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Saturday, July 3, 2010

Watching The Grass Grow

Watching The Grass Grow, and thinking about the things I am not going to do today.

I write about it all the time in this blog. I can sit for hours watching the grass grow. I pay the young gentleman next door to mow it when it gets too long. There is a little more to it than just that, but not much. What I mean when I say I was just watching the grass grow is that I am sitting on my deck under my guy-zebo. Relaxing. No stress. No pressure. Think... ZEN!
(The youngest of my two awesome sons named it the guy-zebo, and it stuck. Guys, and Heinlein-type women are welcome.)

I live in town, so I have a yard that is only about 50 x 90 feet, and part of that is occupied by an above-ground pool. There is a 6 foot privacy fence around it that is about ready to fall down in the next light breeze.  The local wildlife goes over, under, around, and through my fence. So, what I am saying is that there isn't all that much grass. But the grass I do have...  grows... and grows... and I watch it.

Yeah, maybe I have a few flowers too. They cheer me up.

There is actually a lot to see. For being in the middle of town, I have a lot of nature creeping into my yard. OK, some of the nature overflows into the neighbors yard, too. That is OK. I can still see it.

So, I was sitting on the deck one morning a few weeks ago, and I was thinking about writing this post. I made a list of the birds I saw.

Starlings - nesting in neighbors yard - yuck!
Mourning Doves - nesting in neighbors yard.
House Wrens - nesting in neighbors yard - beautiful song.
Carolina Wren - makes me up in the morning sometimes - really annoying hissy-whistle.
Mourning Doves
Lots of Robins - nesting all over the place. Family name is Turdus... that about says it all.
Hummingbird - were 3, only seen 1 female since the tornado.
Catbird -more on him later. 
House Finch - male looks like a Purple Finch with a rose colored head.
House Sparrow - really a finch, and a nuisance.
Goldfinches - I have no idea what they are doing in my yard, but they are bright yellow and pretty to watch.
Swallows - probably Barn Swallows - eatin those bugs.
I also hear Nighthawks after dark, but have not actually seen them.
Oh yeah, and a pair of Cardinals!

There are 3 bird  mimics in Ohio: The Northern Mockingbird, The Southern Mockingbird, and the Catbird. The first 2 are rarely found this far north, and the Catbird is the weakest of the 3. Well, this little Catbird sure tries. He sings a song that starts out like a Wren, then a Robin, and then a Cardinal, with a few of his own chirps and meows thrown in whenever he feels like it. He really sings his little heart out. It is really pleasant to hear.

 The male Cardinal is always singing, except when he is lurking in the vines on my fence hunting for bugs. He weaves in and out, and gets himself into some crazy positions as he works his way along the fence.

I also have a mole sent by the Devil to destroy my yard. I really miss my dog. He destroyed the yard even worse catching them, but he really enjoyed it, and I enjoyed his company.

Then there is the squirrel population. I have a few Fox Squirrels. A few Gray Squirrels, and some black variants of the Gray Squirrels. They are really kinda boring unless they fall off the telephone wire or something. I can hope.

And I have a couple adult rabbits, and a couple baby bunnies. That is why I also have a fence around my garden. It also keeps the weeds in.

One morning a few weeks ago, the baby bunny was racing around in my flower bed. He was zig-zagging in and out around and about the flowers at top speed - which is pretty fast if you are a baby bunny. I watched him, and the naturalist in me thought about how this type of play would help prepare him to evade a predator. Then I realized that was not what it was all about. He was racing around my flowers for the pure joy of it.  He was just happy to be a baby bunny on a beautiful morning.

So what does a baby bunny have to be so happy about? After all, the only thing on the food chain lower than a baby bunny is... Clover?

You can learn a lot from a baby bunny... I did.

Then the little frakker started eating my flowers, so I chased him into the neighbors yard. He can just be happy over there!

So, what I am saying is that when I am watching the grass grow, it isn't exactly boring. My backyard has a lot going on to fill a lazy day when there is Cotton In My Lime Jell-O. Sometimes my neighbor even stops by for a visit, and to complain about those bunnies eating the flowers. Shhhhhhh..... the bunnies are happier over there anyway.

Comments are welcome.


  1. I like this. And also I miss Logan too. He and Twitch woulda been good friends

  2. I find it very interesting that your comments about apathy do not seem to include apathy toward nature...only humans.


  3. Har! Ian, I shudder to think of Log-A-Dog and 64 as a team. Brains & brawn. Best they never met. Just picture the trouble they could have gotten into - and hairballs the size of a Volkswagen! ; )

  4. Thanks for the comment, Karan.

    I think my apathy does include "nature" also. It isn't apathy in the classic dictionary sense, but more initiating an action - doing things. Motivation. Not a lack of caring about it. It influences everything. In that sense I cannot remember the last time I got out and went for a walk in the park by myself. That is something I used to do at least weekly - camera in hand. I have not been to the Nature Conservancy property this year! I need that little extra push - going for a walk with someone.

    Sometimes my motivation is to share some of the knowledge I have as a naturalist while I still can. Sometimes it is just for the exercise. Observing nature from the swing in the guyzebo, and getting out and doing are different. It is easier to just think about it than to do something about it.

    I think people and relationships are more emotional, and complex, so that is spread out over more areas of the brain.

    In any case, it feels different to me. It is confusing to me, too.

  5. Thanks for the comments, Curious Reader.

    The Catbird is back again this Spring, but so far has mostly been making the normal Cat-like sounds. I haven't heard the really elaborate song like last year. Maybe it is a different bird.