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Critters in the Garden

May 18, 2015|Posted in: Welcome to My Garden!

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One day a few years ago, I found a water snake in my garden pond. It just happened to be about two weeks after my teenage son Mike lost his pet corn snake in our house. It was such a surprise!  At first I thought it was my son’s snake (we never did find that one) but upon closer examination I realized it wasn’t.  I ran inside all excited and rallied my husband and sons outside to witness the surprise visitor to my pond.

After some discussion as to what we should do about our uninvited guest we decided to catch it and release it in a nearby creek. Mike went to work wrangling the snake. It didn’t go peacefully though.  It opened its wide mouth, with its big fangs and hissed fiercely!  It was awesome!!  Eventually he caught the snake and we successfully released it in the creek.
IMG_4971 (1)That snake was the most exciting critter that ever visited my garden but there have been many others. Of course birds visit on a daily basis, sparrows, robins, magpie, hummingbirds and some tiny little grey birds with yellow and red heads. Robbins routinely splash in the birdbath or stop at the pond for a drink of water. Hummingbirds flit quickly around drinking nectar from the brightly colored flowers I planted just to entice them to visit my garden. Once a young hawk perched on the railing of my deck. He looked funny with his still fluffy baby bird feathers and I had to search Internet photos of young hawks to be sure that was what he was.

Then there are the friendly critters of the insect variety. Of course the bees buzz about pollinating the plants so the flowers will bloom and the fruit will grow in abundance. Beautiful butterflies flutter through the air, alighting momentarily on a bright blossom before taking to the air again. There is an occasional katydid cleverly disguised as a leaf or a distinguished praying mantis slowly moving it’s head and eyes around so as not to miss any unsuspecting prey.  We once found a walking stick in my daddy’s garden. He was one cool bug!  Earthworms wiggle through the soil of my garden helping to make it more fertile and rolly pollys crawl in every direction.

IMG_5015Phone Download July 23 2013 770 (615x640)IMG_4974At the beginning of the summer my three year old grandson Blake was afraid of bugs so I caught a rollie pollie and let him watch it crawl on my hand. After a while and a lot of coaxing he let it crawl on his hand too. Now he plays with them all the time. One day I took his picture proudly holding one. His little two year old playmate wanted me to take her picture too. She held up a fist and smiled at the camera. I told her to open her hand so we could see the rolly polly.  As she unclenched her chubby  little fist a whole handful of the squirmy little black bugs crawled in circles and spilled from her hand. Ewwww!  That little lady was unafraid!

I’ve caught more than one neighborhood cat sneaking a drink from my pond. While some might find them a nuisance I have a soft spot for kitties and I even quit putting the algae treatment in the pond’s water so my little feline friends wouldn’t be inadvertently poisoned.

My garden is a friendly place with all of those critters coming and going. I enjoy watching all of the different kinds of wildlife. Oftentimes I try to take their pictures, though they are not always willing subjects and try to fly, wiggle or crawl away. I’ve been know to post a picture or two of my friends on social media and many fellow wildlife enthusiasts and gardeners reply in approval.

IMG_5045 (413x550)B & Hopper (299x470)Phone Download July 23 2013 881 (460x640) (395x550)There are a few critters though that it seems I’m not allowed to like. I have posted pictures of grub worms, grasshoppers and snails. I was delighted the first time I saw a snail in my garden, a slimy fellow with funny little antennae and a big shell. When I found the fat little green grub worms I hoped that they would turn into exotic butterflies (though sadly they were only moths).  Hoppers are my favorite!  My cousin Charlie and I would catch them all summer long as kids, building them homes in glass jars and feeding them blades of grass. I recently shared the fun of catching hoppers with my young grandson!  It brought back memories!

But sadly, when I post pictures of these critter friends of mine, insects of the pest variety, they elicit negative (sometimes even angry and almost violent) comments from my friends. They say things like, “get rid of them!”  “they will eat all your plants!” or even, “kill them, light them on fire & kill them!”

