Us and Them

The lawn edge between my neighbor and I, on the parking strip in front of our house. Chemicals and water vs. natural dormancy.

The lawn edge between my neighbor and I, on the parking strip in front of our house. Chemicals and water vs. natural dormancy.

A Garden For All: Us and them

By Janit Calvo
July 28, 2009

Squirrel is rustling in the bushes behind me, while her babies squeak in the cedar hedge. Crow is on the roof eyeing the birdfeeder and her mate stands guard.

Puppy, my cat is mousing in the corner and has been for three days now. There is a small invasion of Bush Tits flying from the Hawthorn to the Larch tree and back. Sparrow has landed on the handle of the barbecue.

Possum and the cat had a staring contest earlier today (Possum lost) and the raccoons were dancing on the roof last night.

I need one of those “Backyard Wildlife Preserve” signs. You just can’t buy this stuff .

(My husband said the squirrel wants to stay close to me because I rescued it from the furnace duct in the middle of the winter. I, however, don’t want to put too much human-ness on such a little guy. Not to mention giving that pea-sized brain cognitive thinking skills too. Find nut. Eat nut…)

We will have been here, in this rental, for six years come November. And I can’t remember using any chemicals- well, unless the odd, futile attempt at slug bait falls under that category … . Oh, and recent ant bait inside the house because I’m sure the ants are now living in the walls- does that count?

My neighbor to the south of us, employs a garden service where each, and every month, a guy comes by with a small tank-truck and sprays chemicals for 15 minutes, then leaves. Even in the winter. And in the summer, her sprinkler is on constantly washing the chemicals down to the Puget Sound – got keep up that green lawn!

Some people are slow getting on the green bandwagon. Some of us were born on the green bandwagon!

(But then some people torture their cherry trees every spring by pruning off every single branch that can be pruned. Sigh. What’s the name of that no-nonsense garden writer for Northwest Garden News? I recall her harping on about this, too!)

And the people to the north of us… well, lets just say we can hear them comin’ on the gravel along the side of their house – where they let their dogs poop. Yay.

So, the wildlife is gladly funneled into our backyard where we get to appreciate it. It keeps my cat busy too. And, we haven’t had to mow the lawn in at least four weeks – it’s officially dormant. Saving us time and money.

But the biggest challenge we have yet to face this summer: to get to the figs before Squirrel.

Hope you’ve done gone green, too.



  1. Cyndy said

    How’s the battle for the figs going? Lost an entire crop to wasps and birds last year – the price you pay for not paying attention. This year I’m up to my ears in figs – I got out at 7 a.m. and beat all the critters to the ripe ones.


  2. JanitC said

    Hi Cyndy!

    I’ve got 8 tiny ones thus far on my little fig tree. They are still small – Where are you that you have figs already?

    I think if Charlie Brown had a fig tree – it would look like ours!! Sounds like I’ll have to start training myself to get up earlier now ~ before “the great harvest” … lol!


  3. A picture says more than all the words in the world!


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