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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!).

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