I today became very aware of the ecology of my back yard.I live in a small house(by American standard) about 1200 square feet of space .It is very nice and my wife keeps it organised and very clean .Thanks to her i have clean clothes and she feeds me with whole grains( some of them i am not crazy about)It is more than enough for us .
We have two and half bedrooms and one and half baths.I say two and half bedrooms as half bedroom is a nice sunny room with twin bed, small table and a wooden cabinet.This no larger than a college dorm .I would still say it is big enough for us to sleep.When Del my brother in law came with his wife and married son with three children .they stayed in our bigger rooms and we stayed in this half room or dorm style room in our house. As i remember it was great joy and fun time.We got to make whole family as our close friends.I think we all are better for it.
We had a large oak tree in the yard of our neighbor on the back side. I am using the term had as we do not have it any more.This was a really grand old oak tree.Must have been fifty feet tall and covered parts of his and our back yards.This tree was on south easterly side of his house and blocked the southern sun .Though it provided us shelter from northern wind .It was not our tree we were only passive beneficiaries.Several of large branches have died on the tree.An old lady had lived in this house and she had not trimmed it in years.So it was a memorial to its free growth.Some branches grew long and strong .Squirrels had made a whole colony in their .One could call it a squirrel heaven.Many birds nested in it.They also used it as their mating grounds and living rooms.I imagine some could have lived their all life in the shelter of the tree.They might have to worry about some hawks.We did not feed these birds other than occasional old bread or other food scraps. we have a bird bath in the yard which we often fill with water so these birds can have water to drink and bathe and frolic.These birds have sung us their love songs and have charmed us in effort to charm their mates.
Many colorful birds have been to our yard. It is small yard total lot is 8800 square feet.Larger lot than many in the city(normal is 5000 sq. feet) .My wife has brought a great diversity in the yard .She has planted many fruit trees including plum,cherry,pear and peach.We have taken may be 30 pounds of these sour sweet cherries from our tree.One tree in the front yard has given us this year 75 pound of plums .These are no fancy plums but they are ours and some times we pluck them half ripe and see them in our house get ripened .We enjoy them .My wife gets a kick. We have chosen not to use any chemicals on our plants and we do not use any chemical fertilizers also.Nutrients for the garden are organic.We have compost maker in the yard( that black box with a lid).Our neighbor Tito treats my wife like her daughter and is always trying to help her do the garden work.He helps her plant vegetable.Kale,beans, tomatoes,cucumber,eggplant and peppers and chillies are the normal mix.Tito also lets us pick grapes from his wines .Which my wife loves and I have also learned to enjoy.As we pick them at different stages of ripenness .They have different level of sweetness to them but 100 percent fun.
Oh i forgot to tell you about the new owner of the house in the back he fixed the house for his two kid to inherit someday.Fixed everything,changed windows and this large oak tree became victim of this progress and rejuvenation.Their goes this housing colony of birds and squirrels habitat.Not that i love the squirrels that much some people tell me they remind them of rats.But all this nature because of this big oak survived and flourished.I miss this tree now while it is gone and i am sure all the birds and animals also miss them much more.
I have few other very caring neighbors.My next door neighbor loves the cats she rescues them and get them neutered and feeds them.These large number of cats though do not reproduce but have unchallenged kingdom .Without the tree ( i had also removed several dyeing 25 foot tall miserable looking pine trees from the border of my lot in rear.We have tried to build a green wall in the back with trees and shrubs .They cover half of the back and now neighbor has put Nice six foot wooden fence which defines our lots and i am nostalgic of kids and dogs playing in neighbors back yard.I do not like fences my wife thinks it is better for her it is not that she is skinny dipping in the back yard or even in the house.
I do not see many birds in the yard now.Have the cats eaten them.Ran them scared or they have gone some other place as their home was destroyed .I miss their song , chirping.Red wood peckers always charmed me.Blue jays how i miss them.I even miss the sparrows,robins,crows and doves. I am even starting to miss squirrels.Are they the proverbial parakeet in the coal mine.
My challenge is to bring my birds back. How i can tell my cat loving neighbors that we will have to restrict them so the birds may come back and sing again .I did not ask my wife but i would not mind if many people visited our garden with may be 150 variety of plants.Butterfly's made it home.bees and bumble bees have approved her choice of plants.I hope birds will give a vote of confidence for the type of plants we have planted.By the way some of the fruits remain for birds as they either do not ripe or are eaten before they do.My wife now accepts that part of the crops are for the gods other creature so that they may give us joy by being there.
As fall cleaning many paper bags have been filled with leaves .I thought we will compost them in our vegetable garden area. May be others are not convinced yet.
PS we have no lawn in front shrubs of different heights cover the front.From early spring to late fall some sort of flowers are always blooming in front.In the lawn in front or back we always have dandelions and clover ,adding color and charm to the lawn .We have electric lawn mower we have used for five years with joy.I even help some times.
I MISS THAT GRAND OLD OAK TREE.I really do.