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An Ode to Stupid Labor by Public Works

The Daily Bucket is a place where we post and exchange our observations about what is happening in the natural world in our neighborhood. Birds, blooms, bugs & more - each note is a record that we can refer to in the future as we try to understand the patterns that are quietly unwinding around us.
Labor Day 2012

This is about my favorite road in the county I live in. Well it used to be. The roadside has been under attack every since it got paved a decade ago. Efforts to turn this long time clay country road into I-don't-know-what have increased in the last few years. The results are bad for wildlife - all those "Birds, blooms, bugs & more " we Bucketeers like to observe and note and read about here.

Here's a long shot of the road - clay banks, live oaks, understory of shrubs and vines, ferns, critter holes in the banks. Looks OK until you realize that the shoulders at this time of year should be full of early fall greenery and blooms and butterflies.

More devastation below the orange poison spray.

While I was gone this summer the county road department must have decided it was time for a bit of herbicide. Or rather a whole bunch of herbicide sprayed along both sides of the road  - sometimes a good 12 feet above the pavement and deep into the undergrowth.

In the prior 2 years the crew was content to mow. But mowing meant not only the shoulder but also up on top of the banks. One year they even cut along the top of someone's fence. It always ended up ugly. Naturally the mowing took place twice a year --- during spring and fall wildflower bloom time.

This is the corner where the road turned from north to west, a low point. There used to be white indigo (baptisa alba) and hog peanuts (Amphicarpaea bracteata) here. Those got wiped out when the electric co-op contracted for spraying the year before. This summer the county spray killed any chance of recovery. Normally this spot would be so thick with vegetation this time of year that it was scary.

Here is a 3' red buckeye plant along a small culvert I meant to dig up and rescue since it was right by the road. I was also planning to harvest some of the other buckeyes for nuts to plant later in other places. Bye Bye Buckeyes...  

Amazing - something survived. Well only because a few folks along the road got lucky and their yard fronts did not get sprayed. Blooms like this are common in the fall.

and next to that yard in front of their field is a native azalea about 20 feet off the road - note the spindly deadwood. I'd know that shrub just from the growth patterns - not so the county. ** sorry for the photo - I think the humidity blurred the camera lens.

Then there is the wildlife. Here is a beaver pond in the making. Lets call this beaver pond version 3 since ever time any beaver gets established, the county comes by and destroys the little mud dam (not sure who kills the beaver but I have pics of carcass). It's not like this little pond is going to flood over the huge culverts and roadway. This is also the part of the road where I most often see turtles crossing.

Another view of the culvert where you see what little bit of build-up the beaver needs to make a home. Sure was fun last winter stopping here and watching the previous beaver being busy. Yes I am a pessimist but I'll give this one a winter - maybe.

Holley Branch where it crosses Dupont Rd not too far from US-90 and I-10. Spraying good, picking up trash ehhh...

And closer to my end of this 3 mile road - tires and such left to not rot by upper end of Holly Branch.

OK - that wraps it up for me. All these photos were taken today. Part of me wants to move on - farther away from this stupidity but ya know, there is always more ignorance and misguided efforts some place else. Naive of me to think this little spot of nature could be allowed to continue in its beautiful decades of neglect. Y'all jump in with your observations of our public dollars being spent knocking off things you care about.

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