For the past year I have been working on a new book about wildlife friendly food gardening. This summer is being spent doing the final work on the manuscript before I send it to my editor. The subject is very dear to my heart, and a reflection of the lifestyle Chris and I live daily, sometimes by the moment, here on our farm.
We welcome wildlife here and we do our best to garden in a way that does not exclude the wildlife, but fosters it instead. We have had our land here certified as a wildlife preserve, as well as a botanical plant sanctuary. So we mean business about this.
That being said, it is also true that we sometimes must take actions to direct the wildlife to the areas of the garden landscape that are fine for them to live in or move through. Other times we must take steps to keep specific wildlife out of some garden areas. You can see evidence of this in this picture below of a young fox that visited this afternoon.
This handsome youngster showed up here around 4 pm today. I saw him from my studio window as he moved across the front yard, checked out the bird feeding stations, and then moved into the flower seed production field. He chased a quail for about 15 feet and gave up – I guess he wasn’t hungry right now.
From the two pictures above you can see the first wire and then a smaller grid wire in the background. Neither are fences to keep the fox out of an area. The fence wire in the foreground is actually a grape trellis. Chris has used hog wire tied to metal t-posts as a method to give a 100 foot long bed of young wine grapes a trellis to climb on. We have found that this method works well because it is quite sturdy for the grapes and is fast and easy to install. In the background you can see a small grid fencing that has been arched over a row of newly planted perennial seed crops. This is temporary protection for those new young plants to keep the deer from stepping on them as they move through the production field in the morning and in the evening, and to prevent nibbling as they move through until the plants can get well established. Once that happens there will be no need for this wire protection and Chris will remove it from the row.
The fox was also quite interested in this little ground daisy crop. He even had a couple of nibbles, but it must not have tasted to his liking because he left it alone.
We also have two young tree squirrels that were born this spring. My goodness, but they are full of mischief! They are always playing and chasing each other all through our gardens. This one was curious of Gwenivere and she seemed intent on watching the squirrel as well. They sat and looked at each other for well over 10 minutes through the living room window. When the flash went off on the camera, the squirrel scurried away.
Last spring Chris put up our solitary bee house on the end of the seed room building. Yesterday, I noticed that someone has moved in! Cool Beans!!
Solitary bees do not live in community like honeybees do and they do not live in hives. Some live in the ground, others live in places like the bamboo canes built into this mason bee house. It is called a mason bee house, but lots of solitary bees might choose to take up residence in this house. These solitary bees are very gentle and they do not sting. What they do very well is pollinate plants and we have a boat-load of plants that appreciate their good work. Chris and I are grateful to them and hope they will feel quite welcome on our farm.
So, as I work on my book I am getting a “birds eye view” of my subject matter. This is really great.