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Unnatural Selection

Bayou-Diversity (29 March 2020) A while back I wrote about the dispersal of white oak acorns and how they fell onto my new steep metal roof and launched themselves over the edge and into my yard. I did not realize at the time that I would soon involuntarily mimic the acorn act by launching myself from the peak of this roof, down the 7/12 pitch and onto the sidewalk below. The laws of physics functioned according to established equations, particularly acceleration—both positive and negative—and gravity. The density of mass was tested and as might be expected, that of concrete exceeds that of older human bone. Density = Mass/Volume, you remember. This incident stimulated me to the extrem

Box Turtles

Bayou-Diversity (15 March 2020) That an old, time-marred box turtle in my hand today could be the same one held by my great grandfather on the edge of this swamp a hundred years ago infers a connection mystical if not spiritual. Though unlikely, it is possible. The most common land turtle found throughout Louisiana is the three-toed box turtle, a subspecies of the eastern box turtle, so named because it usually has three toes on each hind foot. A second species, the ornate box turtle, is very rare and only occurs in the extreme southwestern part of the state. Box turtles have hinged bottom shells (the plastron) that can close tightly against the upper shell (the carapace) for protection.

Springs

Bayou-Diversity (8 March 2020) In the mid-1970s I lived for a while on an old homestead in the shadow of Driskill Mountain, the highest elevation in Louisiana. There the sole source of water for drinking, cooking, washing, and life in general was a small spring behind the dog-trot house. For many people in the hill parishes, shallow hand-dug wells and springs provided water until subsidized community water systems, which rely on deep bored wells, were developed. Dependable springs, in particular, were once a treasured resource on any property. Where springs exist, they are conduits in the water cycle. Rainfall seeps underground by percolating through tiny spaces between soil particles a

North Louisiana Prairies

Bayou-Diversity (1 March 2020) The term prairie usually brings forth images of treeless landscapes blanketed in a waving sea of grasses reaching to the horizon. Indeed such was once the case across millions of acres in the American west and Midwest. This unique habitat nourished bison herds that numbered in the tens of millions together with countless other species of plants and animals. Prairies are often classified as either short-grass or tall-grass prairies depending on the dominant types of grasses that grow there. Short-grass prairies were generally found further west in areas of low rainfall. Certain soil types often favor the development of prairies but even so, prairies were us

 

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