Second Chances


Olde Paths, Inc. has a special purpose beyond dunescapes, landscaping and erosion control. An important secondary aspect to our business is that we work with men who have made choices in their past that make it difficult for them to find a job. Some of them have been incarcerated and have a record. We have contacts among parole officers and Rescue Missions who refer clients who have proven that they want to turn over a new leaf. We work with them and train then to improve both their work skills and habits. Many of them have been with us for over three years to as many as eight years. We do this work by working side by side with them. There is nothing like sweat, honest hard work and accountability to check the character and habits needed to support yourself. Our secret weapons are simple. First it is supervision and training by men who have learned through their own experiences. Second, it is a caring atmosphere which we demonstrate by starting the day in prayer for strength, wisdom and safety and for special needs that they request. Our heavenly Father has given a “second chance” to His children. In thankfulness we seek to give a “second chance” to these often discouraged and beaten down men. Many of them have entered the normal job market after proving themselves with us. We thank God for the opportunity to serve Him in all situations.

Dunegrass Maintenance

DSCF0137Dunegrass can be helped to grow with three applications of fertilizer in Spring, Summer and Fall. Typically we use 12-12-12 or similar fertilizer. Slow release fertilizer requires less applications, but it is much more costly.
As soon as possible after the snow melts is the best time to start to eliminate invasive weeds and grasses. I will give a more detailed year round program in another post. However in March we apply a pre-
merge like “Preen” to keep weed seeds from sprouting. We also spray “Round-Up” or a generic equivalent before the green tips of the dunegrass appear. This will kill any green invasives that are growing. More on this later.

Blogging….jumping in with both feet!

In our blog posts our purpose is to share our knowledge about landscaping gardening with an emphasis on our specialty, dunegrass and shoreline plants.  We also, from time to time will include spiritual meditations along the line of the stories and poems that we have written and compiled in our website.

Here we go:  Dunegrass in Spring

The snow is finally starting to disappear.  Often customers are concerned that the dunegrass may have died through the winter.  When they see it is all brown and smashed to the ground.  In fact, the dunegrass is already growing under the snow.  The “eyes” are sending out  roots and start to elongate until they pop out of the ground as green shoots in the early part of April.  By May you will have a fresh green meadow where the dunegrass is planted.  Dunegrass is extremely cold hardy.  We actually let fresh dug grass freeze in the bags after counting and bundling in late November/early December.  It freezes to whatever the air temp is —- this year well below zero!!!  When we start to plant this in the green house in flats in late February it is already sending out roots and stretching even though it is frozen.  We dip them in water before storage to prevent dehydration.  We are careful about using fresh, clean well water to prevent bacterial contamination like you would get using pond or lake water.  We also add a polymer to the water that helps retain moisture.

First Blog Post

I would like to introduce you to several new things on our website,

First of all, I hope you like the new look and organization. A big thanks to Spectrum Net Design for all the work they have put into both hosting and rebuilding of our primary marketing tool.  We love it! (If you think they could help you, check them out at They are great people to work with).

Secondly, I am excited to begin our new blog. I hope to be posting timely and interesting dunegrass, gardening, and landscaping  information every other week to get started. I would like this to be an interactive tool that you feel free to ask questions and keep as a reference for the different challenges you face in your particular dune/yard/garden situation. It is no surprise to those of you that know me well that I consider myself a wild-eyed organic gardener with about 30 years experience seeking solutions for vegetable, small fruit and orchard gardening. That fact along with my erosion control and shoreline work will hopefully provide an interesting mix for our readers.

Finally, we have been able to collect all of the stories and poems that I have written to date on the website in one place. They are meditations that reflect on the many amazing facets of God’s creation found in the unique ecosystems the Great Lakes. I hope you find them interesting, informative and inspirational.

Talk to you soon,
The Duneman