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Small Stuff #70: Tax Man Cometh April 5, 2010

Posted by dianehuhn in Bayou Life, Coastal Restoration.
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Small stuff that I’m grateful for today: When my trusty tax-preparer hit the magic button on her computer to assess the damage, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. It wasn’t great…but, it wasn’t as bad as it was in my nightmare last night which involved Kenneth from 30 Rock, a pirate, a life-sized crawfish, kumquats, and my Kindergarten teacher Miss Smith. Don’t ask. Seriously, you don’t want to know.

So, I definitely didn’t run to get my taxes done this year as soon as my w-2s and 1099s hit the mailbox. I knew I was going to owe Uncle Sam and I figured if I could earn an extra 2 cents of interest by holding off, I’d hold off. But alas, deadline time is closing in and I decided it was time to face the music.

So unfortunately, what I owe the Feds is almost exactly the rate for a nice extended weekend retreat at that little beach house I’ve had my eye on. Oh well. But, ya know, it’s not all bad. As I wrote out that check to the IRS, all I could think about was the fact that for the first time ever, the Federal budget is dedicating funds for the Louisiana Coastal Area Ecosystem Restoration program. So if my little chunk of change can help protect and restore  this…

…so people can keep doing this…

…and this…

well, that’s pretty darn cool.

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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.

Small Stuff #60: Playing in the Mud March 8, 2010

Posted by dianehuhn in Coastal Restoration, Friends, Hurricanes.
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Small stuff that I am grateful for today: Playing in the mud.

Bonus: The Refuge team from Northern Illinois University/Immanual Lutheran Church of DeKalb, along with students from Viterbo University and BTNEP, were able to harvest 7,000 marsh plants for a restoration planting tomorrow at the Maratime Ridge in Port Fourchon. YOU GUYS ROCK!!!

For more images of our adventures at the Natural Resources Conservation Service Plant Materials Center in Galliano, LA, click here.

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.

Big Stuff #58: A Roadmap March 5, 2010

Posted by dianehuhn in Coastal Restoration.
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Big stuff that I am grateful for today: The Louisiana-Mississippi Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Working Group’s “Roadmap for Restoring Ecosystem Resiliency and Sustainability”.

We have so far to go with restoring and protecting the amazing place that I now call home, but I’ve got to say, for the first time in a good long while, I am really excited about the direction we’re heading in. It finally feels like the folks at the top in the Federal government are starting to get it. I was honored to have been invited, along with some other amazing folks in the restoration and protection advocacy community, to meet with the LA-MS Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Working Group back in December in a little church in the Lower Ninth Ward to voice my thoughts and concerns regarding the restoration and protection of this place that I love so much. And I must say that I’d never been in a room with so many powerful people in one place at one time in my life and probably will never be so again. I kept my comments brief, but they came from my heart and, for a change, I felt that I was really being listened to and not talked at. I left that conversation feeling positive, but at the same time, tried to keep my emotions in check and not to get my hopes up too much. Well, this week, my hopes are up. It’s not the be all and end all of plans, but a step in the right direction is better than walking in circles when it comes to progress. In this line of work, I know I need to stay grounded and maintain a “I’ll believe it when I see it” attitude and just keep plodding forward, but you know, I’m kicking my heels up a little bit this week.

Please check out the Roadmap for yourself.

Big Stuff #53: My Midland Team February 24, 2010

Posted by dianehuhn in Coastal Restoration, Friends, Relief Work.
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Big stuff that I am grateful for today: The amazingly wonderful folks from Midland, MI. I gave them a workout and they came through brilliantly. They roofed…

built steps and ramps…

built shelves…

drove heavy equipment…

framed…

climbed a whole lot of ladders…

hauled Christmas trees to save the coast…

moved furniture, mudded, sanded, painted, plumbed, installed bathroom fixtures, showers, lights, molding, stove tops, and the list goes on and on…and most importantly, they touched the lives of many wonderful bayou folks and moved them leaps and bounds towards recovery and closure.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart! I love you guys!!!

