LAUREL CANYON —Well, I guess spring is really here huh? Last fall I planted a butterfly garden in my backyard. I recently saw my first butterfly of the season in my front yard. Black and orange ”“ a Monarch butterfly – just what I had hoped for! Guess this one needed a GPS. It’s the little things that put me on high alert.
I remember just a few weeks ago being more than just a little annoyed at the incessant cheeping from baby birds wanting to be fed. “Enough already! Where is this careless Mom with dinner?” If only I could buy some worms or seed and toss them up here. Anything for some peace and quiet.
It seems that in no time at all that annoying cheeping has turned into singing. With the quiet of havingMulholland Drive closed, the songbirds offer zen-like tranquility to the area.
I hadn’t thought about it, but at the same time that the cheeping started, the sidewalks and patio furniture was covered in yellow pollen. The local pollen count is still off the charts. The early flowers were out, and I noticed that the native plants such as the cucumber plant, monkey grass, buckwheat and wild dill were in bloom. Seems to me that white, yellow and purple flowers were out in force. That’s when I noticed a covey of quails scurrying down the hillside. They had been pecking at the seeds that had fallen to the ground from these early flowering plants. I hadn’t ever given this a second thought, but Mother Nature has a system all worked out. As the baby birds were coming out of their shells, there was an abundance of food available to feed the new mouths.
These songbirds add so much to the joy of living in the hills, but we have a responsibility to them as well. It turns out that some birds are having trouble with successfully hatching babies because the bird’s eggshells are too thin. A lot of this is our carelessness. We put bug, weed and snail killing chemicals on our lawns and gardens. Even the slug-bait is poisonous. So the birds that are not eating seeds are eating worms, insects and snails. The poison is carried up the food chain. We’d hate to lose our local bird population, and it’s a difficult death for a bird if it is poisoned.
If you have having issues with snails and sow bugs eating up your garden, the right thing to do is go non pesticide. Snails don’t like to crawl across lumpy rough textures. So ditch the smooth rocks. Put down coffee grounds, copper strips or seaweed. You can mix a very diluted liquid soap and water concoction and spray the plants. Get rid of the dead leaves and dropped fruit.
And finally, apparently you can eat these snails that you’d pay big bucks for if you bought them at Gelson’s. But guess what? You need to be careful about the poisons they contain. So put them in a little water feed then bran and lettuce for 10 days, and voila. You’re French.
Count me out!