Four inches of intense rain poured down in our yard recently, and the local critters were a bit overwhelmed. One of them, I suspect a squirrel, decided to grab some branches and make a nest in the engine of my car, chewing through a fuel injector wire in the process.
So we had to repair the car, which was not fun. But watching squirrels always is. The squirrels run back and forth across the phone wires all day, as if it's a freeway from our yard to the trees across the street. Yesterday, a baby squirrel took the trip for what must have been the first time. It slunk along with its belly close to the wire and paused at every intersection. One stop was a branch of the Arizona cypress that runs parallel to the wire, and another was the top of the telephone pole. Here, the baby hunkered down and shivered for a while before deciding to run quick, quick the rest of the way.
Learning with and planning for critters
The critters' activities are part of what makes the garden such a joy and makes it part of my naturally healing landscape. They continually surprise me. The possums stealing suet from the bird feeders taught me two things - put the feeders away from the porch, and don't use suet. The raccoons ate their way through most of the Texas persimmons the moment the fruit ripened and left big piles of seeds under the front porch. This was a good test of the rock wall that encloses the crawl space. We added rocks to close the openings at the top of the wall, and there's no longer space for raccoons - or rats - to make themselves at home under the house floor.
The plants in the yard were deliberately located where we can watch the goings-on of the wildlife. The trees, shrubs, flowers and grasses were chosen not just because they are tough natives. They provide food for various critters, from seeds and sap to berries and fruit. Apparently we have just the right leaves for squirrels' nests, too, and for caterpillar food, but I'll write about bugs some other time. And, no, the critter wasn't in the engine when we found the nest. It's safe somewhere else in the yard!
What about you - is watching and learning about your yard's wildlife helping you keep mentally sharp and laughing? If you're ready to add this element to your ageless garden, Second Summer is here to help.
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