Monday, May 16, 2011

Back to Nature in 2 States

Having 2 homes with slightly different garden environments offers us many opportunities to experience nature up close and personal. Last week I was exploring our Vermont yard to learn more about the critters and plants that live there.

So far I've discovered our small piece of the Green Mountain state is home to native wildflowers (colts foot, trout lily and a few not yet showing their identities), salamanders (LOTS) under the front walk marble stepping stones, squirrels (red and grey),  many birds (flickers, cardinals, crows, robins, chickadees, titmice, snow birds, woodpeckers - downy and pileated) and far too many pine trees (more on that in a future post).

This week we're working on garden cleanup in Pennsylvania while the birds - cardinals, robins, orioles, scarlet tanagers, sparrows, chickadees, gold finches, hummingbirds, a few starlings, doves, hawks, mallard ducks and wild turkeys (I can hear them in the woods but haven't spotted them in the garden this year ... yet) and plenty of wild critters (squirrels, chipmunks, deer, rabbits) are busily establishing their homes in and around our garden.

We were working on weeding the natural (read: somewhat overgrown and wild) borders on Sunday when Doug discovered a new creature from the reptile/amphibian clan who's moved into our wildlife habitat: a snapping turtle made a home in the brook that runs alongside our property line between our garden border and the neighboring field. It's a younger one, but it's fiesty. He's probably planning to feast on the crayfish, salamanders, toads, snakes and frogs that are already living here.

All this wildlife is food for creative expression with the result being new amphibian coloring pages. Check out my new salamander coloring page.  More are on the drawing board.

It's going to be an interesting nature photo spring and summer. Watch for more photos and more artwork!

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