I am making super progress on remaking my vegetable garden. By the end of today I should be back to I was when I began the project-complete vegetable garden with finished beds. Moving the vegetable garden has required moving railroad ties. These ties have seen better days as they have been in the garden for a very long time, but they still serve the purpose of identifying the boundaries of the garden. While moving the ties I came across some interesting wildlife. Under one tucked into some nooks were three of the largest slugs I have ever seen. I will leave their fate up to your imagination. I also came across a brown snake about two feet long. He slithered off none the worse for the disturbance.
By far, the wildlife I ran into the most was the blue tailed skink. I never knew much about these little lizards so I thought I would research them. They are very common and feed on crickets, spiders and even moths. They are a gardener's friend and I left them alone for the most part. But finally, after seeing my sixth skink I came across a small one I thought would be easy to catch to show to Jimmy. Catch him I did and was quite proud of myself. I am not very brave when it comes to catching strange critters I know nothing about. He felt really smooth and not slimy at all. I was carrying him toward the house to proudly show my son when he bit me! Needless to say he landed on the ground-unscathed as he scampered off. The bite did not hurt as I don't even think he had teeth. The bite just suprised me. It really was kind of funny. I will not mess with skinks anymore and Jimmy will have to find them on his own.
Another run in with a lizard occurred a few years ago. I was shoveling compost out of my compost bin when I spotted a black lizard with light orange-yellow spots. At first I thought it was a snake and was startled. I gently placed the lizard in a deep wheelbarrow to save him until Jimmy got home from school. The first thing Jimmy did was pick it up and hold it! It was a good thing this critter did not bite! I think we have identified it as a Spotted Salamander. Spotted salamanders eat earthworms, insects and mollusks. They live most of their lives on land and return to ponds for breeding. I guess this little amphibian found a good home in my compost pile which is full of its preferred diet. We let him go back in the compost and hope he is living a happy life somewhere in the garden. I have not seen another spotted salamander since this one visited.
While outside yesterday I kept hearing a knocking sound and knew a woodpecker was close by. I walked out front and found a downy woodpecker pecking on a bird house. It seemed like she was trying to enlarge the hole and my presence didn't bother her much at all. She would just move around to the other side of the birdhouse as I got closer. I encourage all birds in my garden. They are gardeners friends because they eat the insects. I once had a pileated woodpecker pecking on the side of my vinyl house. I am not sure what his problem was as I know there are no insects in vinyl siding!
in the garden....