Nobody is prouder of their front yard than Don and Debora Young, East Side environmentalists and unofficial caretakers of Tandy Hills Natural Area.
Their yard is a canvas of native grasses and wildflowers that represent how the prairie land looked before Texas soldiers came here in the 1800s to build a fort, which evolved into the country’s 16th most populous city.
The Youngs have been seeding their yard for a dozen years, and it needs no water other than rain to survive. They’re all about conservation.
The National Wildlife Federation certified the yard as an urban wildlife habitat years ago. A sign in the yard says as much.
The yard looks great at certain times of the year when things are in bloom. At other times, not so much.
Young fought the city’s Code Compliance Department in court for years to establish his right to maintain his yard as a wildlife habitat despite an ordinance that restricts grass height.
So, with all that background floating around, you can imagine Young’s surprise and anger when he discovered a man cutting down his lawn yesterday.
Here’s how Young described it:
“About 5 pm Tuesday afternoon I noticed a car parked out front. Seeing nobody around, I went back to work. A few minutes later I heard a high-pitched motor running and looked out again. An elderly black guy I’ve never seen before was in the process of whacking my prairie yard with a weed eater.
“My first thought was that the city had decided I was in violation of the grass and weed ordinance and was cutting it without notice. Something was fishy about this.
“I ran out outside, waving my arms and yelling at the man to stop his destruction. Switching off his weed eater, he looked genuinely shocked as I threatened him with bodily injury. He even asked if I wanted him to sweep up the grass clippings.
“Barely containing my anger, I asked him why he was whacking my yard. He explained to me that “a man told him to cut it.” I asked him to identify the man but he claimed to forget the name. Writing down his license plate number, I warned him that unless he told me the man’s name I would hold him accountable for destruction of several prairie plants including Antelope Horn Milkweed.
“He promised to call me with the man’s name as soon as he got home but failed to do so as of late Tuesday evening. I called the police and made a report. An investigator is supposed to call me back this week.”
In summary, Young said the whole thing was “weird.”
Stay, as they say, tuned.