Coastal Restoration.
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Small stuff that I am grateful for today: Getting the opportunity to hang out with some talented young artists at the Artists Reception for the first Bayou Grace World Wetlands Day Art and Poetry Contest.

Check out the festivities here.

Small Stuff #54: Sharing My Bayous February 27, 2010

Posted by dianehuhn in Bayou Life, Big Fun on the Bayou, Friends.
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Small stuff that I am grateful for today: Sharing the wonders and mysteries of my bayous with good friends.

Small Stuff #52: Feeding Frenzy February 23, 2010

Posted by dianehuhn in Big Fun on the Bayou, Community, Cooking, Friends, Relief Work.
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Small stuff that I am grateful for today: All of the many wonderful bayou folks that have fed my wonderful volunteer folks during their stay.

Bonus: The team has had to work twice as fast to burn off all those calories.

Small Stuff #49: Getting Jolly February 20, 2010

Posted by dianehuhn in Big Fun on the Bayou, Relief Work.
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Small stuff that I am grateful for today (ok, really last night, but I was too tired to fire up the computer): Getting Jolly at the Jolly Inn and watching some pretty darn terrific volunteers from Midland, Michigan tear up the dance floor and the washboards. They did such a great job that the good folks at the Jolly Inn made them honorary Cajuns with bona-fide certificates and everything. Can not believe I forgot my camera. Shame, shame on me!

Small Stuff #46: Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez February 17, 2010

Posted by dianehuhn in Big Fun on the Bayou.
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Small stuff that I am grateful for today: Mardi Gras…

Bonus: It’s over…I’m kind of tired.

BIG STUFF: 31-17!!! February 7, 2010

Posted by dianehuhn in Bayou Life, Big Fun on the Bayou.
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Nuff said!

Time Flies June 28, 2009

Posted by dianehuhn in Bayou Life, Big Fun on the Bayou, Fishing, Friends, Louisiana Wildlife, Ramblings, Relief Work.
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So I can see from the date of my last post that I have been a bad blogger once again. It’s been a fun-filled week of new friends, volunteers (who are now new friends), relief work, paper work, good food, too much sun, gator spotting, eagle spotting, and fishing. And oh boy, did we fish!

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And fished some more…

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and a little more for good measure.

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Oh yeah, and a little more fishing just to be sure.

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And since a limit a day keeps the psychiatrist away…

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And although it looks like I spent every waking moment fishing, I actually did engage in a few other activities. Like chasing what I thought was an eagle around the rec center for 2 hours in the 104 degree heat trying to get a good pic, but not being too successful…no matter since it wasn’t a real eagle…DSC_4437

and trying to get a good picture of a gator at night…

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and trying to keep a safe distance, but still get a good pic of some honey bees…

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and trying to get just a little better close up…

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and carting around tools and supplies for a great bunch of guys from Tennessee (the Volunteer State I might add)…

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and becoming the incredibly proud owner of a GJ original (although I was so excited I forgot to turn it the right way for the camera).

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And now it’s time to pack a bag for a few adventures of the Michigan variety and get a little bit of this action going on.

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My Adventure With The Swamp Dwellers, Part 3.14159265… June 20, 2009

Posted by dianehuhn in Bayou Life, Big Fun on the Bayou, Friends.
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OK, so we rounded a bend in the canal and I caught sight of a dock and what looked the outline of two bayou beings of the human variety.

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The two bayou beings are first cousins, separated by 30 years, but joined by their deep love and respect for the enchanting south Louisiana landscape.

I learned that the older cousin is 84 years old, but I honestly wouldn’t have pegged him for more than 72 or 73. It might sound odd to describe the movement of such a man as graceful, but he just seemed to spring lightly about the dock. I could immediately picture him moving swiftly across the flottant while his younger cousin, nearly double in stature, would most likely be lumbering well behind on the verge of breaking through any second on his way to China.

As we chatted about the fish that had gotten away, I could not stop looking out on this view. Unfortunately, my photos just don’t seem to do it justice.

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I sat entranced by the wealth of history carried by this older cousin. He was born out here. Grew up hunting and fishing and trapping. Living off the land. Crossing the canal by pole. It felt odd to realize that this man and my father were born in the same year. Not that my father was a city boy. He did his fair share of hunting and fishing and exploring along the banks of the Grand River. But I got the sense that their lives were vastly different, but both much more tied to nature than their succeeding generations.

As the older cousin explained how, at 84, he still works trapping nuisance alligators (seriously, how cool is that???), an occassional bass would splash about toying with us and all of us would momentarily pause the conversation looking at each other to determine who would grab the fishing pole next to try our luck. First the younger cousin…

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then BW…

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then the older cousin…

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and I certainly couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try my hand. (Thanks for the pic, BW!)

