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A Look At My New Back Yard
A knock on our front door leads to...
"Well hello there! Glad you found the place. Yes, it sounds more difficult to find than it really is, I know. Well, knock the dirt off of your feet and step inside. Here, I'll take your coat and hang it in the closet. You will stay for a while, won't you? Good, good! Well step right up and take a gander at my favorite room in the house, our library. My wife calls it the living room but as you can see, I have built in bookshelves! I can finally display al of my books at once! Children's book, westerns, action, thriller, murder mysteries, historical, classic you name it I probably have it. Oh, you noticed my painting on that wall already, eh? Yes, I love that painting. I call it my River Runs Through It painting. See the man with his fly rod wading in the river? Always imagined that to be me. Someday, maybe... And just below it you'll see that I have a letter from the son of the author of A River Runs Through It. The author was Norman Maclean and his son is John Norman Maclean. I sent an email to him one day telling him how much I enjoyed his late father's works and he sent me an actual letter! When I researched John a bit more I found he was one of the Kissinger group that traveled to China back in the day and he is a well known author himself. So now I have a collection of father and son books that I enjoy greatly. They are just over here."
And over there...
"Through that doorway is our dining room. No, I don't understand people who put carpet in a dining room either. Always feel like a spill is about to happen and then what? Around the corner lies the kitchen, big and roomy like my wife likes. We love the retro appliances, even those duel avocado green built in ovens. Down that hallway lie the bedrooms and bathrooms, nothing much else to see there. But here is her favorite room in the house, this comfy living area. Has a fireplace as you can see, and it butts up against the kitchen so as we cook we are still connected to the living area so no one is isolated from visiting. We think that's kind of nice, don't you?"
But on to what I brought you here for, our back yard. Right through these big, heavy sliding doors onto the sun porch/cat room. The cats just love this room! Careful, don't step on their toys, okay? Look at all of the windows, will you? And you'll notice the bird feeders we have placed along the outside of the sunroom so the cats can enjoy a little company. There are birds here all day long! Yes, I built that little "catwalk" along that wall of windows so the cats can climb up and around the room, peering at the birds from their level if they so choose. I think they enjoy that, myself."
Look at those trees!
"Take a look at those trees, will you? That one there is a Tulip Tree. I've always wanted one of those; they have some of the most beautiful flowers in the Spring. And there, that one is an apple tree, as is the one on that corner of the yard. Not too sure what type of apple; I'm not very good at identifying the different kinds of apples. Over there is a Maple tree, and if I am not mistaken, the one in the southeast corner there is a Willow Oak. At least, that's what I believe it to be based on the leaves."
"Oops! Watch your step there! Those are strawberry plants growing in the yard. I guess someone had a strawberry bed here at one time and they just pop up and grow without me doing a single thing other than not mow over them. My daughter can't wait for them to get to the right eatin' size! And over here you'll notice my garden. Yes, that is a strange layout for the fence, isn't it? Seems like that part of the yard should be the neighbor's land but I am assured it belongs with this yard. Anyway, it is some ten feet wide and nearly a hundred feet long so I can grow a decent amount of crops in there for the family. Because we moved in here just last month it is a little late to go whole hog on a garden this year, so I am settling for a handful of tomato plants, a couple of jalapeno plants so I can make some homemade salsa, and of course cucumber plants: some for salads, more for pickles. Why, do you know this ground is so fertile that I planted the pickling cucumber seeds on a Sunday afternoon and by the next Wednesday I had seedlings! I swear! Even by starting late I look to have some pickles by mid next month."
"Thirsty? Me too. What say we make our way back to the sunroom and have a seat and have a glass of tea? Sound good? Then we can watch the birds as they feed. You'll be amazed by the variety we have."
Seated in the sunroom
"That tea okay for you? Not too sweet, is it? Would you like a slice of lemon to accent the flavor? Okay, I'll be happy to get that for you."
"Well, just sit a spell and tell me about how things have been going for you lately. I feel as though I have been dominating the conversation so far. How's you family? Wife and children doing okay you say? Good, good. Oh look there! Sorry, but I just wanted you to see that little bird flying in. See how it uses the trees to work its way in to the feeders? That one lives in the yard next door and flies to the Tulip tree first to see if the coast is clear. There is a gang of Grackles that try to dominate the feeders and they tend to make the other birds a little wary. Here it comes. That is a Downy Woodpecker. Listen closely and you'll hear his song. There it is! Isn't he a pretty little thing? Here comes another bird. I believe that is a Black Capped Chickadee. See how he flits from limb to limb before coming to feed? The Chickadee and Downy Woodpecker get along just fine together. And they do well with the Purple Finch also. He should be along any minute now."
"Uh oh, they see or hear something we can't. See how they went on alert just now? Something's coming that they don't like at all. There they go! And here it comes! It's one of those dratted Grackles. They are bullies, and drive the others off but there's not a lot we can do about it. If we put the food out they find it. And here are their partners in crime, Blue Jays and Starlings. Seems like the Grackles and Jays eat the food and knock a lot onto the ground where the Starlings eat the leftovers. Mourning Doves sometime feed on the ground like that also. Shoo! Get outta here you bullies!"
"If you look closely, you'll see some Robins hopping along over in the corner where that mole tunnels along searching for worms and such. Robins follow along and when a worm tries to escape the mole by going above ground the Robin snatches it up. See that? He got one just then. I can't get rid of the moles, the ground is just so fertile and there are so many worms burrowing around in it. Did you know, when I put up that ornamental wrought iron fence over there I did not even need to use a post driver to put the anchors in the ground? I just leaned on them and they went straight in, no rocks or hard ground at all. I do believe this is the best dirt I have ever seen."
We'll be having dinner soon
"Well, can you smell those ribs in the oven? They've been going for several hours now, should be ready shortly. Would you like to stay for dinner? St Louis style ribs slow cooked for hours, fresh corn on the cob, Mustard 'tater salad, a special kind of baked beans I found that actually has pulled pork in them, and of course all the tea you can drink. Got plenty of food, plenty of napkins and plenty of room so you have to stay. Throw it all together with some good friends and that makes for a wonderful evening. In the meantime, how about playing a little backgammon with me? Or maybe some card games like Spades or Pitch? Makes the time fly by, for sure!"