suburbia wild

Nature Knows No Bounds

March 19, 2014 - 4:11pm -- swingbug

Last night, I was startled by an unexpected frog, Weasley caught a moth in the backyard that was so big I thought it was a bird and tried to rescue it, and then a centipede decided to join me in the shower.

Plague of locusts, anyone?

For the record, I'm not generally squeamish of frogs, but padding out to the mailbox in bare feet, I placed my foot on the sidewalk next to leaf roughly half the size of my foot. When the "leaf" alarmedly hopped away, I alarmedly hopped in the other direction.

As to the centipede, well, that's just rude. A gentleman would knock first.


April 23, 2011 - 1:47pm -- swingbug

A sinkhole opened up in my neighborhoodthis week. No joke. Right across the street from the park. It started as a underground pipe with a crack in it. Water flows down-gradient, as my soil science professors in college were so fond of chanting. The groundwater found the pipe and the soil stuck with the water. Erosion through the layers and before you know it, there's a frog on the bump on the log in the middle of the sea.

Or a hole in the middle of the street anyway.

Audrey 2

July 1, 2009 - 1:32pm -- swingbug

I love artichokes. We planted two in the great garden escapade of 2009. One produced a flower. It was hard to resist eating such a beautiful blossom, but they’re commonly 4 for $4 at the grocery store and never to seen at the florist.

If I had a garden in my summer home on Planet Kuzbane, the path would be lined with these.

Good-for-Nothing Runaway Mayzie

May 31, 2009 - 9:18pm -- swingbug

People have been inquiring after the ducks. Yes, I still have ducks. Nine of them. Mama Duck hung around for the first day and then took off, presumable on vacation far away in Palm Beach. And here I am. With ducks. We lost one little one on their first night without mom, but the rest are doing well and living large.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

May 17, 2009 - 9:47am -- swingbug

On Friday I went out to the garden to pick some snow peas for dinner. My entry into the yard caused a hasty exit by some smaller creature and I decided to investigate. A small picket fence separates the garden from a strip of dirt behind the garage where we store potting soil and old terra cotta pots. I expected when I peered over the fence to see a cat or perhaps one of the feral chihuahuas that prowl the neighborhood (I kid you not) but what met my gaze was... a duck.


More rustling. The duck has friends. Little friends. Lots of little friends.


Quite Contrary

March 25, 2009 - 8:59am -- swingbug

One of the problems with vegetable plants being sold in six-packs is that you’re going to get six ripe somethings all at once. Some of these suckers are big. Shawn harvested a couple of bok choi last night and left them in the kitchen. I walked into the room and found that our dining table had disappeared underneath Audrey 2. Mean green mother from outer space, indeed.

With all the greens coming in at once, we took a page from Tomorrowland’s book and let one or two of each keep on growing and flower.

We found some surprising things.

Garden Party

January 31, 2009 - 1:45pm -- swingbug

The bok choy growing in my garden is throwing a party, happy to be alive. It makes me want to plant myself in a lawn chair next to it in the sunshine and unfurl.

Looking out my Backdoor

January 12, 2009 - 12:41pm -- swingbug

Have I mentioned how much I love my new backyard? I love my new backyard. Who takes on landscaping projects in the dead of winter, you ask? Us, apparently. Though I would point out that yard work in the middle of a Central Valley winter makes a lot more sense then yard work in the middle of a Central Valley summer. 50ºF or 100ºF; you choose.


July 8, 2008 - 3:00pm -- swingbug

There is a house on the short walk between me and the grocery store that recently planted half a dozen huge sunflowers in the front yard. The flowers are planted beyond the lawn up against the house and were clearly intended to face west towards the street.

These people must be new around here.

Sunflowers are sun-worshippers. They face east as if they spend the whole of the long, dark night pining for the dawn, unwilling to miss even one of those first rays each morning.


April 6, 2008 - 9:16pm -- swingbug

I can’t resist pansies this time of year. They just look like spring. Home improvement projects took me on multiple trips to the hardware store this past weekend and on the last of these trips, 3 six-packs of pansies followed me home.

I’m not an avid gardener. Perhaps because it’s something my mom and sister are both naturally good at and so I’ve stayed out of it. Based on the historical record, green things turn brown when I touch them. I’m much better with mammals; they get in your face when you forget to feed them.


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