Prose Inspired by My Backyard Wildlife Habitat

Longer pieces don’t get finished as quickly, especially the short story and the illustrated children’s book…but here are three essays that I wrote in direct response to things in my backyard wildlife habitat.

photo of cooper's hawk on brush pile
A Death in the Neighborhoood

There was a death in my neighborhood recently–right in my own backyard.

I glanced out the door to my backyard on a still, brilliant January morning, the open air sparkling with fine snow flurries glistening like tiny diamonds floating aimlessly in no hurry to reach the ground,…

photo of peas in soil
On Planting Peas

It is early March and I am planting peas. The wan spring sun is finding its heat and lays like a warm hand upon my back as I work. Signs of approaching spring fill my senses in the mild air on my skin, the scent of damp soil and the shrieks of children as they run in frenzied circles of freedom, much like the birds swooping and circling above whistling their mix of songs.

photo of two cats in the grassMy Cat Has Become a Serial Killer

Despite my lectures about not letting your cat hunt, mine don’t roam but Namir found a way to catch and kill little voles during our brief morning outings…

He prances across the yard with the little gray bit of fur in his mouth, ears cupped forward, eyes in slanted slits, tail straight up in satisfaction, despite the fact that he is fourteen years old with congestive heart failure and a compromising bladder condition—and he’s only been out in my backyard for about five minutes.  …

Read all the articles in this series

An Introduction to Backyard Wildlife Habitats

What’s in Your Backyard? The First Step in Planning Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat

What Else is in Your Backyard: The Fauna That Fill It

Bringing it All Together: Enhancing and Developing Your Habitat

Art Inspired by My Backyard Wildlife Habitat

Photography Inspired by My Backyard Wildlife Habitat

Poetry Inspired by My Backyard Wildlife Habitat

Prose Inspired by My Backyard Wildlife Habitat


Poetry Inspired by My Backyard Wildlife Habitat

black and whtie photo of echinacea and fence

Flower and Fence

Sometimes I’m on a ladder in the mulberry tree  picking berries and a poem starts building in my mind. All I can do is remember to carry paper and pen with me, and hope that I’ll be able to balance while I use both hands to write down my thoughts.

These poems were written as a direct result of being out in the yard, or on the deck observing. My poetry is organized on my website on one page, all alphabetical, so you’ll have to scroll down the list, but many of these poems also appear in the pages I’ve built for my annual poetry readings. I encourage you to visit those pages as well as “all poetry” so you can see even more artwork, even if it isn’t of my backyard.

I will be publishing a book of my poetry following my fourth poetry reading in February 2010.

Dogwoods

This poem was published on A Prairie Home Companion website at the very beginning of their “stories from home” series, and led to me creating an annual poetry reading and art show at Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall.

The dogwoods are blooming up and down my street.
The breaking of the cold,
The unusually warm, brilliant spring day…

Entering Paradise

This is a very short poem written right after the incident.

On the death of a downy woodpecker who ran into my window.

Father’s Day

This was inspired by watching parents raise their little ones.

She is a little small but quick
and she obviously adores her father,
following him everywhere …

Feverfew

It’s a great way to start the day…

Oh, I can’t stop looking at all the feverfew
in my garden,
I just keep running from one cluster to another …

June

It’s a haiku—an excerpt would give it all away!

Like a Tree

I wrote this sitting on my deck after coming home from a long day way back when I still worked a day job.

To live my life like a tree,
to grow steadily from small beginnings,
fervently when possible, and quietly adapt when necessary, …

Raspberry Dreams

One morning while picking raspberries I found a childhood memory of discovering a huge raspberry bush, not knowing what they were.

You can best see the constellations
by lying on your back and dreaming
and in due time the sky is filled with
cavorting gods and goddesses, …

Valentine’s Day

This really did happen on Valentine’s Day, and I learned later that this is a courting ritual with American cardinals.

