Just the back yard!? Nah, I want the front and side yards landscaped in natives too.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

New Year's Day

Not a bad start for the new year.  I didn't plan it.  Although it was overcast, today was in the 40s, so I went out to walk the property.

My plan (and my attempt) to create a native meadow has started and stalled many times over the past few years...but that is another story.  One section had some locust trees seed in and begin to take over.  There were more than I realized...and by the looks of them, they had been growing for a few years.

Over the summer, I noticed the largest ones...and decided they had to go...but I didn't want to do it when there was a possibility that birds might be nesting in them.  Today, I finally took a chainsaw to them.


This spring, I inadvertently attracted house wrens while trying to attract a second pair of nesting bluebirds.  I put up a new nestbox in the far corner of our yard.  Instead, house wrens moved in...and ended up killing the newly hatched bluebirds.  I am determined not to let that happen again.

Not only will I be removing all except the original nestboxes, I plan to make the meadow go back to early stages of succession, so it is less attractive to the house wrens.  Removing these invading locust trees is the first step.  (We do have several full grown locust on the property, so this will likely be a recurring battle in the coming years.

For now, I am smother the stumps, to prevent regrowth.

I took the (thorny) locust into our "woodland" and created another brush pile--combining it with the Amur honeysuckle bushes that I cut down in the spring (from the neighbor's property--with their permission).

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Planting an Alder

I actually worked out in the yard for a bit today.

I ended up planting an alder that I kept in a large pot for too many years.  The deer have nibbled on it through the years, so it is still rather small.

To keep the deer from finding it, I decided to stick some dried asters in the ground to help disguise it.  I'm out of fencing.

Not too bad for the end of December.   :)

Too bad that the second half of summer and well into the fall, there was so much rain--nearly daily--that I got almost nothing done in the yard...until now.  :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Another Moving Rocks Post

 With all of the rain we've had--I swear it has been four months with only an occasional day with part sun...and, more recently one full day of sun...and, twice, two days in a row without rain (or only in the morning or overnight).  So, with that, and working my regular job, an interpreting assignment twice a week, and Jeff and I teaching a class one day a week, there has not been much time for me to do much of anything outside.  :(

So, I was so happy that the weather cooperated, today, on my only day off during the week...and thrilled that I pushed myself to change into work clothes and go outside.

I finally got around to hauling some more of the rocks that I got over the summer.  My goal is to create some natural-looking rock outcroppings along the slope that leads to my pond & streambed project.  I'm hoping I can create a cliff-like look.

Nothing is set in stone yet. ;) ...but I got a chance to play around with some possible groupings.  It needs a lot, lot, lot more work to make it look right...but it felt great to get out and WORK! 

I plan to put down some rubber roofing under the rocks, create cliff-like outcroppings, and a sandy soil over the rubber roofing, and add scree around the rocks.  Here's hoping that I can make it look natural...and create a nice-looking spot for a streambed and waterfall(s).

I stayed out until dusk became rather dark.  I've missed being out there...and I'm hoping to get in better shape again.  Here's hoping I can do more before the ground freezes here.  Then, once winter hits, I hope I enjoy the reprieve.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Hauling Rocks

After leaving the rocks I brought home (back in August) where I dropped them, today I began hauling them to the backyard slope...where, eventually, I will piece them together (the best I can) to create the look of a rocky cliff outcropping.   My goal is to create a rocky cliff with a stream and waterfall ...as l running through it.

Here are pics of the cliff where I got them...

Here is a little inspiration from a local, natural stream:

 Here are about 1/3 of the total I collected.   I dropped them mostly haphazardly on the slope above the pond.

Too bad I didn't get at least twice as many rocks...but, hopefully, the final result will look natural.

A few rocks seem to naturally fit together, but time will tell if I have an eye for piecing this puzzle together.

Thursday, August 23, 2018


Although I dug the main pond (Phase II), put down the liner, and filled it, I have yet to disguise the liner.   We have be inundated with rain for weeks at a time.  The day or two of sun that we have gotten have been wickedly humid.  I've done little those days...normally trying to catch up on cutting grass and keeping the paths mowed.  

I have been wanting to get more rocks for the area surrounding the pond.  For a while now, I have passed a place along a main road that is taking a backhoe to a rocky hillside.   I've been wanting to ask for rocks--finally getting a sunny day (and temps in the 70s with low humidity), I finally drove out and asked.  I was thrilled to be told, "Sure  take what you want."

I made three trips out, each time getting bigger and bigger rocks--a few that I really struggled loading into my car.  Yes, my car.  I treat it like a truck at times like these.

I am a nut.  I really struggled with these.  Luckily, I'm a clever nut--I made "stairs" from other rocks.

I am hoping to piece them together in a way that suggests a rocky cliff outcropping.  If I succeed, it will look as though it has as always been there.  Well, after the rocks have weathered more.

I even started playing with these after I got them out of the car.

(Despite taking pictures of birds, butterflies, various insects, and the game cam capturing a few larger creatures, it took getting rocks to get me to post again!)

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Hummingbird at Trumpet Vine

With our two game cams out if commission for a long while, we ended up buying a new one.  Today, we got to try it out.  :)

(...and Jeff was able to fix the problem with one if the old cams...so, we are back to having two of them.)

It was wonderful to get a clear video of our hummingbird visitor.  :)

Little Lady

I don't know if I have just not been watching, or what, but I haven't seen hummingbirds here for quite a while.  So, imagine my surprise when I saw one right outside my window several weeks ago (when the Penstemon digitalis was finishing up).
I encountered this little lady again, yesterday, while walking past the trumpet vine (that I inherited from a previous owner--it has only begun to bloom over the
past two years.

 Coming around the corner, I must have startled her...she took off ahead of me--probably the only reason I noticed.  Luckily, I had my digital
camera with me, and I zoomed in to snap some pics when I saw her alight on a branch of an elm tree.

I am glad to be seeing this little lady visiting...
and I hope she brings her mate and their friends--or their rivals...
I know how territorial they can be.