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Out here in the country,
on the prairie,
grass is what grows best.
A wetish summer,
way cooler than normal temperatures
and the prairie grasses are flourishing—
as are the sunflowers
and Snow on the Mountain
and Broomweed
and Ragweed – two kinds.
It’s a celebration
of growth.

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Around the house and barns
there are prairie grasses
and Bermuda grass.
It takes a considerable amount
of fossil fuel to keep it mowed—
well, not as much during the “exceptional” drought.
Last summer, we planted Vinca in front of my house.
It is growing well,
though it will take a few summers
to overcome the Bermuda.
Meanwhile, it looks a bit untidy.
Untidy too,
is the wildlife habitat
to cover some of the Bermuda in the backyard.
I wanted it to be a vegetable garden
and had built up the soil for almost two years
before I planted tomatoes last spring.
Within hours, the chickens had mowed them.
So I decided I’d make the backyard patch
into a wildlife habitat.
Planted some bushes,
some Lamb’s Quarters,
some Buckwheat
(and some asparagus—not for the animals and birds.)
With the rain,
the Lamb’s Quarters are six-feet tall,
as are Sunflowers
and all sorts of other things I didn’t plant.
Some of the bushes died,
I know not why.
It’s very untidy
by most standards.
And I’ve been thinking about how to manage
the growth there.
I have chopped down the Ragweed.
And I’m sure there will be more tweaking.
But, like the prairie grasses,
dripping with the potential for new life,
the plants in the wildlife habitat
have flourished,
produced abundant seeds
and I have been thinking
I should continue this experiment—
untidy as it is—
and see what evolves,
watch the plant succession,
see who comes during the winter.

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Last evening,
as I set out on a prairie walk,
something moved
at the edge of the wildlife habitat.
It was a small Cottontail rabbit.
We both froze
and looked at each other a long time.
Then the little one
scurried into the wildlife habitat.

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