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Gardening For Wildlife, Issue #013 Busy days and the nose knows
April 23, 2007

What a change in the weather huh?

Lots of sunshine and temperatures in the 70's.

Hit the low 80's Sunday.

It wont last, but it was so nice, especially with low humidities.

Rain is forecast, but we do need it.

I am so behind on projects, that I am running myself ragged at times.

Forget any inside jobs on the Honey do list for now.

Two weeks of winter in April put me behind on my yard play.

Add that to not being able to function at all much of last summer and all of Autumn and you can imagine how far behind I must be on my outside work/play time.

One thing nice about wildlife gardens,

Nature doesn't mind if it is unkept.

Nature actually prefers some untidiness.

Why do we call it yard work if it is enjoyable to us?

For me, it is therapy.

Pookie got his spring hair cut this past week.

Some of his hair is left out and some is put in a suet basket for the birds.

For the newer readers, Pookie (Putt) is a Lhasa Apso. You know the dog that gets the hula skirt look if the hair is allowed to grow.

I still manage to take the dogs on walks, but they are shorter and these past few evenings, the walks have included the fields near the woods and by the pond.

Sniffers are glued to the ground as we walk along.

Especially Akita.

Her little nose is going non stop.

Can you imagine all the different scents they pick up?

With noses up to 1,000 times more sensitive than ours, it is mind boggling.

Often we forget about our sniffer.

After a long winter, we long to see green grass, flowers and hear the birds.

Where would we be with out the sense of smell?

Of the humans five senses, touch, taste, sight, hearing and smell, the sense of smell we never lose.

Age can dull or take away the other senses, but the sense of smell is always there.

It's a fact.

Barring a birth defect or an accident, we will always have the ability to smell.

Often when sight or hearing begin to fail, the sense of smell increases.

How pretty things look, but how divine is the smell.

A fresh cut lawn.

The smell of rain or freshly dug earth.

Someone is cooking on the grill tonight.

The intoxicating aroma of lilacs.

Things we don't see, yet the nose and brain receptors recall.

If you grew up on a farm and moved away and 30 years later you drove through farm country, you would recall and remember those same odors.

The same goes for the smell of food, flowers or any other aroma you have encountered in the past.

Our nose, knows.

We should appreciate our beak a bit more than we do.

Plant something for your nose this spring :-)

Much of wildlife finds food by its sense of smell.

It often smells danger even if it can't be seen or heard.

Garden words

Does your Forsythia need pruning?

Now is the time to do it,

Right after blooming or in the case of many, frozen blooms.

Remember to keep some leaf litter under your shrubs and in the flower beds.

Birds are using dead leafs and small twigs for nesting materials.

Other birds enjoy scratching around, knowing a good meal can be a scratch away.

I don't know about you, but I enjoy watching birds hopping back and forth as the move the decaying materials.

By keeping some yard debris in tact, you encourage birds to visit.

As you continue to grow your wildlife gardens, you will continue to attract more birds, butterflies and other kinds of wildlife.

You may get some migrating birds to stop by and maybe stay the season.

It does happen.

Keep your feeders going and by all means, offer fresh water.

You will attract more birds with water.

A proper birdbath should be made of course material, no more than 2" to 3" deep and be a neutral color.

Go to: The importance of fresh water

Click on the new page about birdbaths.

Hummingbirds are a couple of weeks away for me here in SW. MI.

But I know many of you have visitors and regulars by now.

I still have a few juncos.

Besides Tree swallows, the Barn swallows are back.

Let's hope the weather finally stays warm enough to keep the insects out for these birds to feed on.

I get a kick out of the aerobatics of all swallows.

Have you ever observed the swallows following a farmer as he works a field?

Smart birds, they know the farmer dude or dudette kicks up a boat load insects.

A huge smorgasbord for the birds.

Farmers know the importance of birds and encourage their presence.

Well my friend,

It's time to fly for now.

Wear your smiles and it's very important to share them, especially with a stranger.

As always,

"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

Until next time,

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please feel free to forward them to friends and family.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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