Note: This post was originally posted on Seasons of Violet, May 24, 2004. Minor changes and/or updates have been made.
I'm on vacation but I'd still love to read your comments.
When I was a child I fell in love with nature. My two favorite books were the Golden Book of Birds and Golden Book of Insects.
We lived in a small town. There was very little diversity in the urban ecology. I dreamed of seeing the real birds and bugs instead of just pictures.
I remember one childhood evening when a rarely seen hummingbird visited the flowers while we were playing. I wanted the other kids to be still so I could watch, but I was the only one interested and the hummer quickly went elsewhere.
Many of my childhood dreams of seeing nature have come true since DH Bob and I moved to a home in rural SW Michigan thirteen (now fifteen) years ago.
Now the hummingbirds buzz us at the window if we don't keep their feeder filled.
We have so many hummingbirds in the summer it is hard to remember when they were new and novel. They are part of our life now. We share our home with them.
Our home is five acres on a narrow dirt road in a swampy woods. The road has a canopy of trees overhead. The leaves are so thick in the summer that a light rain never gets the road wet.
There are various types of wild violets growing on our land. I encourage them to multiply and I call our property Violet Acres.
There is usually something new and interesting going on at Violet Acres. This spring we have a pair of yellow crested flycatchers. I think they are nesting in the woods across the road. They come over into our front yard to catch insects for their young family. I see flashes of yellow going across the window and occasionally they perch where we can see their beauty.
In our neighborhood, no one cares if the lawn is mowed. In fact, no one cares if we even have a lawn. This picture was taken out the front window.
The front of our home is planted very informally in ferns, hostas, lily-of-the-valley, Solomon's seal, and other wild flowers that grow in the shade.
There are cement stepping stones that go around in a large circle. I like to go out, walk around on them, and see everything green and growing.
Violet Acres is narrow and long. The front two acres is mostly wooded except for the spring fed pond and the small brick house where we live.
The pond is for the wildlife. It houses small fish, water snakes, snapping turtles, and muskrats. Kingfishers and herons come to find dinner. Deer come to drink.
This time of year the frogs are so loud at night that sometimes it's hard to get to sleep. I lay there and listen to them calling for a mate and wonder over my good fortune to have a home in such a beautiful and noisy place.
The front two acres and the back three acres are divided by a fast running stream.
Glory the lab mix, Queen of Violet Acres, loves to wade in the stream. This mystifies the two little dogs. They prefer to stay dry at all times and always stare at Glory in amazement as she splashes around and climbs out soaking wet.
The back three acres has some woods, but is mostly open field that we let grow natural, complete with a few large brush piles to shelter the wildlife. This is where the nest box birds raise their babies and Pappy the Papillon, Prince of Violet Acres, meets up with his blue racer snake friends.
On the property next to ours there is an oak forest, so this field is what naturalists call an "edge" area. It's perfect for seeing a variety of birds and wildlife.
Today we learned that our neighbor has seen a mink. I'll be watching for it. Something new to love about my home at Violet Acres.