We recently moved out of our home town (a smallish city) to a large Colonial house 30 minutes north (a small town) with 7 acres of land. It’s my dream home – large light-filled rooms with near 360° views of our grounds and gardens, no visible neighbors, land abuts conservation land, the house is situated on a hill of pine and oak grove (and ledge), and we attract much wildlife. It’s peaceful. I named the house after the property it is on and the previous owner/builder/realtor approved with a double thumbs up. I knew this was my house when we turned onto the long, dirty driveway and saw a doe and her twins in the side yard. It seems to have been built for us. A huge grateful thank you to Diane Mayo, our friend and realtor, for finding this gem and KNOWING it was what we wanted before we did.
These are my regular visitors to Metcalf Rock House:
- Deer (mostly does, but a small herd of bucks came through)
- Wild turkeys; odd looking, interesting, as in can’t-turn-away-even-though-you’re-kinda-weird I really like and appreciate your visit. You chase the crows away.
- Three species of woodpeckers are here constantly: Downy Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, and the Hairy Woodpecker.
- Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. perfect!
- Black-capped Chickadees. so friendly!
- Gold finches
- Mourning Doves
- Red-breasted Grosbeaks
- Eastern Bluebirds
- Dark-eyed Juncos
- Brown-headed Cowbird
- Baltimore Orioles
- American Crows
- Sharp-shinned Hawk
- Red-tailed Hawk
- Barred Owl
- Tufted Titmice
- Red-breasted Nuthatches
- White-breasted Nuthatches
- Red-Winged Blackbirds
- Gray Squirrels (we’ve come to an agreement regarding the bird seed)
- Red Squirrels
- a Snapping turtle
- Swallowtail butterflies
- Monarch butterflies
- honeybees in our apiary
- solitary ground bees (they’re not aggressive so they can stay)
- colorful dragonflies
- mosquitoes beyond measure (I’ve got the hundreds of bites to prove it)
Last year, when we still lived in our previous home in Beverly, the city decided to spray DUET, a toxic chemical, to kill all flying insects in the hopes of reducing the mosquito population. The threat level was LOW, yet the Beverly Board of Health (uniformed of environmental issues and human/animal health risks) took the advice of Jack Card, the Director of Northeast Mass. Mosquito & Wetlands Management District and sprayed in November. In November?? really. There was a frost a week later. Jack Card made the recommendation AND did the spraying. Does anyone notice a conflict of interest? I made calls, spoke to people, emailed the Mayor several times (no response), and realized the city if filled with people in charge that the lack of knowledge, interest, or care in regards to toxic chemicals being sprayed in their city. It was an, “I can’t see it so it isn’t there or hurting anyone” mentality. It was maddening to me. We moved four months later, but not before losing our two healthy beehive colonies to DUET. Mind you, they were covered with tarps and the spraying was 1/2mile down the road, spraying right by The Long Hill Reservation and The Food Project’s organic farm. It drifts! It doesn’t matter if there’s little wind. Think about hairspray, bug spray, or spray sunscreen and tell me there’s no such thing as drift. You can read more about it on my friend’s Beverly Bees blog here. She lost many hives. You’d think that with Colony Collapse Disorder being a world-wide problem someone in charge would do some research and assess the risks more thoroughly. Not one person I spoke to could give me the research they read or did before deciding to spray. It’s a largely uninformed local government.
Our yard has been chemical free for years. We have some dandelions, clover, and other prolific weeds, but we trade that for a healthy eco-system. Our bees love the clover and dandelions. And once it’s mowed and you’re in the heat of summer there are less dandelions and clover and more strange spider-like weeds. I don’t mind them in the lawn, but plucking them from our perennial beds and fieldstone patio is tiresome and back-breaking work. When I found EcoSMART Organic Wee & Grass Killer I was thrilled! I want an easier way to control weeds, but MORE importantly I want to protect the health and well-being of the people, and all the wonderful creatures that make their home on our property. I think this weed killer does both.
It smells so good, too. It’s active ingredient is rosemary oil. I sprayed the weeds I got too tired to pluck and within hours they were turning brown and dying! It WORKED! EcoSMART has a whole line of organic and natural pest and weed control products. If you use herbicides or toxic pesticides around your home right now, I urge you to do some research on the health effects and environmental consequences. There is so much new information about pesticide/herbicide use linked to chronic health conditions. We are all part of the eco-system. What damages one damages all.
If you use organic and safe products already, KUDOS to you! I thank you, neighborhood children and pregnant women thank you, the ladybugs (they eat aphids) and honeybees (they pollinate 30% of your food) thank you, the birds and bats that eat the insects thank you, too.