Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Who's Been Walking in My Yard?

Advantage of all that snow-I have a record of who has been walking in my Back Forty. Throughout this last winter there were squirrel & deer tracks, many sizes of bird "shoes" and one morning a solitary track from a coyote traipsing across the front drive! (You can just make out the tracks coming up the slope from the Green Belt and through to the drive).
Since this last winter was colder than any during the last three or four decades, and the snow fall (4 feet by mid-March) three times what we usually get, I was surprised to see that many animals out and about.
Our bird feeder was busy with tiny chickadees, finches and other birds that we hadn't seen in previous winters. Snow shoveling was a twice daily chore, so it was easy to sympathize with all those visitors. Watching them reinforced the need to design this back garden to welcome the resident animals, not attempt fence them out. Tiny chickadees are easy to welcome, but black squirrels and deer not so easy. Fences will not slow them down either.
The bears- a mother and her three cubs- that we enjoyed watching as they strolled along the back of our lot, and climbed over the neighbours fence will not be a feature this year. That is a sad tale for another post, but bears must be part of this plan.
I can see that I will need to plan for winter food for these creatures, along with plants that will provide snacks through all the seasons.
A challenge!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

My Goodness! What The Snow Reveals.

Welcome to my tale about the wilderness in my back yard.

We had been ignoring this space (No ones goes there/ You can't see it from the front street/ The squirrels and bears do like it), but a long winter of snow - 4 feet! - showed the emptiness back there, just trees, sad bushes and bark mulch. Time to make a right turn and create a space the everyone, including me, will want to enjoy.

First step: learn about garden design and native plants.
My yard lives in zone 7/8, half-way up a mountain in a West Coast rain forest. It slopes down into a greenbelt with a small creek at the bottom. Lots of tall cedars and hemlocks live in the greenbelt, but my yard has mostly Salal, Red Alders, some small skinny cedars and lots of 6 foot tall Salmonberry bushes. And 7 stumps.
This is going to be trickier than I thought!