“Close to the Land” by Design
As some of you know, we have recently completed the construction of our new “farm house.” When we were looking at plans, we wanted a fresh, new house that would fit the environment where we live with accents of the farm’s history to honor the generations that lived here before us. During the construction phase (long before we moved in) a little wren built a nest and raised her feathered family in our new garage. The painters waited until the babies “flew the coop” to finish painting the garage roof. I know now that this was a sign of things to come ~ a sign that this house would not only be a good home for us but it would also be a good home for lots of other critters for years to come.
Because we wanted to have good light in our new dwelling, we picked a design with lots of windows. We particularly wanted to have a large window on the back side of the house (like the house that stood here before) so that we could have feeders and be able to watch a variety of birds come and go. As it turns out, I could have never dreamed of all the ways our new “nest” would connect us to the natural world that surrounds us. As I sit at the desk in my office, I feel like I am in the flight path of a swarm of winged creatures that are compelled to fly by my window in the course of their daily tasks. Over the winter months, swans and geese flew by. Often, I could hear them coming before I could see them. I have loved both the welcoming sights and the sounds that they have brought to our new residence. For the most part, the swans and geese have moved on now but I am eagerly awaiting their return after the passage of a couple of seasons.
With the arrival of spring, other sounds have become apparent ~ it is not unusual to hear owls bantering back and forth as I lay in bed at night ~ I heard them last night. I love lying quietly and ease-dropping on their “conversations.” Some days, before light breaks, I can hear a turkey gobble from the wooded area beside our bedroom window. After hearing such sounds, on a number of occasions I have found a single turkey foraging or as many as 18 gathered in my backyard as they carried out their spring courting rituals.
When I first open my eyes each morning and look out my bedroom windows, I am greeted by burgeoning life all around. This morning, I spied a brilliant bluebird (we have two bluebird boxes) and a red-bellied woodpecker both busy by first light. After I got my coffee and came to my office, the two swallows that have been frequenting my front porch made an appearance. I don’t think that I have ever known what a barn swallow was before but after watching this curious pair come and go the past few days; I drug out the Audubon field guide.
With little to go on except thinking that they were in the swallow family, it didn’t take long to identify this colorful little twosome. Looking up from my computer, I have enjoyed their jaunts back and forth to the top of one of the posts on our front porch. I think that they have been “shopping” for a new home and I am quite sure that our place is a strong contender at the moment. This morning I got my camera and took several pictures of them through my dining room window. They didn’t seem to mind a bit, in fact, they seemed to be peering in to check me out at the same time. After considerable observation, my impression is that they are colorful, energetic little birds that will make good neighbors. I hope their assessment of us is as favorable ~
From our windows looking over the back, we are enjoying an array of colorful little birds that are attracted to our feeders stocked with sunflower seeds. Over the past few months we have had a steady stream of pine siskins, doves, cardinals and a random woodpecker or two. This past month, the cheery little gold finches and an occasional purple finch have appeared. I love the activity and the burst of color that they add to our backyard display.
Only yesterday, I finally got around to putting up the hummingbird feeders. We always enjoyed their flittering visits at the old house and I have been hopeful that these sweet-seeking munchkins will follow us to the new house on the other side of the road. As luck would have it, they found us yesterday and I have seen several darting about today.
If you have seen my earlier posts, you know that we have had views of deer, bald eagles, herons, egrets, hawks and a coyote from the new house. I never know what I might see as I look out over the peaceful natural setting that surrounds us. I am grateful daily for the good fortune of living “close to the land” and I am constantly contemplating how we might share our view with others ~
That’s all for now … until next time~ enjoy your spring and all its sweet offerings!
Here’s to living “close to the land” ~
From Carolina Carol
P. S. If you are interested in looking at plans that offer similar views, I would encourage you to check out Donald Gardner Homes at http://www.dongardner.com/. The house plan we selected is their Richelieu plan but they have lots of great plans that would connect those who live in them to their outdoor settings. Do tell them I “sent” you!
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