Living with Nature – success at last

As long as we’ve lived in this house, in the middle of Orange County, in the Los Angeles basin, I’ve wanted to make nature as much as home here as I can. I’ve always had the help of the Wonderful Spouse, which is something I can’t overestimate.

This year, more than ever before I see that we have a very small sanctuary for wildlife in the area. We have a veritable herd of lizards this year. That’s something that pleases me more than I can say. Small reptiles and amphibians are disappearing from our environment at an alarming rate. In my lifetime I’ve seen amphibians of any kind just disappear. There are none here anymore. I’ve looked for years. Hoped for years. I haven’t seen a tadpole anywhere in the last 20 years.

But we still have lizards. The cats have brought in more lizards than grasshoppers so far this year. I still find that hard to believe. Of course, to have any at all, you have to have more than one, but this year we seem to have a virtual herd of lizards. I think at least 5, going on what the cats have caught. They’ve brought in quite a variety.

It’s weird, but the lizards seem to have adapted to being caught by cats. Once caught, they don’t move or try to run away. They just play dead. I’ve been able to get every one away from them and put it back outside, still alive.

I can’t believe that we have so many of them here. It’s hardly the perfect environment. A major California freeway is less than 100 yards from here. And another major highway less 100 feet. And still we have wildlife. Lizards, birds, butterflies and the occasional racoon or possum. It’s amazing what shows up if you give it the least little chance.

We need to do some repair work on the house this year and I’m kind of worried about it. I feel like we finally have a wildlife oasis here and repair work will necessitate some disruption of that. I hate that. Animals of all kinds come here. I don’t want that to stop. But you have to strike a balance between having someplace to live and having nature take back your space. I want a balance; I just don’t know how best to achieve that balance.

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