People in our habitat garden
Our habitat garden is more than just for wildlife. It's a wonderfully relaxing and joyful place for people, too. We can't imagine going back to a boring, sterile landscape devoid of life.
The "habitat basics" for wildlife are food, water, cover, and a place to raise young, along with using earth-friendly gardening practices.
These are the elements of a healthy habitat for people, too!
We love eating our super-fresh, super-tender, chemical-free food like this leaf lettuce
We use a good bit of our smallish yard to grow our food in Our Edible Garden.
We've been surprised to find how satisfying it is. We like knowing where at least some of our food is coming from, and that it's as fresh as it possibly could be.
And since we garden organically with no pesticides or chemical fertilizers, we know we're not eating any toxic chemicals along with our food.
Inside our home (Our Green, "Good Life" website), we get our water not from a bottle but from the tap (and ultimately from the lakes we're trying to protect).
Outside our home, we try to conserve any water that falls on our land.
Besides conserving water for our own use, it helps keep our community's lakes, rivers, and streams clean and healthy.
Our "cover," of course, is our house. Now with our empty nest, we understand that our house is far larger than we truly need (though it's not a McMansion by any means).
Though we like our house, we could leave it since, after all, it's just a house. But it would far more difficult to leave our yard and all the creatures we've provided for, and we're too old to start over.
We've come to understand that we in the developed world must reconsider the size of our homes and especially our yards for the sake of life on earth, including our descendents.
(Of course, now we're being hypocritical, but we're striving to minimize our impact.)
(More about our house is described in Our Green "Good Life" website.)
A place to raise young
We very much regret that our children were grown by the time we converted our yard to a habitat garden. Even so, our children experienced a bit more of the natural world than many other children since we've always had gardens of some sort, and we spent many vacations camping in national and state parks.
But we're looking forward to sharing our gardens with our grandchildren when they're a little older and can visit in the summer. Children, especially, need a connection with nature as well as a connection with how their food is grown.
Earth-friendly gardening practices
Described elsewhere, the same practices that provide a healthy environment for wildlife also create a healthy environment for people.
Besides the obvious benefits to our health, we take great satisfaction knowing that we're being good stewards of the land that has been entrusted to us, especially because the planet we leave our children and grandchildren will be our most important legacy for their future.
But there's more
I don't know whether animals "appreciate" what we provide. I think not. They just live life.
But connecting with nature is good for people. Humans are just built that way.
And what better place to reconnect with the natural world than in your own yard? For us, our habitat garden provides a connection with life itself that we just wouldn't have otherwise.
One of my most vivid memories of the days surrounding 9/11, when the world seemed so dark, was sitting in our backyard feeding peanuts to the bluejays and the chipmunks under blue, sunny skies. It was very comforting to know that life continued. Many people have found solace in nature, and this can happen right at home with a yard full of life.
It's sad that our society has increasingly isolated itself from the natural world and the comforts it can bring.