Cat grass, bee water
Growing a lawn has turned out to be rewarding in many unexpected ways. I would venture to call it therapeutic. Since we are at home more than usual, having a beautiful and inviting outdoor space is a welcome outlet. I can walk barefoot on the earth. Inside or outside, my gaze and my soul is filled with vibrant green.
And of course we share our lawn love with the fur babies, who up to now have been indoor cats. We upgraded them to indoor cats with a benefits package. We’ve slowly built trust and healthy boundaries so that they have the freedom to enjoy the yard. And we enjoy them enjoying it! Let’s face it, no one stalks, preys and pounces like a cat in the tall grass.
And then there’s the nature: dragonflies zooming by; solitary wasps hunt caterpillars and spiders; little white moths flit above the grass.
My favorite visitor right now is the constant stream of honey bees. They drink from my water dish by the dozens! All day. Every day. It is gratifying to help them hydrate in a year that’s been over one hundred degrees daily for several months now. Our irrigation has to fill the shallow dish twice a day to keep it full! Either that’s a lot of bee water or we’re fighting evaporation.
When Dragons Fly
All the usual characters: mockingbird, thrasher, cat and our newest friend the dragonfly!
Dragonfly in the sky
What a magical day. We go to help a friend with the power in her house. As we are leaving I remember to add avocado to our grocery list. Our friend gives us two ripe avocados! So we invite her for dinner.
We realize at dinner time that we don’t have any tortillas. Jason opens the door to go get some at the store and our neighbor is there with tortillas! I had texted her asking.
She comes inside with her daughter to pop corn in our microwave; it is movie night next door. We visit while the popcorn pops. The neighbor’s daughter points in the backyard and announces, “Cats!”
Our friend arrives for dinner. We are all chatting when the sprinklers turn on! The cats go running! I open the door and they run past all of us to hide under the bed.
We have dinner: tacos with smoked ground beef and chuck. The mockingbird hunts in the yard while we eat. After dinner, I let the cats outside again.
All of a sudden Biggie Smalls goes running and jumping across the yard and in the air! Is it a bird? We ask, but soon realize it is a dragonfly! It continues zooming in circles over the lawn. Elvis takes a run at it and it zips over the wall to another yard.
We say goodnight to our guest and I go to sit on the porch and enjoy dusk. The cats are settled in a spot and the dragonfly returns. It spins around the yard again and again as we quietly watch.
We have a happy habitat going in the grass. We are constantly weeding to keep crabgrass at bay while seeding this new lawn. I hunt runners that are reaching; I find the elbow where they drop into the ground and I pop em out. There’s a callous on the inside of my index finger and the outside of my pinky finger from yanking crabgrass.
We look for crabgrass seed heads in the afternoon sun and swift but gingerly collect them for the burn pile.
When I close my eyes at night I see the shape of crabgrass growing behind my eyelids like the flower of life- eternal.
We leave some mustard green for the birds and dandelion too. It’s an aesthetic: rich, luxurious biodiversity.
Piggles (AKA Biggie Smalls the cat) crouches and crawls in the tall tufts at dusk. He pounces on little white butterflies that are flitting all around.
This morning on the porch, the same Aberts towhee, looking plump and healthy, came chirping on the fence once again.
Well hello. I guess you’re my new friend. Might as well embrace the new lead character of our backyard, as we move up the food chain from the precious mantis to the predator who transmuted it into her bird energy.
Towhee IS the mantis! It’s a small change with a huge impact.
She chirped to the ground for a drink from the saucer, chirping as she went. The cats just watched from across the yard. She chirp-hopped back up on the fence and was gone the same way she came.
There were two woodpeckers on the palm tree, two mockingbirds scuffling in the ocotillo, two quail digging in the dirt.
Tertiary mantis theory: it went to the lemon tree for some lacewings and in doing so, perhaps, our original hero made it yonder down the food chain and not hither into the mouth of a bird.