For instance, when we first took up residence, the yard was a bare landscape, with only two pine trees in the back and lots of thistle in the flower bed (yes, one flower bed). Surrounding the property was a broken down fence made up of picket, wire mesh, and another layer of picket. The grass was spotty, gravel was used as landscaping cover, and a 12-foot tall street light (an ACTUAL street light) was shining brightly in the middle of the back yard.
After a decade and a half of hard work, planting more than two dozen bushes and 18 varieties of trees, we now have a beautiful oasis, perfect for hosting parties on beautiful spring days, sitting quietly in warm the evening shade, or sipping coffee in the cool shade of the early morning.
The change in plantings has also created a sanctuary for wildlife. We now have squirrels raiding the feeder on a regular basis and bunnies munching on dewy clover. We also can now enjoy for more than 30 species of birds of every shape and size: From speeding Hummingbirds to lazy Turkey Vultures. From scolding Blue Jays to a comical pair of Mallards (named Fred and Ethel). From opportunistic Brown-headed Cow Birds to deadly silent Coopers Hawk. Each one finds it’s place in the proverbial pecking order.
Beyond the visitors to the yard, we now have families taking up residence in Austin’s Acre. This year, brooding pairs include House Sparrows, Robins, Grackles, Carolina Wrens, Mourning Doves, and a very loud and nervous pair of Chickadee. And as spring quickly turns to summer, I can only marvel at the wonderful wildlife that calls our yard their home. It is only possible because we took the time to turn the barren back yard into a heavenly hideaway for my aviary friends.