Small Stuff #51: Tenacity and Trees February 22, 2010

Posted by dianehuhn in Coastal Restoration, Relief Work.
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Small stuff that I am grateful for today: The fact that a bunch of wonderful volunteers from Midland, Michigan decided to roll up their sleeves on their day off from a long week  of rebuilding to help save our quickly eroding landscape. Check out this nice article.

http://www.houmatoday.com/article/20100221/ARTICLES/100229986/1211?Title=Northern-volunteers-help-battle-coastal-erosion

Bonus: An interwebs signal to share this article.

Small Stuff #27: No suitcase required January 28, 2010

Posted by dianehuhn in Coastal Restoration.
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Small stuff that I am grateful for today: no suitcase required for my trip to NOLA this evening to talk about coastal Louisiana land loss.

Small Stuff #20: Using the dead to preserve the living January 21, 2010

Posted by dianehuhn in Coastal Restoration.
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Small stuff that I am grateful for today: Getting the opportunity to work with some amazing folks to use dead trees to protect living trees. Wish I had an opportunity to tell y’all more about this right at this moment, but I am swamped after my trip to the swamp and have many miles to go before I sleep even though the alarm is going to go off in less than 6 hours for a trip to Alabama. But I’m thinking that when I get a little time to share the story behind this, I will be grateful.

Bonus: I got to ride in the super fast boat all day!

Head West Old Woman, Head West November 23, 2009

Posted by dianehuhn in Bayou Life, Coastal Restoration, Ramblings, Travels.
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So yesterday morning I decided to put a few chores on the back burner and head west for a few adventures. I’ve not explored much of the beauties of south-western Loozy, although if you want to get all technical, my intended destination would probably be more appropriately deemed to reside in south-central Louisiana. And while every day really is an adventure when living life in the Louisiana wetlands, I was yearning for some new vistas.

At 6:00 AM, I grabbed my coat and grabbed my hat (it was a tad chilly and drizzily), left my worries at my doorstep, and hoped the sunny side of the street would be at my back. Unfortunately, the sun never did make much of an appearance except for about 30 seconds on my way back east. Guess it just wanted to show those meteorologists who’s boss.

Anyway, I made a quick stop at a local convenience store to get a little more Community Coffee pulsing through my veins. When you get down the bayou, a lot of the convenience stores tend to exhibit a flavor all their own which is decidedly different from the typical, I-could-be-in-anytown-USA, northern Express Mart flavor.

When you patronize one of these spots, you’re almost guaranteed the opportunity to satisfy that grease fix that accompanies fried chicken whether it’s on a stick or served up in the standard red and white checkered cardboard tray. And if chicken doesn’t fit the bill, no worries. Shrimp, oysters, crawfish, catfish, jalapenos and a multitude of other such fare should grace the menu as long as you don’t ask for it lightly sautéed in a nice lemon-pepper butter sauce. Should you desire a little beef or pork, sausage biscuits and boudin should do the trick and the jerky products typically have an entire aisle to themselves. And if you’d like to wash down all that fried goodness with a spot of Jack, no problem, just ask the clerk to grab you a bottle from behind the counter. And if you got a few dollars left in your pocket, you can slip behind the red or green swinging doors and play a few hands of video poker to see if lady luck is on your side.

So as I prepared the perfect cup of joe, the usual gang was there decked out in their LSU caps, well-worn work garb and white shrimp boots. I had arrived too late for the play-by-play recap of yesterday’s Tiger’s game and too early for the predictions for the afternoon’s Saints game, but had arrived just in time for the another favorite subject…

“I heard they’re going to close that canal and put some kind of thing that lets the water flow through.” “You know, what they don’t think about is a back-up plan.” “Yeah, well I heard they was going to put a bunch of rocks out there.” And it basically goes on and on with a whole host of “I’ve heard’s” for quite some time until someone says “You know there’s only one thing that’s going to save us. And that’s if we all just get the #@$! out of here.” Laughter erupts for about seventeen seconds and then the realization hits that such a scenario could be all too true and to dismiss that painful thought as swiftly as it arrives, the conversation quickly moves to the “What they outta do’s”. And it’s too bad more of the folks in charge don’t sit in on some of these conversations, cause these guys know a whole lot about this landscape and how it works and some of those “outta do’s” are pretty dog-gone smart.

But, time was a-wasting. So, armed with twenty ounces of goodness, $4 of jerky and a full tank of gas, it was time to head up the bayou…but, unfortunately it’s now time to hit the pavement. To be continued…