Mother Nature, From Hawks to Cottontails and More

For the first time this season I was able to go out to plant a few plugs that arrived 2 days ago – some geraniums, lobelia and asters. Hoping for the best!  I never saw any of the buttercups (marsh marigolds) sprout from the seeds I planted. I will try again in a better located area but full sun is scarce here so it’ll probably take some ingenuity.

 I just read an interesting option to provide more water where it’s needed – great food for thought before action! https://www.chicagobotanic.org/downloads/wed/WI_DNR_homeowners.pdf?fbclid=IwAR20hfCBlQpRSwifaOjb-14Kg9W4l3JWhy8GUwnljiBHSfL596yhD3h4UBk

I can happily report that the rest of my native garden is looking healthy and sweet, and all on its own – no maintenance! Well, lots of maintenance at the end of last season, where I added a lot of cardboard and organic soil added on top of the whole garden and mulch on top of that. A layer of fallen leaves from the Cherry, Silver Maple, White Ash and Oak trees during the fall to winter layered naturally to top it all off and left to decompose and enrich the soil in place. It seems to be readily paying off!

Viburnam opulus, Highbush Cranberry, May, 15, 2021

I also picked up some of the fallen branches, although there are many more I need to get to as I am able, but I’m not pushing it. There are quite a few native volunteers in the backyard that I hope to pull up and transplant into the front garden before it gets mowed: striped, Creamy Violets,

I can’t keep up with the invasive plants at this point in time. If I gain more ability to move about with my physical therapy, I should attack the gathering growth of oriental bittersweet, garlic mustard, creeping Charlie, pepperweed and coltsfoot. Although Mouse Ear Cress has been transported to the moon, I don’t think I want to encourage its growth. It hit this year with a bang – it’s suddenly widespread here:

Mouse Ear Cress used under CC-BY-SA /Cropped and compressed from original

https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/55021-Arabidopsis-thaliana

Our yard is certainly attracting wildlife! Didn’t get a pic of the large deer that have been visiting to graze in the backyard but I did get a fuzzy shot of another visitor that I didn’t want to get too close to!

Turkey, Grazing away.

I’ve been watching two rabbits for weeks now that have been coming and going at leisure. One of them was the biggest rabbit I’ve ever seen. Sadly, I found his carcass beside one of the raised beds in the backyard. I’ve also been seeing a good-sized hawk circling the yard and saw him swoop down in the backwoods in an adjacent neighbor’s property, assuming it found its prey. So, I’m also assuming that same hawk feasted on this cottontail.

Saud, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The next day, the smaller one showed herself to be alive and well. We had a quiet chat where I shared my feeling of loss to her, but we both know that’s within the law of nature. We are all connected, and we are all vulnerable to the forces of nature, all the while, we are in awe of the beauty and capacity of nature.

“Whenever the pressure of our complex city life thins my blood and benumbs my brain, I seek relief in the trail; and when I hear the coyote wailing to the yellow dawn, my cares fall from me – I am happy.”      

Hamlin Garland, McClure’s, February 1899

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