MOTHER's Hardly Working Summer Naturalist

Terry Krautwurst shares his summer naturalist days of observing hummingbirds and wasps and foraging for food, and his tips for creating a welcome habitat for birds and animals in your garden.

| August/September 2002

MOTHER's summer naturalist takes you on a wildlife journey through the garden. 

Muir, Bartram, Burroughs, Thoreau, Audubon — they were all good naturalists, true, and you have to admire their industry. On hot summer days, though, I prefer not to follow in their trail-trudging footsteps. instead this summer naturalist will choose the more supine observational methods of those two other great American naturalists, Pa Kettle and Snuffy Smith.

Although I have not fully achieved their mastery of passive nature study, I practice hard in the hammock slung between two trees in our back yard. Occasionally I must close my eyes and rest, of course, because sustained scrutiny of one's surroundings can be taxing and is made none the easier by the hammock's incessant, gentle sway.

Nonetheless, by sheer dogged determination I have managed to observe and cogitate on a number of summer's wonders.

Tame-Foods Foraging

If I lift my head slightly I can make out a couple of pepper plants peeking among the dandelions, sow's thistle and quack grass in our garden. Some would call the latter three weeds, of course, but having read books about organic gardening I know they are actually companion plants and living mulch. No sense in pulling those up.

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