In Praise of the Earth

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A “big red” Begonia and blue pot I got this week

Why are those rabbits mine? David asks. You like them and I have to blame someone for their voracious habits, I tell him the next time he calls me to the door to “see the cute little bunny.”

Johnny caught and killed a baby rabbit last year, but that hasn’t prevented their nighttime forays.

My strawberry plants are about to produce, and I wonder if I will get single one this year.  I don’t know if the rabbits ate them last year, or the birds, or something else, but every one of them disappeared.  I filled a hanging planter with little strawberry plants this year but the birds are sure to find them as well as the plants in the strawberry jars.

Just as well I seldom eat strawberries…the litttle seeds get in my teeth and cause problems.  But its the principle of the thing. Besides these little fraises de bois strawberries have extremely small seeds that don’t seem to bother me.  When I’m in the garden, I pop the sun-warmed berries in my mouth, mash them with my tongue and swallow them. For a few seconds the taste is startling, nothing like these monstrosities sold in supermarkets.

Ah well such is life for the gardener.

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Yesterday being Earth Day, we celebrated with a new “under the sink” container to capture kitchen compost.  This time I’m using biodegradable bags for the refuse.  You simply lift the little bag out and take it to your compost bin (we have four of them).  Or, here in Arlington County, you can use the new green roller bin to capture bags of compost and yard waste. This morning the egg shells, grapefruit rinds and coffee grounds all went into the composter.  No meat products allowed, which is just as well because we seldom eat meat anyway.

I also have two trugs for collecting garden waste outside and use biodegradable garden bags I buy at Trader Joes. No dog poop allowed in these bags, all that is flushed down the toilet, per county regulations. Pick it up, pick it up is their mantra, even in your own yard. I wouldn’t leave it lying in the garden anyway.

I was really tickled yesterday to discover the Clethra I thought was dead was really alive…it put forth nice green leaves.  And the Serviceberry tree I planted last year finally proved it was alive also.  Even though we live on the East Coast we’ve had very dry weather recently, so everything looked a bit iffy for a while.

Only my Fothergilla looks as if it is in distress.  The Fothergilla means a lot to me because Joy and I planted it when she was in six-grade and president of the Ecology Club.  Its raining today, I hope the little shrub recovers.

                                                       ***

Lately, I’ve been bird-spotting for Audubon.  This means when I see a bird in my backyard I list the bird on my Audubon Ap.  The nearest cross-reference for me is Arlington Cemetery, so plenty of birds are linked to that reference point by me and other neighbors.

This activity is great fun because you can use the Ap to locate bird sighting hot spots which are plentiful for us because Arlington is bordered by the Potomac River and the edge of the river is lined with many trees. We also have numerous parks and green spaces and many yards are like mine.  Given we are on the eastern flyway, many of the birds like the Hermit Thrush we feed are headed north for the summer.

Think of the flyway as a bird highway where Felicity the Northern Parula on her way from Cuba to Nova Scotia says to mate Frank, “lets rest in Arlington where we can find a place to stay overnight and get a good meal.”

Northern_Parula_by_Dan_Pancamo

Northern Parula; Photo by Dan Snyder

26 thoughts on “In Praise of the Earth

  1. I love your explanation of the flyway stop-overs — I’m pretty sure it works just exactly like that!!! That app you have for the Audubon reporting and knowing where to find the birds is wonderful! I’d like that, but I think I’d be in serious trouble if I tried to keep up with your beautiful yard and all the work. More power to you. It sounds absolutely beautiful and I hope the plant you and your granddaughter put in recovers. That is too special a memory to lose!

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    • You can set the the Ap to look for birds near you, wherever you are. As for the Fothergilla, it’s lost it’s flowers (blooms once per year) but putting out new leaves. In Mother Natures hands with help from a hose.

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  2. Hello, I am looking forward to some strawberries. We had to put chicken wire around the garden with the strawberries. I love your Northern Parula photo. Happy Monday, enjoy your new week ahead!

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  3. Why don’t you cover your strawberries? Yes, nothing is better than home grown anything, but they have to survive so you can eat them. Is there an electric bunny warning thinngy you can install? Just thinking out loud. You do sound great.

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    • My Dad built elaborate wire covers to keep the bird out. Didn’t stop us kids, however. This year I have strawberries in a hanging planter. Birds will probably peck them, but they are not as voracious as the bunnies.

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  4. I am interested in your County’s response to dog poo – ie flush it down the toilet. I have always wondered if it was a good idea to simply put it in a bin, but then that is what is done in public places. Sorry for the fascination, I really do think all the recycling is great. Blessings from Dalamory

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    • We can throw it in the trash and our county burns it or down the toilet where it s processed. Just don’t leave it in your yard or put it in a compost bin. Our County is very green. This is not true for all jurisdictions.

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  5. I saw rabbits were feasting on landscapes and container gardens in my brother’s Hampton, VA neighborhood during an early morning walk on a summer visit years ago. They we cute but bold, hopping up on porches to dine.

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  6. I use to compost but lately I’ve been piling up the fallen leaves to build up the turf in my yard. My yard is low so that when it rains it usually puddles for a while. The one spot I tried it out came through the last rain pretty well. I’ve also been thinking of getting the son to build a worm bed. That would add to my flower beds I think.

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    • Worm beds are great. They could turn your leaves into compost in no time. Granddaughter Joy and I built one a dozen years ago. In addition to leaves which can be very acidic, we also used shredded paper for their nests.

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  7. I remember my Dad composting when I was a little girl. He was an avid gardener, his roses were the talk of the neighborhood. We had rabbits who used to eat the clover in the front of the house. When we got rid of the clover no more rabbits. I was quite sad for a while but then I didn’t grow strawberries 🙂

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    • The benefit of composting is the most beautiful fertile soil ever. Ive amended my garden soil with compost for over 30 years. You can imagine how beautiful it is. I too grow great flowers although my roses are climbers that could survive almost anywhere. The landscaper from Merrifield was quite impressed with one of them, however. 🌹

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  8. Lovely to see the dead plants rise. I miss having a garden. Hope you get to enjoy a few strawberries before the critters take them. The flavors of homegrown are so much better.

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  9. Good, I am glad you keep a compost bin. We don’t have that here in Hawaii. I have a green bin for yard clippings and branches, a blue bin for paper, plastics and glass, and a grey bin for everything else.

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