Thanks to all of you who let your thoughts be known over at Wallet Pop.
After all the broo-haha, I walked out in the yard with my camera to try and see it objectively, see it as a stranger would. Honestly, I couldn't find fault with it. I love it the way it is, and it's staying that way as long as we live here.
There are layers and layers of things to discover out there. It might be a new dragonfly skimming the prairie grass as it waves in the breeze. Or a swallowtail is investigating the Dutchman's Pipe in the "messy" corner, looking for a good place to lay her eggs.
A hawk might be waiting patiently in the "waiting tree", for a mouse or vole to peek out of the overgrown tree line separating us from the sweet elderly neighbors to the southwest (those neighbors grow the juiciest veggies, and share them with us every summer...you think they hate us?).
I stood in the prairie and took a picture of the house, to show everyone what the yard really looks like:
(The black and orange dot is Nellie trying her damnedest to carry her basketball to me)
Anyone see anything wrong with the yard?
Then I walked out to the middle of the yard and took a picture of the "BAD, BAD PRAIRIE".
Our neighbors to the northeast are also elderly (and two of our three neighbors live outside the subdivision, and they both owned at least part of the land that the subdivision is now standing on). The prairie ends at our fence, and the neighbor's yard has a nice, open space until you get to their house.
No worries about adding mice and snakes to their property (mice and snakes like overgrown areas...which is the whole reason we added a prairie)
We actually WANT rodents and insects and reptiles. Feed the raptors, they will be more than happy to stick around and continue the pest control for you.
(Gratuitous picture of happy Hooper, in front of the prairie)
If you want to make your yard a haven instead of a sterile monoculture, go check out National Wildlife Federation's Backyard Habitat page. It's easy, it's cheap, it's fun, it's good for the world, one yard at a time.
Enlisting the help of your neighbors can increase your efforts...I drew a simple diagram of four houses, with their shared corners as the focus of their backyard habitats:
*Don't laugh. I'm no Zick.*
Just so you don't think that all I can think of is my prairie, here's a shot of one of the blue million cicadas that are drowning out the bird song, scaring my children and generally messing up the place:
Please just mate so you can die and we can be rid of you for another 13-17 years...okay?
Do yourself a favor and go check out this video about the 17-year cicada invasion
(Brood X, larger and scarier than the emergence we are currently experiencing as Brood XIV). Though the little buggers are annoying and weird-looking, the video is very well done and captivating.
By the way, the feather from a recent post was from a Great Horned Owl. Finally, physical evidence that they are here! (And using the prairie, ahem.)