I started the wildlife plot
after I planted young tomato plants
in soil I had copiously prepared
for 18 months the lasagna-layering way
and within an hour found them devoured
by the free-range chickens.
Because I wanted the chickens
to be able to free-range
and because I enjoy so much
the pheasant, songbirds, squirrels, rabbits
that come into the yard
in wintertime to feast on sunflower
and other seeds,
it seemed a good idea.
It still is.


It’s a wild wildlife plot.
I plant some things
(most of which don’t live; well,
the Lamb’s Quarter thrived, but
the grasshoppers decimated it)
and scatter some seeds
(most of which haven’t germinated)
but mostly
I watch what happens on its own.
I think it will be somewhat different every year
and I look forward to watching
the plant succession.
This year,
there are many fewer sunflowers,
so far,
lots of Johnson Grass—e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e!—
and Curly Dock
and Prickly Lettuce.
My friend Linda,
who knows about native plants
and what to do with them,
tells me that Navajo artisans
use every part of Curly Dock,
for dyeing fiber,
and medicinally.
The Curly Dock seeds
are richly colored. It seems wasteful
to not harvest them myself,
but I’m looking forward to seeing
who will.

DSCN4490Curly Dock

Prickly Lettuce, she tells me,
is edible—before it reaches this, mature, stage.
Grasshoppers like to eat it at this stage.
But, I’m glad to say, the plant is ahead
of the grasshoppers. Yesterday,
the daintiest yellow flowers bloomed
and today the beautiful feather-like seeds
that followed are already
letting go
in the breeze. There will be
Prickly Lettuce next year.

DSCN4479   DSCN4488
One has to keep a close watch
on a wild wildlife plot,
else she might miss
something beautiful.