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Backyard Musings

April 21, 2016
(c) Megan Draheim, 2016

(c) Megan Draheim, 2016

Spring has really, fully sprung! Our spring flowers are in full bloom, our trees are leafing out (or, in the case of our dogwood above, flowering), the weather is warming up, and suddenly everything is just alive again.

I’ve been working near our back door a lot lately, and so am getting the chance to notice all of the action going on in our yard. The cardinal couple that’s taken up residence have been quite busy lately; both have been seen flying around the yard on a daily basis. Our chipmunks have also been seen scampering across our patio (this especially mesmerizes one of our dogs, who sometimes watches closely from behind the door!). Some species of bees are once again buzzing around some of our early blooming plants (we have flowers throughout the season for them). And I saw our resident melanistic squirrel being chased by a “regular” grey squirrel the other week. The newcomer meant business, and went tearing after our black squirrel — up and down trees, over the fence into our neighbors yard, and up their dogwood, where the chaser promptly jumped at the chasee, causing them both to fall quite a ways to the ground. There was a pause in action, and then they were at it again. I was worried that our black squirrel might get chased off (grey squirrels are territorial), but the next day and the next he was back, so all appears to be well. Black squirrels tend to be uncommon in the mid- and southern-part of the East Coast (much more common in New England and Canada), but they’re relatively common in DC, for reasons that I’ll share soon!

All of this reminds me that we’re only sharing the land with our non-human neighbors. So slow down and take a minute to notice the spring activities of your neighbors, and perhaps give them a thought as you’re choosing what to plant in your garden this year (natives!), and how you’re going to plant it (organic!).

52 Weeks of Urban Nature Week 18: Shapes Edition

April 17, 2016
Washington, DC, (c) Megan Draheim, 2016

Washington, DC, (c) Megan Draheim, 2016

I’ve mentioned before how much I love tree bark, right? This caught my eye on a walk with the dogs — gorgeous graphic shapes, I thought.

52 Weeks of Urban Nature Week 17: Reflections Edition

April 9, 2016

 

Louisville, KY, (c) Megan Draheim 2016

Louisville, KY, (c) Megan Draheim 2016

Still playing catch-up!

I was in Louisville a few weeks ago and found this image, walking along the waterfront. The waterfront there has always puzzled me a bit — it’s a grand riverfront with what could be a great path walkway, but it’s almost all paved. In fact, this little bit of green is pretty much the only green I saw! I hope there are plans in the future to turn this into a much more useable, pleasant space — one that will help the residents of Louisville get to know their river a bit better.

52 Weeks of Urban Nature, Week Sixteen: Cherry Cherry Edition

April 7, 2016
Washington, DC (c) Megan Draheim, 2016

Washington, DC (c) Megan Draheim, 2016

It was cherry blossom season in DC! One of my favorite times of year. I say “it was” because I am in fact several weeks behind in posting these photos. I’ve been taking them, just not processing and posting them. But I will get caught up soon!

I’ve written about our cherry blossom season before, and it is really one of my favorite traditions — lovely for both locals and tourists alike. I prefer the trees on the Tidal Basin for many reasons (mainly the history behind them and my own personal traditions), but the entire DMV region has adopted this spring-time ritual, so there are other places to stroll around without quite the same crowds.

 

52 Weeks of Urban Nature Week 15: Lionizing Edition

March 13, 2016
Art Institute of Chicago, (c) Megan Draheim, 2016

Art Institute of Chicago, (c) Megan Draheim, 2016

Way back in Week Three of this project, I took a photo of what you might call human-made nature (paper snowflakes). I made the point that, by bringing “nature” inside during the holidays (in the form of Christmas trees, holly, and paper snowflakes, among other things), we were expressing a form of biophilia — our innate love of nature.

We also do this in our public art. I was in Chicago for a conference, staying close to the Art Institute of Chicago, one of my all-time favorite museums. When I was young, the lions in front of the museum played heavily in daydreams anytime I went by. The lions are also a living part of Chicago culture — whenever a sports team is doing well and in the playoffs, they sport the helmet or other gear of that team! By doing so, we’re bringing them into our experience of the city, and (I believe) expressing our love of these bronze animals (would it be the same with two pieces of abstract art? Probably not).

So here’s another example of human-made nature! And one of my all-time favorites, at that.

52 Weeks of Urban Nature Week 14: Shadows

March 3, 2016
Georgetown, Washington, DC (c) Megan Draheim, 2016

Georgetown, Washington, DC (c) Megan Draheim, 2016

Posting a little late this week (well, last week), but rest assured that this photo was taken within the proper time period!

A few years back what was a parking lot was turned into a riverfront park in Georgetown. Lovely views of the Potomac and the Key Bridge. Planted along the edge of the river are tall grasses, and this time of year they’re still a golden brown. It was a warm, sunny late February day, so wonderful shadows everywhere.

52 Weeks of Urban Nature Week 13: Nesting Edition

February 22, 2016
52 Weeks Week 13 twitter

(c) Megan Draheim, 2016. Washington, DC

We have a small dogwood tree in our yard that was graced with a bird’s nest last year. The nest is still there, and I think quite sculptural, especially against the bare branches of the tree!

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