February 12, 2015


Today was my first gardening workshop of the year. I went to a local library branch and learned about making my yard into a wildlife sanctuary. Which is absurd, since I have a small suburban yard that’s about the opposite of wild. And yet, haven’t I spent the last year documenting what birds and insects I’ve attracted by my plantings of native wildflowers? I even call that section of my blog “Wildlife.”

Perhaps the secret is adjusting my definitions. Wildlife doesn’t have to be large animals like coyotes or deer. Surely songbirds and insects are just as wild as eagles and elephants. It doesn’t take a vast estate to protect wildlife, when the wildlife is the size of a butterfly or beetle. Remember, most native bees are tiny. A small yard or even a parking strip can be plenty of room.

This is the wildlife my yard will support, and I came home from the workshop with a new resolve.


It shouldn’t surprise me to realize this, but evidently there’s a whole circuit of gardening events at this time of year. Everyone’s getting antsy, but it’s too soon to get out there yet. Not only did the Spokane Public Library host the workshop I mention above, in today’s newspaper I found notice of another series organized by the Washington State University Agricultural Extension, and hosted at the Spokane County Fairgrounds.

Last spring, the City of Spokane passed an ordinance allowing urban agriculture, including market farms and keeping of small livestock. The Ag Extension’s series provides training necessary to be licensed in goat-keeping. A second workshop will cover advanced goat care. The fees are small, just $20 per session.

It’s all too easy to overlook the services provided by our county and local governments. Considering the great information that’s available, it’s worth everyone’s while to browse your County Ag Extension’s web site and see what’s going on in your area.


Today’s workshop revived my interest in the landscaping project I’ve been thinking of, to grow a privacy screen between my living room window and my neighbor’s bedroom window. With temperatures near 60 degrees and the lawn quickly greening up, it might already be time to start removing the sod.


I’ve started a wave of spinach inside, which I plan to grow on a west-facing window ledge. My big question: do cats like spinach? Let’s hope not.


Although I haven’t seen one yet, I’m told folks around here have already begun to see robins in their yards. This would be seriously early, as we usually get them around March 1st.

Until next week, I’ll be thinking of my gardening friends who live in the eastern half of the US. It’s going to be awfully cold. May the Lord have mercy on your yards.


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