It used to be when I looked out my back door, mostly I saw crabgrass. In early spring, for a while, we have dandelions and violets, but mostly it was crabgrass all summer and snow all winter — with leaves between summer and winter.
This morning I looked out and watched four squirrels chase each other around a tree. They move fast, but not nearly as fast as the chipmunks. They race across the lawn at lightning speed. Occasionally the woodchuck pops out of one of his holes to see if there’s anything interesting to eat. We throw him leftover veggies. He is particularly fond of asparagus.
There are easily a dozen birds’ nests in the huge forsythia hedge that entirely hides a chain-link fence. Normally, we’d cut it back, but it’s full of birds, nests, and baby birds. Nearby are the bigger birds. We’ve got a healthy selection of woodchucks, chipmunks, red and grey squirrels. At night, squirrels fly and raccoons are always looking for a little action.
Every creature loves the hedge. We can’t cut down the holly either because it is also full of nests. Robins are especially fond of the holly. They love those bright red berries.
There are usually five or six different species of birds all eating at the feeders. Sometimes the chipmunks and squirrels join the party. Occasionally, the blue jays take over or the doves muscle in. It’s not unusual to see three species of woodpeckers and half a dozen songbirds.
It’s not just looking at the crabgrass anymore. The yard is wildly alive with creatures running, flying, diving into their holes, flying in and out of the hedge. It’s kind of amazing. I could call it a zoo, but a zoo is far more organized. This is just nature.
It’s messy. A natural yard doesn’t have a tidy trimmed look. We do our best to keep the deck clean by hanging the feeders over the yard. Otherwise? As far as the birds and creatures are concerned, mi casa, su casa. As long as I can manage it.
As I finished giving them their final feed, a hawk dropped out of the sky and tried to snag a squirrel. Mr. Squirrel leapt from the feeder to the deck, flipping the feeder in the process and ran at warp speed down to the ground and into the hedge. The hawk flew away, unfed.
The hedge protects the birds and other creatures. Hawks can’t penetrate it. Neither can the bobcats. The squirrel went to his tree and the other birds are returning. I think there has been a Cooper’s Hawk getting very close, but so far, not getting his catch. That hawk has been around often, explaining all those flipped feeders. When the squirrels make a break for it, they move fast and everything goes flying.
The birds are back while Mr. Squirrel takes some personal quiet time in his tree.