It seems I may be demoted from my ammeter gardener status if I continue to count these critters as friends. At the very least I will be laughed at and ridiculed by my gardener friends. So there will be no more posts featuring these pesky critters. But when I run into them in my garden I may secretly continue to say “hello.”

 

 

 

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20 Comments

  1. jenniferppriest
    May 20, 2015

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    So much fun and what a great experience for the kids.

    • LoriGraceH
      May 21, 2015

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      Jennifer, I love that my grandkids enjoy playing in the garden with me!

  2. Jessica
    May 20, 2015

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    Your garden looks lovely! I would love to have a little water feature in our garden at some point!

    • LoriGraceH
      May 21, 2015

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      Jessica, I have a little pond with a small waterfall and I really enjoy it. You should go for it!

  3. Laura
    May 20, 2015

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    oh I will run screaming into the house when we inevitably find a snake too but it will be bloody murder, I’m sure. I stayed composed well enough when the tarantulas show up but the snakes scare me, mostly because we have baby chickens but also because they are snakes. Lol you’re a better woman than me. 🙂

    • LoriGraceH
      May 21, 2015

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      Haha Laura! I’m not sure how I’d do with tarantulas but it would be really cool to encounter one!

  4. Meagan
    May 20, 2015

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    I love this post so much! We just did a post on how gardening is great for kids, especially kids with sensory issues. I’ll have to share this because our sensory kids would also love the critters. So much fun!

    • LoriGraceH
      May 21, 2015

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      Thank you Megan, I hope they like it. I love your blog and all of the great ideas and information you share there!

  5. Zan
    May 22, 2015

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    I get the chills reading this, especially when you mentioned the “hissing” of the snake…I think it is funny that you said it was Awesome!! Shivering here..lol. You must have a wonderful for all those creatures to visit:)

    • LoriGraceH
      May 25, 2015

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      Thanks Zan! I have a sister that might disown me if she sees the grasshopper pics!

  6. Heather
    May 22, 2015

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    My kids love to pick bugs out of the garden and they would feed them to our chickens, sadly our chickens have made their way to our freezer and we haven’t gotten new layers yet. I could do with a few less cucumber beetles and squash bugs in my garden…I would much prefer to pick my veggies than pick the bugs!

    • LoriGraceH
      May 25, 2015

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      Heather, sounds like it’s time to get more chickens to eat up those cucumber beetles and squash bugs! :0)

  7. Annette
    May 22, 2015

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    My kids love doing this too. So fun!

    • LoriGraceH
      May 25, 2015

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      Annette, my girls weren’t into bugs too much but my grandkids love them!

  8. Joi Lin
    May 31, 2015

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    I think your gray birds with red and yellow heads might have been western tanagers. Did they look like this?http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7b/Western_Tanager_(male).jpg

    • LoriGraceH
      June 1, 2015

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      Joi Lin, they weren’t that bright. I checked out the female western tanager too and I don’t think that’s what they are. They’re little like a finch, with brownish gray bodies and some have red heads and some have yellow heads. The color is only on their heads. I don’t see them very often but they show up every once in awhile. I’d love to know what they are if you come across any other possibilities!

  9. Jessica @ Moxie and Mischief
    June 4, 2015

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    Our yard backs into the woods, so we are always finding fun visitors! We get a lot of snakes, but this time of the year brings lots and lots of wild turkeys. It’s insane. But the kids LOVE getting to see all these cool animals and insects and reptiles up close and personal. It’s like we have our own zoo!

    • LoriGraceH
      June 8, 2015

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      Oh wow Jessica, I would love that! What a wonderful experience for your kids to have while growing up! Surely they will remember that all their lives!!

  10. Mommy Matter
    June 6, 2015

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    That was such a sweet article. 🙂 Enjoy your garden!

    • LoriGraceH
      June 8, 2015

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      Thank you so much! I will!!

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