I have a backyard, and I have a front yard, and I have other areas available to me, if I want to be outside, on my property. We live on one and three quarter acres, my husband and I, our four dogs and sometimes our son. It’s a good life, and I love the amount of wild life sharing our property with us. Except for the snakes, I don’t love them …
The dogs we have, three of them anyway, are keen hunters. They’re Pharaoh Hounds, which are very much like greyhounds in that they love to chase things, and eat them. Our Pharaoh Hounds will chase and catch birds and reptiles whenever they can. Yesterday, our youngest dog, Missy, caught a bird, a small one, I wasn’t there, but my husband saw the results, Missy chowing down on a feathered morsel. It’s natural to the dogs to do this, but I feel a little bit sad about it … I just hope it was an introduced bird, not a native bird.
Of course, all of the birds deserve to live, as do our dogs. It’s a tricky thing, trying to edge an ethical way around dogs and birds, and other creatures. Dogs do their doggy things, birds do their birdy things, and the reptiles do their own reptilian things too. We have those reptiles on our property at various warmer times, lizards of various sizes and kinds, and snakes of a potentially deadly kind. We’ve certainly faced potential death from a snake bite, and don’t ever want to go through that again.
It was Missy that time too, that caught and tried to kill a deadly snake, a brown snake. Missy bit the snake, but the snake bit Missy back. A worrying trip the vet, appropriate treatment and a sleep over at the clinic, and Missy was back with us, a little subdued, but soon looking for prey again … The Pharaoh Hounds are wired for chasing, and there’s not a lot we can or want to do about that – we just keep them safe inside in summer, keeping an eye out, and an ear out too, for that hound chase thing kicking in and looking for trouble …
There are lovely things going on in our garden too, of course. We have grass, tall trees, flowers, fruit and vegetables, all growing well and showing us a lovely green vision of cool beauty. We aim to keep things relatively hardy, and as organic as possible. There’s nothing better than eating a fresh strawberry, plucked from the bush just outside of our back door, red and plump and warmed by the sun – delicious!
We also have lettuce, capsicums, garlic and celery growing. The celery is a test, and is growing in the kitchen, in a little plastic container, with a little bit of water that we refresh daily. I read about this idea, and loved the thought that we could grow our own celery right there in the kitchen windowsill, so I tried it. And yes, the celery is growing from the leftover celery that would normally have gone into the compost bin. So in theory, we have grown new celery from old, but the growth rate is slow, and our need for celery is faster than the growth.
I’m thinking of transferring the celery outside and hope it will grown faster that way. Growing things inside doesn’t happen as often inside for us, going outside is enjoyable, and the dogs are always likely to steal anything growing inside! Speaking of inside, there is wild life inside at times too. We’ve had mice inside, and many others in our area have had them too. I feel sorry for every mouse that falls victim to the traps we have, but I also feel cross when I see evidence of mice in the kitchen – yuck!
Outside are lovelier things to see – I’m an amateur birdwatcher, and love to see the variety of birdlife that lives around us. From the usual sparrows and starlings, to the lovely honeyeaters, willie wagtails, and others, I like to sit on the veranda and watch them as they go about their business. Quiet and mindful fun for me – I do a kind of Nature Meditation and feel soooooo calm and Zen!
Living with wild life is a game of what you can put up with and what you can’t – sometimes Nature wins, most times, Mankind wins, but the balance is feeling pretty good for us. We have shelter, food, water, space – and we are more or less happy to share some of what we safely can, with Nature.
If you love the Nature around you, I’d love to read about it, feel free to leave a comment!