Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Getting to Know the Neighbors

More accurately this post is about the neighbors getting to know me...

As my regular reader (hi, mom!) knows my main gardening area is in the front yard.  This means that every neighbor who regularly walks their dog, their kid or themselves has at least said hi to me.  Often they stop to chat.  This is a blessing and a curse.  A blessing because it's a great way to get to know the neighbors.  A curse because it can slow down my work in the garden when every person walking by stops to chat.

The street I live on has a very low turn over rate.  Most of the people have been here for years or decades.  So when they see me in the garden they ask lots of questions about who we are, where we work, where we're from.  I can't remember what everyone else does but it seems to have sunk in to the neighborhood consciousness that I am a Biologist.

I'm starting to get biology questions.

Don't get me wrong - I love being the Neighborhood Biologist.  I was a bit of a know-it-all as a kid and I never quite outgrow that.  I love learning new things and assume that other people do as well (what?  You aren't interested in the mating habits of slugs?  Seriously?  But it's COOL!).

I'm starting to have neighbors come to my door and call my name...  There's a snake...  I found an injured bird...  I think a rabbit got hit by a car...

Amazingly (to them) I actually DO know what to do about all of these events.  Snake?  Leave it alone or if it's in a bad spot I'll move it for you.  Injured bird?  There's a vet about 20 minutes from here who'll take injured wildlife.  Rabbit hit by car?  Sorry, by the time I got there it was too late.  Yes, it's sad.  Poor thing.  At least it didn't suffer.

Best of all is because I have years of experience dealing with wild animals I can help them.  The snake can be safely moved with minimum handling, reducing it's stress level.  The bird can be caught quickly and transported in a dark, quiet box to the vet.  The rabbit.  Well, I was just too late to do anything.

More importantly I can hopefully prevent human caused problems. 

If you store your bird food in a metal bin the mice can't get into it and if the mouse population goes down you'll have fewer snakes.

No, that's a fledgling bird.  It's normal for them to not be able to fly well.  The parents are around - you can just leave it be.

The skunk keeps visiting your yard because you feed your dogs outside and they leave food in their bowls.

Now if I can just find a neighborhood expert on plumbing...

Pretty picture of Coreopsis Zagreb for the heck of it.