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But alas there would be no bass upon our plates so we settled instead for a most delicious, old-fashioned, camp meal of boiled steak and potatoes prepared perfectly by the younger cousin.

Before we knew it, the day had gotten away from us and it was time for BW and I to bid adieu to my new friends…

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and book it on home while the sun took it’s leave at our backs.

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If you’re ever down the south Loozy way, I would highly suggest you arrange a tour with BW and make it a point to drink in this magnificent jewel for yourself. But, sadly, you’d better not wait too long. If we can’t get some real action moving soon to restore and protect the Louisiana coast, this treaure will be lost like so many before and a whole way of life washed away with it.

Alright BW…when are we going back?

For more scenes from this most amazing day, click here.

My Adventure With The Swamp Dwellers, Part Deux June 17, 2009

Posted by dianehuhn in Bayou Life, Big Fun on the Bayou, Friends, Photography.
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Ok, so we load up the gear, get the boat in the water, get the trailer tucked away, and off we go. Still I have no idea where exactly we are off too. BW whips out her cell phone and lets the folks at our destination know that we are on our way, hangs up, looks at me with this little grin and says “We’re going to the last surviving cypress swamp and meeting up with the swamp dwellers.” Actually, I’m not a hundred percent sure that’s exactly what she said because my heart leapt and my head went dizzy with “surviving cypress” and “swamp dwellers”.

I will confess that for a split second I did get a little nervous. I mean, “swamp dwellers”, geez, that kind of terminology in the brain of a Yankee just conjures up scenes from Deliverance if you know what I’m mean Vern. But then I was like, wait, they’ve got cell phones. Why having a cell phone automatically means you’re not a psychopath waiting in the swamp to kill me and feed me to the gators, I don’t know. But it works for me. Plus, I trust BW and I don’t think she’s in the Yankee trafficking business or anything.

So anyway, as we cruised along Lake DeCade, BW pointed out how the local landowning company in the area has been fortifying the bank of the lake to try to prevent erosion. And for the most part, it appears to be working except for this area where there has been a breach.

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This is just one small area, but you can see how rapidly the marsh behind the breach has become water. It shows, however, how quickly and relatively inexpensively protection can be established by private interests. BW informed me that the land company reinforces the entire shoreline of the lake each year in a time span of about 6 weeks. Most government entities who shall remain nameless can’t even decide whether or not they should make a decision about doing a study in that time span.

Sorry, getting off track. Seriously, this heat is frying my brain. Where is the ice cream man when you need him? Has anyone started on that petition yet?

OK, so BW slows the boat and turns in to this canal…

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and tells me that the ridge in the background is known as the Mauvais Bois, which translated means something like “bad woods.” This is the last living cypress swamp in our area. Notice all the water hyacinth along the banks of the canal. Water hyacinth is an invasive species in south Louisiana and can basically double it’s population in a span of two weeks. It’s really nasty stuff and can quickly take over an area, impact water flow, block sunlight from getting to various aquatic plants, and starve the water of oxygen. BW tells me that it made it’s way to Louisiana via the 1884 Cotton Exposition held in New Orleans. Apparently the Japanese delegation distributed plants that they had imported from Venezuela and it quickly became popular as an ornamental plant in ponds and such. The rest is history. The picture below that I took today on Bayou Petit Caillou near the Bayou Grace office is a good example of how quickly water hyacinth takes over. Just a few weeks ago, there were only a handful of plants along the banks of the bayou.

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But I digress. Back to the story. But, seriously, does anyone have a big tub of ice or something I can lie in whie I write this? I’m not even going to torture myself and see what the “feels like” temperature is according to weather.com.

Nope, I lied. I just checked. Apparently it is 89 degrees with a “feels like” temperature of, are you ready, get this, 105! I know you think I’m exaggerating. But I only wish that were true. Here’s proof.

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OK, so really, back to the story. BW tells me that much of the marsh in this area is known as flottant. Flottant, as you may have guessed from the name, is a kind of floating marsh. I think it’s generally made up of Maiden Cane (but maybe BW can correct me on this bit of trivia.) As I was l to later learn from one of the Swamp Dwellers, if you’re a small person like he is, you shouldn’t have too much trouble walking across it. But if you happen to be a little on the bulkier side, you’d better watch your step or you’ll be on your way to China.

As we crept farther down the canal, we began to see these big, beautiful cypress trees…

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and BW explained that the cypress knees we saw are actually like a big protection system for the trees by anchoring them in the soft muddy soil.

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I am so thrilled to see this because most of the cypress trees I’ve encountered in my travels around the 5 bayous look like these, killed by saltwater intrusion.

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Then we round a bend in the canal and I get my first glimpse of the Swamp Dwellers…

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Tune in tomorrow for Part 3. I’m heading to the gym to sit in the industrial-sized ice maker for a while. But in the meantime for your viewing pleasure…