City to Country Living

Moving from the inner city of Seattle to a small town of approximately 8100 in Minnesota, mental and physical changes have had to be made.

Our Seattle property was landscaped and had 3 evergreen trees in the back. The occasional wasp or bee would make its way through the property with an occasional glance from me. Not so in Minnesota.

Our treed property has many critters. Eagles, hawks, frogs, mosquitoes, no-see-ums, ticks, squirrels, wild turkey, deer, cardinals — even fish in the lake that we have access to.

Never having grown up in the “country” (although we only live a few minutes from the freeway to St. Paul), I feel challenged in this environment.

I had scheduled today as “yard” day. There are many dead leaves on our property from last year or possibly many years. People in the area just seem to let them fall and remain where they are. Last week, I had started the yard project (as I like to call it). I had raked up the leaves along the side and back of the house. It looks nice. Then I ordered my yard waste container which holds 95 lbs of yard waste.

Throwing aside caution to overcome my environmental challenges, I picked up the first of the 3 containers from last week that I had filled with leaves and dumped it in the yard waste container. Satisfied, I picked up the second container. Not too bad — no bugs jumped out at me. Picking up the third container, something leaped that was quick and appeared to have a tail — simultaneously, I yelled and jumped back. (I wonder why no neighbors have ever come to my rescue when I’ve yelled?)

Catching my breath, I stepped forward to see where the “rat” went. Huddled in a corner trying to hide under a leaf that was too small for it was a frog. A dark frog. I felt sorry for it.

I dumped the leaves in the large container. Hmmm … had the frog been in with the leaves or under the container I picked up? Did I just throw the rest of its family in the large yard waste container? No matter. I wasn’t going to sort through a large pile of leaves to get its “family” if it existed.

I started sweeping and went to pick up a bunch of leaves when I had my first accident — the dustpan broke on the first pickup.

Okay, I told myself. I’ll just have to use the dustpan without the handle. Another challenge.  I continued clearing leaves from the driveway entry and the street then headed back into the house checking myself for any ticks I may have on my clothes.

Working in nature is quite different now.

I spray myself with mosquito repellant before leaving the house and working in the yard. Although I must give credit to the dragon flies that ate most of the mosquitoes already. The occasional mosquitoe flies by. Sometimes they “get” me when I forget to spray myself.

One day I’ll get used to “them” — everything, I’ve been told, has a purpose.




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