By Debra Knapke
one, two, buckle my shoe,
three, four shut the door
five, six, pickup sticks
seven, eight lay them straight
nine, ten, do it again!
This perfectly describes what I am doing in the yard right now. Branches from two red oaks, sugar, silver and black maples, hackberries and a dawn redwood litter the front and back yard. Even our stalwart ginkgo has lost branches this winter. Wind and snow graced us this past winter, and there are many “hangers” in the trees and twigs on the ground. It seems that there are more branches down this year than the “usual”. Although, I’m beginning to wonder what “the usual” is anymore.
This bounty of branches goes into my wood compost pile or into a wild corner of our lot. This is where Mother Nature can do what she wants. Later in the season, Jerusalem artichoke will come up along with many plants some might call weeds: pokeberry (although, I only leave one or two; apologies to Mother Nature), thistles, dock, red clover, ironweed, goldenrod, cup plant and more. I have not taken a picture of this area, because, well… it’s messy.
I also place the leaves of cut-down grasses here. Need to do this soon. These seemingly useless old leaves have been used by resident chickadees and wrens to build their nests.
Yesterday, as I wandered around the yard picking up sticks, I also catalogued the chores to come; can’t wait!