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Gardening For Wildlife #52 A Rambling Ron
January 28, 2008

Welcome new readers.

Nine straight days of well below normal temperatures and snow fall and accumulation in some form or fashion.

It has been so cold, I haven't been able to take Keet for her nightly walk. She gets quite emotional when I leave without her.

Sunday,s partly sunny sky was a giant welcome.

Today promises to be in the low 40's with a chance of rain.

We'll see what happens and maybe I can take Keet on a walk.

Ziggy is pretty much house trained, so that is good news.

Chew toys and sprays have helped on his chewing habit, but we still need to keep certain things out of harms way.

One thing about the snow and cold, it has brought more bird activity to all the feeding stations.

Seven pair of Northern cardinals are busy much of the day.

Against the white back drop the red birds really stand out.

Yolanda really enjoys the Cardinals.

Anytime she lets us know she see them out her window, she will say how they love our yard.

Every time she will say that.

Short term memory is an issue from her car accident (brain injured).

I love watching birds and wildlife, it's relaxing, entertaining and educational.

As far back as I can recall, watching birds was a favorite of mine.

When I have the time, I also write for Windstar Wildlife Institute.

Tom Patrick, the main man there sent me a book titled:

"Last Child in the Woods" by Richard Louv.


What a rush of childhood memories the book brought back and what a reality check it gave me about today.

It has been several years since I thought about or talked about catching "Mud Puppies" or building forts.

Exploring a new woods or field and letting the imagination go wild.

I tell Karen (my wife) and others that I had the best childhood and these are many of the reasons why.

Remember how a large cardboard box could entertain you for hours?

Riding bikes, catching frogs or chasing girls with a little Garter snake.

It seems all that has or is disappearing.

Now days, it is more important to have a TV in every room and each child has his/her own video game of some sort.

I know several of you have kids and grand kids so read this part very carefully.

We have been programmed to be afraid of the unknown or the bogey-man.

Don't let your child go outside and play, it isn't safe.

Your child might skin a knee, or get stung by a bee or other insect.

Yet we played outside all the time.

We didn't have cell phones to keep in touch and most of us lived miles away from the nearest doctor yet alone hospital.

Now our kids play in controlled environments or situations.

Enclosed play areas at fast food restaurants and what about "Chuckie Cheese"?

Now take a moment and think of how many children are running around or playing in the enclosed tunnels or ball pits.

Do you wonder how many snotty nosed kids are pressing their face to the clear plastic bubbles or the balls in the ball pit?

What about other germs are being passed around?

Do you think these areas get cleaned regularly?


Laws regulate food and those conditions, but not play areas.

Do you remember how your folks made you play outside and said it was good for you?

Well, it was and is in several ways.

We get fresh air

Our imagination could run wild

Our creativity would build forts and other things.

We were healthier all the way around on the most part.

The book goes on as it mentions research being done to suggest that ADHD it attributed to the lack of outdoor play.

Face, if you are in your late 40's and older, we never heard of such a thing and there were very few kids that would act up in the class room.

Now it seems like every other kid is labeled ADHD and put on some kind of pill.

It suggests and research is showing that out door play helps creative minds and makes them sharp and aware of things, while the TV/video game brain is all that.

I know, it is difficult when natural areas are being destroyed and sub-divisions have rules against certain things like tree forts.

But you can take time to take a child to the park.

More times than not, a child will gravitate to the edges.

Why not, that is where the real action is and a little brain can discover a whole new world.

As you really get into "Gardening For Wildlife" you will understand the importance of insects, birds, chipmunks and a child's wide open mind.

You will know the importance of keeping your gardens less groomed.

By keeping your gardens a bit on the natural side, you, your kids and grand kids will discover little ecosystems right in front of you.

That is science.

Amazing isn't it?

Research suggests that children that play outside are more aware of their surroundings. All of their senses are sharper than the child that stays in or plays on a concrete play ground.

Children are more creative and healthier.

And we need that for our future and their future.

Some schools and communities are getting the idea and see the big picture, but like so many things, it starts at home.

Is this part stewardship?

I think so, don't you?

Today, most kids can tell you about the importance of the "Amazon Rain Forest" and the effects it has on our planet, but they can't tell you what is in your backyard.

Why is that?

I'm not pushing the book, but if you have the time to read 300 pages and $13.95 American, than I suggest you get "Last Child in the Woods"

Before I forget, a "Mud Puppy" is an aquatic salamander. For a picture of one, just Google mud puppies.

They are way too cool.

I know, not a typical newsletter, but I had to share that with you.

It was a real eye opener for me and now I understand more on why I am who I am and why I feel the need to take my grandson with me on some nature walks.

A trip down memory lane and some eye openers for today.

Yes, I had the best childhood and I want that for todays kids too.

A simple bird feeder for your deck or even to lay in your yard is an old window screen (you can frame in screening as well).

We use one on our patio table on the deck.

I sprinkle seed in a circle so the birds can feed from everywhere and by doing a circle, it minimizes bird pooh getting on the feed.

As you can imagine, birds do get sick when they have their face in other birds droppings.

You can shake the screen off at anytime and start over.

Yes, I have to clean snow off on a regular basis, but it works and the birds flock to it.

The screen is easy to clean.

I also place screens under some of my feeders to reduce the mess.

Consider it a huge platform feeder without legs and much cheaper as well.

If rodents or other creatures are a problem, you can bring it in at night and put it back out the following day.

We enjoy a mixed flock 5 feet from our view everyday with our screen on table feeder.


It's time to fly for now

Please feel free to write me and I promise I will return your mail. You can give me a quick hi our ask some questions.

I don't have all the answers, but I will return your mail.

Remember to smile and be sure to share it with a stranger. You will be blessed in more ways than you realize.

More important,

You will have made someone's day.

God was gracious to give us a wonderful planet to live on

He also made us stewards of Planet earth.

We are responsible for its well being.

Are we doing enough to ensure earth's future for our grand children?

Recycle, plant a tree and use less water etc.

All are great examples of stewardship we can practice and pass on to our youth.

No longer can we look at earth as a disposable planet.

Most weeks I end this letter with a certain Indian saying that I believe holds true even more so today.

I will end this letter with that same saying.

Until next time.
"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please feel free to forward them to friends and family or have them sign up for their own copy. Thank You.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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