If every back yard needs at least one dog, and some trees, then every back veranda needs a comfy seat from which to contemplate Nature. Nature comes in many shapes and forms. Dogs and trees are two of those forms. There are also insects, birds and grass. Plants of all kinds can be there too, and maybe even cats and reptiles of several different kinds.

It’s best not to have snakes, in my opinion, and the opinion of most Australians, I would think. In Australia, lots of the snakes can kill you if they bite you. I certainly don’t like to see those potential killers in my backyard. My dogs have been known to attack these killer snakes (brown snakes). Well, they caught one and bit it in half, one summer, killing it (obviously) and remaining safe themselves.

The dogs seem to have a particular hatred for reptiles and if they see one in the yard, they’ll kill it, or at least damage in ebough that is stops moving. My poor husband has had to put several lizards out of their agony. It’s not a job he likes doing, but it’s for the best …

My own task in the backyard is to perform occasional pooper scooper duties, and to sit out there on the comfortable sofa, and to just be with Nature. This ‘being with Nature’ is an informal meditation, just being there, in the present moment, while Nature goes on its own way – the clouds, the birds, the trees and other plants, and of course our four dogs, and other creatures. At the moment, one creature that has made a visual impact on the back yard have been ants. We have a trail now that mid-sized ants have created by following a path from one side of the yard to the other side, and beyond.

I have no idea what made them start along the trail, but thousands of them are tramping along the trail, all day every day. I wish I could ask them about it!

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