Martha's Backyard Blog


Welcome to my Backyard Blog. This website started as email messages to friends about what I see when I step out my back door. My back yard is untidy and not too often weeded. We have a small goldfish pond dug in 2006 by a friend. Everything there started when I put my old calico fantail Seymour into the fresh water. He looked so lonely that I bought him a friend. Within minutes (so it seems in hindsight) Seymour started putting on girth and the new fish (Audrey, a comet) started chasing him around. This bit of fishy behavior is a dead giveaway as far as sex roles in fish go. It is always the boys who chase the girls, hence the irony in their names. In a couple of months the tiny progeny who had survived the parents' love of smorgasbords began to appear. Seymour and Audrey died when they were nearly eight years old. Their last surviving direct child Goldilocks died in 2014. Since then I've tried to diversify the orange and white gene pool by adding a few shubunkins (nice variegated fish with beautiful blue patches) and a few more comets and fantails.

Gradually other fauna moved into the pond on long or short term bases: water striders perform acrobatics as they interact. A green frog or two may take up residence for a month or more. If it's a nice fat male green frog, he will converse with you or any other noisy being. He doesn't want to be alone. Then the American toads show up and fill the pond with tadpoles who grow and climb out in a few months, losing themselves in the yard. A long-jawed spider shows up towards fall in the asters and makes a long rope so that he can sail down to the pond and go fishing for visitors. Dragonflies, craneflies, mosquitoes, etc. dip their tails into the water laying eggs.

The pond sits under a redbud tree. At various times of the year other plants grow and bloom or just grow. One of my favorites is the family of New England asters which start to bloom in September, followed by the goldenrod. On the deck I pot a few annual/perennials for the deck rail. Various other pots contain a dogwood, a magenta hibiscus, and all the indoor plants that languish all winter in the front porch. The hibiscus is loved by various kinds of bugs (hemiptera) and a resting place for many tiny flies. I never tire of standing in the bushes snapping photos of the visiting or established critters. Last year I decided to try to get acquainted with the spiders and to my amazement found many many kinds, each with its own kind of (or no) web, its own method of capturing lunch. Some so tiny (about an eighth inch long) I would never have seen them before. Over the years, and especially during last summer, I began to be able to see things I had overlooked for years. It has been a wonderful journey of 10 steps.

The new season is about to commence. Here are the ramblings from 2014 and the new blogs from 2015. The 2013 blogs were difficult to cobble together from old emails, so I am organizing them by subjects, instead of by dates. Alas, this task sits waiting...
2017    2016    2015     2014     2013


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