Backyard Bats

Image 6-15-20 at 5.11 PM
photo from @Stonecrop.Review on Instagram, link below

I’ve got a short piece about backyard bats in the “Sky” issue of Stonecrop Review: “a journal of urban nature writing, art & photography.” The essay is called “Same Bat Time.”

And dayeinu—this would have been enough—but Holly McKelvy, one of the editors, made artwork for my essay and matched the tone perfectly perfect. Continue reading “Backyard Bats”

Carpenter bee board

Google “Carpenter bees,” and the Internet will assume you forgot to type “how to kill.” It will provide endless hits on endless ways to poison, trap, starve, drown, squish, and otherwise kill Carpenter bees.

Confession: I’ve tried them all.

That was BEFORE naturalist training, and before years of looking around at the goings-on in my own yard. Continue reading “Carpenter bee board”

Eat the Exotics: vine honeysuckle

There were mean dogs near the vine honeysuckle, so I grabbed an order To-Go.

Honeysuckle vine is invasive. It’s an undisputed thug. It forms dense canopies that smother, shade, strangle, and poison our native habitat. It’s a top-tier offender at local Weed Wrangles.

I love it.

I love the scent. Especially at dusk when cool air trickles through the yard and floats the fragrance with it.
I love the taste. To pull a bloom and lick the nectar is to lick the spring. Continue reading “Eat the Exotics: vine honeysuckle”

Fleabane focus

My friend Taunia forwarded a question from her local listserve. It was a native plant question, so of course I dropped everything to answer right that minute. Laundry could wait. As could paperwork and four-lined plant bugs and the oodles of other Shelter-in-Place tasks that had already broken me for the day. What a relief to sit for a few moments and to focus, quietly, on . . . fleabane. Continue reading “Fleabane focus”

Accidental Crossvine

This is what can happen when we don’t trim the holy crap out of every edge in the yard. I let this native crossvine volunteer up a wall and now LOOK AT THIS BEAUTY.

Of course, ugly things can happen when you never trim at all, but right now I have BEAUTY and I’m looking at it.  Continue reading “Accidental Crossvine”

Stay at Home Nature: Pokeweed

Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana)

Happy to see American Pokeweed poking up in the yard today.

Most years, it’s too much work to process for safe eating, so I let the pokeweed grow.
This time—this particular spring—the thought of boiling *toxic* yard greens three successive times in clean water is no big whoop.

I mean,
just this morning I ground my own flour to make pancakes;
I made broth from scraps;
I planted butts of celery, cabbage, and carrots;
I made new pickles with old pickle juice,
and I made a mask out of a yarmulke (because the mask-from-a-bra idea didn’t work).  Continue reading “Stay at Home Nature: Pokeweed”

Native flowers in the yard today

Parks are closed, so I’m sticking with nearby nature. Yep, I’m sticking like Cleavers on corduroy.*

Small-flowered Baby Blue Eyes (Nemophila aphylla)

Today, I walked the yard to take phone pics of native flowers: only natives. (Non-natives, I’ll post tomorrow.) Continue reading “Native flowers in the yard today”

Kitchen Nature: House Centipede


A “House Centipede” was in the house this morning. He was trapped in my kitchen sink—my uncharacteristically clean sink—which proved so slick even 15 pairs of centipede legs could not scrabble a foothold.

Centipedes aren’t new to me, but a clean sink is, as is an organized kitchen. My threshold for dirt and chaos has always been high. But looming pandemics change people. I changed when I realized my family would be hunkered down for an undetermined length of time, and that we’d need to feed ourselves,
and that I was the only one who knew where the food was.

The first thing I did was organize the pantry so that if I dropped dead,
at least my boys could find the damn pasta sauce. Continue reading “Kitchen Nature: House Centipede”