One strange thing about this place when we arrived was a lack of wild life and a narrow range of plant life. We could not tell if it had to do with our proximity to the highway or the atv trail or something else. Each year, I notice something that was not here before.
This spring, for example, we had dandelions for the first time. That seems almost impossible to believe, I know, but there was a line that crept from the front field. By the end of summer, there were a couple of dandelion flowers on the back margin of the channel. I keep wondering what our soil lacks or what the previous owners did to make the ground inhospitable to dandelions. I know they are not an ideal thing to have in a hay field, but the cow does eat them and they are good for the soil, so I see no harm in having them in our pasture.
Red clover, which we seeded in one pasture, is working it's way slowly into all four pastures and up around the house.
We have also seen more frogs each summer. This past summer, a couple of toads showed up in the front beds and the house garden. I made places that might be good homes for toads, as I hope for many more will come and stay.
We hang a bird feeder each autumn, and before this year, we only had chickadees and a couple of blue jays visit. This year, we've had our regulars, but also a nuthatch, pine siskin, house sparrow, and a wood pecker. Also, the hummingbird feeder had a pretty steady visitor this past summer.
We have known there are chipmunks and red squirrels, because the cats leave their remains in obvious paces. However, the red squirrels seemed much closer to the house this summer; they sassed us as we went through the garage door and as I worked in the house garden. And gray squirrels, which have been moving ever north and east across Vermont, showed up about three weeks ago in the trees around the front pasture. We'll see whether they stay through the winter.
Each new plant or animal seems like good news, even the ones that might be considered pests.