It’s strange to me how most real estate agents don’t get what would make a place a good homestead. I say this based on our experience selling a farmstead and buying another in 2013. (Part 1 of the tale is here.) Then again —unless your agent also happens to also grow some of their own food, raise some of their own meat — why would they know?Read More
From “Cultivating the Wild Suburbia”by Ellen Honeycutt:
Contrary to what you might think, suburbia is a place where we can create habitat. That is my goal in our yard. I create habitat by making conscious decisions such as: plant a diverse mix of regionally native plants; minimize the use of chemicals; create places of habitat by leaving some dead trees, some bare ground, some brush piles; research what I plant to have bloom times throughout the year for pollinator support. [photo via site]
Mendy and I have named all the various blacksnakes on the various farms where we’ve lived either “Snidely” or “Snidelina” depending on how large or how graceful and pretty they have been. Yes we’ve had pretty ones—long and slim with gleaming white undersides and shiny black scales. Ok, so it’s just me who thinks they are pretty and Mendy prefers not to see them at all. Still, we have not bothered them except in rare and tragic, chicken-related accidents…
Here’s a GREAT reason to tolerate black snakes: they prey on poisonous snakes! I’d always heard that said, but this blog post I came across thanks to Joy B shows a black snake in action with a rattler. Amazing.
NOT that I really want to see this wild-kingdom kind of action on my actual patio…..still, glad to know it’s not just a myth. Amazing photos. Check it out here. http://goo.gl/TeR24 at the blog Living Alongside Wildlife. (Photo, thankfully, by the blogger, not me.)
—A Larrapin Garden…currently in search of a new home in the Blue Ridge of North Carolina. Leigh’s posts on this blog may be boom or bust depending on the season, but if you subscribe here you’ll get one weekly email—usually on Wednesdays—to let you know what’s new. You are also invited to get garden related miscellany and recipes at the brand new Facebook page or on Twitter.Read More
This well-camouflaged little fella was singing up a storm but I couldn’t see him for the longest time.When I’d hear the song, I’d take a few steps toward it, song would stop, I’d wait.Read More
As I wrote in the last post, one of my farm lessons this year is to avoid plastic farm buckets, well, except when it’s hard to replace or it’s what you have already... Still, my commitment to metal, wood, stone, pottery and concrete is growing. As the plastic stuff breaks or cracks (set your watch!) I’m transitioning to metal and concrete to hold water. The plastic wildlife dishes—which I already had and will use till they wear out—are changing to the concrete birdbath tops you can find at Lowe’s. (Like the photo below, from a previous post on providing water to wildlife.)
I’d love to make some my own wildlife bowls from concrete too…<nudge to Liz here> I would shape them with the very shallow and sloping sides that the bees love on one old birdbath shown below. They love it because even when the water level goes down, they can still reach it from the safety of dry concrete. A bee can drown in just about anything, but with this design they can climb out to safety, unlike a steep or slick side. It’s so popular we call it the bee-beach and we had to add another bath for the birds the bees displaced from that one! No, the bees do not like birds on their beach and will make that known.
The birds love the rough concrete texture and shallow pool too as it makes for safe footing while bathing. With such a shallow dish, you have to refill often, but that works to eliminate mosquitos since if you ignore it you will have a dry bowl in about 48 hours. Not that you would let it go dry since everything needs water now. The queue to every bird dish we have is several birds deep on many hot afternoons.
Even with deeper wildlife dishes, as long as you dump and refill every 5 days or so, you’ll never raise any mosquitos since they take 7 days to mature… If you are just starting to provide water for wildlife, remember to have containers at ground level as well as traditional birdbaths. There are many critters that can’t drink from an elevated birdbath…like rabbits, turtles, skinks, lizards, etc. (But nix all this info if you have free roaming cats—you don’t want to lure wild creatures to their death.)
Keeping fresh, accessible and safe water sources in many areas around Larrapin has increased the bird and wildlife more than any other single thing we’ve done. How do you provide water for wildlife in your garden?
—A Larrapin Garden www.larrapin.us
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