Right now my yard is indeed a song of life. If you were to step out the door, you would hear a persistent humming; the gurgle of a creek, bird and bee-song. There is the rustle of nuts (old and dry), and color – color everywhere.
My yard is “engineered”; that is, I used my skills as a biologist, civil engineering, ecologist, storm monitoring ‘guru’, as well as about a dozen other talents to create a wildlife habitat that helps shelter my yard and my house, protects things (including life), and reduces my energy bills. It ranges from dry land (sand and clay) to creek bed, pond, and ‘swamp’. All on just one acre.
There’s a three hundred foot brush pile I’ve established over twenty years – I add to it as decomposition settles it down. It even crosses the creek (far in the back corner) so that salamanders and water snakes can live there.
These are some the trees and flowers I use to draw them:
When I look over my yard – it’s not the “song of life” I’d like it to be – not since the neighborhoods moved in. But . . . the deer still wander the back field (however, the turtles, most of the snakes, squirrels, fox, opossom, and raccoons have disappeared). But my yard wasn’t ‘designed’ for these larger creatures – it was designed for the small ones; the bottom of the food chain.
My big pond has no fish – but it harbors a healthy population of various frogs (including the booming call of the bullfrog at night); crawdads, and the dragonfly larva of a half a dozen species of ‘dragonflies’ and darters. Later as the summer moves in I’ll see their bright and green flashes hovering over the water – and the bullfrog’s tadpoles are about as big as a minnow!
I’ve built, put, installed a thousand places for things to hide: the smallest things, the ones I tell children to look for . . . like this curious shy frog:
But here’s the thing (sort of) . . . we enjoy this time of year – because it really ‘pulls in’ and brings out the “little Michael” in me – the little boy who just enjoyed looking at and playing with flowers, exploring ants, watching butterflies, avoiding bees, and catching lizards by the tail. “He” still loves – greatly loves – doing those things, and “we” work hard on keeping our yard varied and alive. “The more the merrier,” seems to be our way of thinking – the more variety the better . . .
So many American strive for the “perfect kind of yard” – a vast green monoculture of strictly trimmed grass, a few varieties of bushes and trees – and that’s it. My yard, on the other hand, is a wild profusion of weeds and yarrow; rabbit weed and pulpit’s flowers; dillweed and sunflower. I just ‘let it go’ – to a point, of course – and have the most wonderful yard (and some say most beautiful) in all of the town . . .
What can I say.
I/We planned it that way. And hope you have enjoyed.