We’ve become aware of a problem this spring. Actually, we had an inkling of it before now, but with the zillions of inches of rain1 we’ve had, it’s rubbed our noses in it, so to speak. Our back yard is a bog. Sure, we knew we had low spots that would hold water. In the summer, you don’t want to go outside in late afternoon or at dusk without a vat of citronella oil. But even through the tropical storm and hurricane we’ve now experienced in this house, we’ve never seen water like this.
Part of it is geography. We’re not known for our soaring mountain peaks here in Louisiana, nor even our rolling hills. It’s flat here. Think pancake. Hell, think crepe! Topography is not part of our vocab. The other part of it is the fault of the jackasses that built the townhouse complex behind us without adequate drainage for their property. Rain just sheets off of their parking slab into our yard.
So why am I bitching about this in a blog largely devoted to kid stuff? Well, during Xmas, Stella was given money by grandparents for something special and Felix has since racked up some. Given the fact that we have the money and a fenced in backyard, a swing set seems the logical use. You can get some kick-ass swing sets, complete with little playhouses, rock walls, and even little built-in benches and tables. We had even started shopping online. I was mega-excited. Then the flood came. We quickly realized that our backyard would rot a swing set off at the base. In short, our backyard is better suited to docking pontoon boats, farming cranberries, or housing a rice paddy than for a little girl to play in. We can rectify this, but it’s going to take a whole lot of work and money. We’re talking French drains and surveys to ensure we don’t flood the neighbors. And probably an acre of gravel and dirt. Not doable in the reasonable future, or at least not in time to do me any good.
I think I’ve come up with a solution. Best of all, it’s a solution that will also in part alleviate another issue around here: mountains of diapers.
I actually know more than the average Josephine about landfills. I work in the environmental field and have reviewed groundwater monitoring reports from municipal and industrial landfills as well as their construction requirements. I know. I can hear your eyes glazing over. But roll with it and use your imagination. I dig out my backyard and use some of the plentiful existing clay to make a nice compact layer to hold the heebie-jeebies in. I place the diapers in it for a few weeks. I then cover it back up with more clay and the dirt and voila! I have raised the level of my backyard to swing set-safe levels and kept from having to take out the trash for a week.
Now most websites say it takes 200-500 years for a diaper to decompose. To be fair, most of those websites are the more “granola-type” sites, if you get my drift; I can’t speak to their scientific authenticity or methodology in obtaining their figures. And you could say there’s an agenda there which may further skew the data. I can say that I’ve seen Stella’s diapers break down an awful lot overnight due to normal use and airflow. I’m just saying… Regardless, I’m sure the diaper landfill could support a swing set in my backyard swamp for at least long enough for Stella and Felix to get their fill of play.
1 Really only 26.2,” but that’s a whole lot considering it all fell in 3 months.