An article on Apple News caught my attention yesterday. It was full of ideas for designing a garden to keep snakes away. Ten years ago I would have devoured every word. Today I just sighed, thinking about all the folks who will follow through on the design suggestions and miss out on having a valuable garden partner — a resident snake!
The next two weeks are shaping up to be prime planting time here in the Midwest. They're promising us lots of sunlight, warm temperatures and just enough rain to get things going in the garden. While I will be spending lots of time with my grandkids planting their gardens, one of my own goals this spring is to rework my hummingbird garden.
Despite bouts of unseasonably cold weather and the never-ending cold rain, my favorite feisty birds, hummingbirds, have returned to my yard. Right now, my garden is in an in-between time – early bloomers are finishing up and summer ones haven’t started – so the birds are hungrily hovering at the feeders. Soon, they will expect more substance to their diet; they will want to feast on a buffet of flowers.
My six year old granddaughter wanted to have a serious conversation about the birds and the bees this past weekend. (To clarify, we are talking literal birds and bees here.) My budding entomologist/ornithologist was very curious because she couldn’t find any bugs to catch in her yard and her brand new bird feeder wasn’t always busy like mine. She just didn’t understand why. And more to the point for her, how could she get them to come to her yard?
With the sun shining and the snow melting away, today is a great day to finish up our series on frogs and toads. Let’s talk about what you should – and shouldn’t – do to bring these amazing creatures to your yard.
I found my three-year-old granddaughter standing by the window yesterday, sobbing her heart out. When I asked her what was wrong, she pointed a qivering finger at the pond and did that “hiccuppy” thing heartbroken children do. Eventually she sputtered out that the frogs in my pond were too cold and she wanted to bring them inside where it was warm. I managed to convince her that the frogs were just fine and that they needed to be in the pond, but the whole time there was a little voice in my head accusing me of blatantly lying to this tender-hearted child. The reality was that I had no earthly idea what frogs do during the winter – or if they were even still alive.
We had an almost perfect fall weekend -- skies were bright blue, temperatures were in the mid-60’s, and every once in a while a slight breeze would bring in the subtle scent of fall. Like I said, it was almost perfect, except for the non-stop noise pollution from our nearby neighbor's industrial strength leaf blower. As I stood in front of his house considering a non-confrontational way to beg him for a break from the noise, something even worse than the noise caught my attention. His haul of blown leaves was tightly tied up in literally a dozen black plastic bags waiting to be hauled off to the dump.
After the usual summer hosting a solitary visitor, my hummingbird feeders are suddenly overrun with feisty birds fighting for nectar. Last night there were at least ten battling for control; they spent so much time chasing each other away, I’m not sure any of them got a good meal.
As much as I loved being in the middle of the bird chaos, it also made me just a touch sad. All these birds descending on my yard at once could only mean one thing -- preparation for fall migration was starting. Much too soon, all these beautiful birds will be heading south for the winter.