At my old house, I was privileged to entertain many different species of birds and wildlife. We had a secluded yard in an urban area that was over 60 years old. The house backed onto a cemetery and at the foot the yard were a number of huge ancient trees. We never failed to have countless visitors to entertain us and our four cats.
Just under six years ago, we moved to a new-build townhome on the outskirts of a country village in Southern Ontario. Our front and back yards were mounds of dirt and pools of rainwater where, occasionally, Canada geese would land, and crows would roost on the roof signalling when a storm was coming.
It was not easy to leave behind the wealth of wildlife I had been pleased to witness and nurture on my back porch in the city. The new house would take some time to cultivate and attract my feathered and furry friends.
Summer of 2011, we had sod at the front and back, but after planting a few of my favourite trees, a Shubert Chokecherry outside the great room window, a Mountain Ash in behind the deck off of the kitchen, and a row of Black Cedars at the foot of the garden, we did begin to see some birds. Robins, grackles, red-wing blackbirds and finches (house and gold) came to my feeders. We had rabbit visitors, but no squirrels!
It took five years to see our first one. On March 17 of this year, a gray squirrel showed up in the yard. We christened him “Paddy”, in honour of St. Patrick’s Day. He now has a few rivals for the peanuts in the shell that I toss onto the deck.
It has taken me, personally, some time to feel the affinity for this house and garden, that I once felt at my former home. Part of my love has grown largely because we chose to remove the front lawn and instead have a variety of trees and perennials and rocks installed. I spent this past spring and summer tending to every single living thing at the front and back and for the first time, even on hot days, I was outside caring for my personal landscape and its occupants as if they were my friends.
Winter is nearly upon us, and we have already been battered with a substantial amount of snow. I am delighted that one of my favourite types of birds has chosen to make its winter home in my yard. I regularly have a host of juncos coming for sustenance and this has inspired me to share my experience this season as I tend to their requirements and make this a welcoming place where they will return again and again.
Drop in and I’ll share the experience in photos, poetry and prose.
Thanks for visiting,