Backyards can offer a glimpse into the Great Outdoors

by Dennis L. Clay
Herald Columnist | February 17, 2020 11:02 PM

The backyard, every backyard, can be the entrance to the outdoors for everyone. Yesterday we discussed my participation in the Great Backyard Bird Count with embarrassing results for me.

Just a few birds, all sparrows, visited in 30 minutes. The view of the feeder in the backyard today, the last day of the count, shows the same lack or birds. However, three Eurasian collared doves flew into view a few minutes ago and left just as fast.

The disappointment is mine, as the expected results would show quail, always sparrows, crows and others. Still, there is more than the bird count associated with my backyard and the Great Outdoors.

Take, for example, the growing of vegetation. The first growth seen from the vantage of the inside of the house was a section of Garnet’s flower garden. A green patch was visible in the otherwise dark brown area of the garden.

Obviously, this green patch was a growth of weeds. For heaven’s sake, weeds are showing already. Now, a few days later, the tulips are a foot tall and so are other bulbs, some with flower stems showing with a protruded end which will be the flower.

My herb bed is an old wheelbarrow filled with dirt. Inside are pots containing various herbs. Chives, thyme, parsley, oregano and basil in individual pots. The chives are in three or four pots, because we use so many chives.

The idea of using pots is to help eliminate weeds, mainly grass. Simply remove the pots and pull the weeds or spray with weed killer. Then replace the pots.

The chives always make it through the winter, sometimes the parsley, but the thyme pot is full of fresh thyme already.

What does an herb bed have to do with outdoor adventures? These herbs will season the wild game meals during the year.

The first day of spring is a month away, Thursday, March 19, but the first signs of spring are showing. This means the days will become increasingly more outdoor friendly.

My first physical sign of this is the longer days. Sunrise is now 6:59 a.m. and sunset is 5:24 p.m. This equals 10 hours and 25 minutes of daylight. What’s more is the warming of the daylight hours.

Temperatures of the next 15 days are forecast as: Nine days with highs in the 50-degree range and six days with highs in the 40s. Six days with lows in the 20s and nine days with lows in the 30s. Six nights will remain above freezing all night long. Yes, spring is on the way.

Tomorrow: More backyard exploring.