By Jennifer Wyatt
I can’t recall where we got our first “feeding sock” full of nyjer seed but the morning after we hung the ugly thing up, we had such a beautiful show of bright yellow finches, that we were beside ourselves. They were right outside our picture window, so close, so adorable and so full of life. My husband and I stood there cuddled together. Not daring to move other than to sip our coffee, for a very long time. We both teared up then and still will, remembering that moment when our new house felt like a home.
After that I ran out and bought Kaufman’s “Field Guide to Birds of North America” and found out that we’d been blessed with a visit from American Goldfinches and Lesser Goldfinches, though I take offense at the “lesser” on their behalf! Then I bought another book from the National Wildlife Federation, “Attracting Birds, Butterflies, and Other Backyard Wildlife” and I was hooked.
When we first moved in, the front and back yard of our little house were both blank slates consisting of grass, some very hardy purple vincas in the back and a few boxy bushes around the front, completing that typical 1950s look. What can I say, our house was built in1950. Slowly but surely we put in trees and flowers and our yard came alive with a dazzling variety of living things. I kid you not, at least five kinds of bees, lizards, salamanders, lacewings, ladybugs, praying mantis and a nearly constant parade of butterflies and skippers. Strange bugs appear and I try not to freak out and never use pesticides. Something else comes along and eats them. It all works out if you let it.
Many years later, what I tell our son is that we’re lucky to have our own yard and we should be thankful for such a nice place to play and live. He is well aware that we’re not the only ones who live here. He’s been helping us in the garden since he could walk and he’s gotten an earthly education so far and we call the animals who live in or visit our yard “pets you can’t pet.”
Recently we got our yard certified by the National Wildlife Federation. I was excited to do it and I wanted our son to experience planting the flag in our yard. It’s
A nice special feeling, though I wish we weren’t quite so special. If God made all of these beautiful creatures, shouldn’t we all be making some room for them in our lives? Installing a bird-feeder, a watering hole, a bat box, or even a pot full of flowering plants can open your heart up to the simplest kind of happiness. As I’ve said we call these animals that live here or visit “pets you can’t pet.” If you know that particular joy, then tell a friend and spread the love.