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Gardening For Wildlife, Issue #015 a rough week and some tid bits
May 07, 2007

The past few days have been a bit rough around here, so today's letter is a bit of this and that.

This past Thursday, I/we lost a faithful friend and companion.

Pookie , our Lhasa Apso is no longer with us.

We were having some new windows installed and like a thousand other times, Putt would get over protective and charge the door when he saw someone approach.

Just like a thousand times before, I went to go get him and calm him down.

He looked up at me, tried to step back and fell over.

He kicked and barked a couple of times and went into a seizure.

After he stopped moving I picked him up,

He stopped breathing.

I tried mouth to nose and everything.

He passed away in my arms (I'm glad I was with him).

I am heart broken that my companion of 10 years is gone, just like that.

I'm sure it's not my fault, but I feel so guilty about it all. I've had a few good cries and it seems so quite around here.

Sure he was stubborn, and at times would bark to much, yet he was so intelligent.

Sometimes we actually had to spell out words because he could understand at times, like going for a walk.

He was my fur kid.

A smart pooch, he knew when one of us was feeling poorly or in pain.

He would park himself at our feet or our side and watch over us.

Without training, he would let us know when Yolanda was about to have a seizure (caused from her closed head injury).

He was truly a unique and cannot be replaced.

Keet seems a bit lost at times, and is getting some extra attention these days.

We all need it right now.

Our pets become a big part of us don't they?

We wrapped him in his blanket along with his favorite toy, leash and one last treat.

We laid him to rest and gave him a special marker.

I know some of you have lost pets recently and others are dealing with ailing pets, so I know you can relate.

On a much happier note.

Let's have a big Gardening for Wildlife congratulations to Eric and his wife from the Chicago area.

They are proud parents of a baby boy (future gardener and wildlife friend) Named, Peyton.

Peyton was born April 27, weighing in at 8 lbs, 13 oz. and 19.5" long.

Mom and baby are doing great.

Rumor has it that Eric went through a full tank of oxygen and spent more time in recover than mommy and baby.

I think he mumbled something about new dad's have it rough, mom's have 9 months to prepare for parenthood.

Just kidding Eric.

Uh, Eric?...................... Eric?

Congratulations again.

I'm slowly getting some yard fun in.......not enough, but some.

For the first time, we saw an orchard oriole in our yard.

Karen spotted him first and of all places, hanging from the thistle sock.

House wrens are making themselves known.

How can such a small bird have such a loud song?

Wrens can be bullies though.

If you have chickadees nesting, keep an eye out. Wrens will destroy eggs and kill babies.

The first Canada geese babies of the season are at the pond.

Here is another reminder.....................

When planning your wildlife gardens or any gardens, plan things on paper and draw things out as mature plants.

All to often we pack things in to tight to have it look full "right now".

We live in that instant gratification era.

Not so for your gardens.

Fill the open spaces with annuals for now.

Annuals produce season long colors, nectar, pollen, seeds for birds and protection.

If you are like me, you enjoy the colors and the activity they offer in your yard.

Trees grow to various heights and at different rates.

Take that into consideration.

If you have large trees already, thank the folks that came along before you.

They either left them or planted them.

An important thing to remember with conifers.

Spruce retain their branches from the ground up.

A 60 foot spruce will have the shape of a large Christmas tree.

All pines lose their bottom branches as the tree grows taller and ages.

It doesn't matter if it's a Ponderosa pine or a White pine.

All pines lose branches.

You will notice larger pines with out branches on the bottom half of the tree.

Take all of this into consideration when you plant.

Do you put down mulches?

I know many people do.

Hey, mulch is good.

It helps retain moisture so you aren't watering as much.

It helps to keep weeds down.

As it breaks down, it adds organic matter to the soil.

Organic matter makes for a better soil and offers homes for salamanders, lizards, toads and insects for these critters and your birds.

A couple of dos and don'ts about mulch

Keep mulch several inches away from the base of your trees.

Mulch retains moisture and this leads to trouble for your trees crown.

Back mulch away from your shrubs, perennials and annuals as well.

Moist mulches lead to fungus and plant eating insects.

Mulch also draws the nitrogen from your soil.

As the mulch decays, it pulls the nitrogen from the soil to aid in the decay.

Your plants will show poor color and a lack of growth.

For this reason, you will need to add nitrogen to your gardens.

If last year's mulch is moldy or has that white powdery look, don't panic.

Simply fluff the stuff and re-mulch if you need it.

Sometimes, you may see something that looks like someone lost their lunch right in the middle of your nice mulched bed.

Don't panic.

Again it is a fungus and the only cure is to remove it.

Me, I don't like the colored mulches like the red, gold and black.

Why put dyes into the earth?

Can dyes help anything?

After all of your planning and mulching, be sure to leave room for a sand bath.

Some birds enjoy a good sand bath.

Be sure to keep your feeders close enough to protection, yet in the open enough for the birds to see what's around them.

Few birds will stop to feed if they can't feel safe.

About 10 feet from protection is a good rule of thumb to follow.

Notice the orange border and blue title.

Opposite colors attract in the yard and make for a stunning display.


It's time to fly for now.

Thank you for letting me share my sorrows and Eric's joy.

Remember to smile this week and share it with friends, family and strangers.

Our prayers go out to the people and families of Greensburg, Kansas.

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

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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