Backyard Bliss

Backyard Bliss

I’m sure the first thing someone thinks about when they see this picture is, “what was in the glass? Why is it empty?” And those were questions worthy of asking. The glass had been full, but I drank it all and decided because of the nature of the drink, I didn’t want any more of the liquid that occupied the glass just a few short moments before I took the photo.

I was sitting in a comfortable patio couch, under a ceiling fan that made the heat just this side of bearable. The candles, which I have mistakenly called carbonella candles, or chandelier candles, were lit to keep the mosquitoes at bay. These candles work well for me. For Heidi, nothing works. The mosquitoes forge onward into the distasteful carbonella fumes, knowing that her ankles are well worth the discomfort they face in getting there. But we light them nonetheless, for they do provide a certain ambience to the setting, and protection for those who are less attractive to the flying reminders of the curse of the original Garden.

What you cannot see in the picture, are the dozens of tiny toads jumping through the grass, looking to take as many mosquitoes as possible for dinner. The owner of the backyard was quite surprised to see the number of toadlets this year, given that they need standing water in order to propagate their species. He has plenty of water to provide for the propagation. You can see the fountain in his photo.

To the left of the yard, is a caterpillar garden. For those ignorant to such things, caterpillar gardens are gardens that grow certain plants that are attractive to butterflies. If you remember from your biology classes in the fifth grade, caterpillars become butterflies unless they are eaten by the nearby wasps that make such gardening a challenge. The wasps, also blaring reminders of the curse of the first Garden, love to feed the caterpillars to their young. It’s the vicious nature of the fall. But the fall isn’t enough to keep the garden from being successful. The owners of the garden told me that in a few short months, the garden would be full of caterpillars, and then butterflies. Actually, the butterflies come first, then the caterpillars.

On the fountain in the picture, there were a dozen or so honeybees taking a drink. The owner said that they made a nest in the back part of his wall. The neighborhood, instead of having the typical wooden fences, and less attractive chain-link fences, had brick walls, which make excellent neighbors. The brick walls have brick columns every 8 feet or so. In one along his back fence, the bees found an opening and have been working to fill the hollow column with a hive ever since. The owner plans on adding an additional portion on top of the column, since bees build upwards, they will inhabit the top portion and he  can eventually harvest the honey. Smart man.

As you look at the picture, in the right-hand corner, you can see just a bit of tree. I can’t remember the species, but it’s not a live oak, which I did discern that the owner did not like live oaks because they tend to lose their leaves in the spring, and not the fall. But the tree, which shaded most of the backyard, also had an owl’s nest in it. Or at least that was the goal. There is apparently one owl family in the small town where they reside and two owls nests. Owls never build their own nests, but will take over abandoned nests. The owner put the nest in the tree to see if they could attract the family to their place. So far, the owls have spent time in the nest. I guess they were surveying it, before making it there home. But in the end, they opted for the nest they have been using across town. The owner did get a peak into the nest while the survey was taking place. He has a security camera placed next to it, so that if he can persuade the owl family to take up residence there, they can live stream the family on the internet.

Finally, to the right of the fountain is another tree, only this tree is dead. The bark has fallen off, and the leaveless limbs have been trimmed back for safety sake. About halfway up the tree, is a duck’s nest. Apparently, not all ducks nest on the ground. The owner has seen the particular species of ducks in their backyard, and they are hoping the ducks will take up residence there was well. And yes, there is a security camera to capture it all in the event that the ducks take advantage of the home.

What a neat backyard. I was somewhat envious. After we ate dinner, we all went out in the evening air to enjoy the sounds of the frogs in the trees and the stars in the sky. That is the story of backyard bliss.

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