He doesn’t have to give this gift to her
and she doesn’t have to receive it
as she could easily feed herself …

Read all the articles in this series

An Introduction to Backyard Wildlife Habitats

What’s in Your Backyard? The First Step in Planning Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat

What Else is in Your Backyard: The Fauna That Fill It

Bringing it All Together: Enhancing and Developing Your Habitat

Art Inspired by My Backyard Wildlife Habitat

Photography Inspired by My Backyard Wildlife Habitat

Poetry Inspired by My Backyard Wildlife Habitat

Prose Inspired by My Backyard Wildlife Habitat


Photography Inspired by My Backyard Wildlife Habitat

photo of buttercups

Buttercups © B.E. Kazmarski

I started out just setting up galleries with clickable thumbnails, then I went to Flash slideshows. I like them both, but neither one is easy to update! I need to get back to these and add more, but for now enjoy the show. Click the title to go to the gallery.

All of these photos are available as prints or sets of notecards, or you may purchase reproduction rights for use on a website or print publication. Please respect my ownership of these images and purchase them if you’d like to use them.

close-up photo of fleabane
May and June Wildflowers

A few of these are not in my backyard. The slideshow may not begin automatically depending on your browser; look for the link at the bottom of the paragraph.

photo of leek blossom seed head

Winter Leftovers

I leave plants, especially natives, standing through the winter for foraging birds and other wildlife, and for insects to lay their eggs and nest. When I cleaned out my garden this spring I was entranced by the delicate beauty of all the dry, empty seed heads, the tattered spiderwebs and brittle stems. The slideshow may not begin automatically depending on your browser; look for the link at the bottom of the paragraph.

photo of black raspberries in dish
Berries

An ever-expanding gallery as the birds “bring” more berries to my yard all the time, and one that I really need to update now that I think about it. I have more berries than this in the yard, and had perfect weather in June for photographing them.

photo of tomatoes and peppers

Vegetables

Just a few photos of some vegetables. Most of them are on film, and I’m looking for a good negative scanner rather than scan the prints.

I have other galleries there featuring birds, butterflies and critters, and although more than half of each gallery was taken in my back yard, it’s not technically of my backyard wildlife habitat—but feel free to take a look while you are there.

Read all the articles in this series

An Introduction to Backyard Wildlife Habitats

What’s in Your Backyard? The First Step in Planning Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat

What Else is in Your Backyard: The Fauna That Fill It

Bringing it All Together: Enhancing and Developing Your Habitat

Art Inspired by My Backyard Wildlife Habitat

Photography Inspired by My Backyard Wildlife Habitat

Poetry Inspired by My Backyard Wildlife Habitat

Prose Inspired by My Backyard Wildlife Habitat


Art Inspired by My Backyard Wildlife Habitat

pastel painting of snowy morning

Morning Snow 1

I hadn’t actually realized how much art I’ve done in, or and inspired by my backyard until I made my list. I had intended when I moved here to fill my yard with subjects for painting, and I guess I succeeded.

So here are thumbnails with links to the pages on my website where you’ll find them. I have them categorized by wild birds, landscapes, flowers and still lifes, and Winter White, which was a show I did entirely of small pieces of winter-themed artwork. You’ll have to scroll around because my pages are still in html, not php or any other script where you can do a customized search, but I hope you enjoy browsing.

All of these images are available as prints or sets of notecards, or you may purchase reproduction rights for use on a website or print publication. Please respect my ownership of these images and purchase them if you’d like to use them—check my online Marketplace to see what’s available and check my Marketplace blog for Backyard Inspired Greeting Cards and Eye on the Sparrow Notecards and Writing Paper,  two sets which feature many of these images.

Wild Birds are on Wildlife, and some are also in Winter White.

painting of junco on snowy branch

Snow Bird

pastel drawing of blue jays in tree

Jammin'Jay Blues

pastel painting of cardinal in snowy branches

Accent

pastel painting of birds in snow

Birds in Snow

pencil drawing of doves in bare tree

Biding Time

charcoal sketch of birds in spruce

The Sparrows in the Spruce

linoleum block print of chickadees on tree branch

Busy Chickadees

block print of nature

Near and Far Away

Landscapes are obviously on my Landscapes page, but you can also see the winter-themed ones on Winter White.

pastel painting of snowy morning

Morning Snow 1

pastel painting of snow under trees

Morning Snow 2

pastel painting of misty dawn

Dawn

pastel painting of foggy morning with spruces

Fog

watercolor of tree branches against winter sky

Tracings

pastel painting of clouds

Cloud Study

pastel painting of bird bath and forget me nots

Forget-me-nots

pastel painting of evening landscape

Spring Evening on the Hills

pastel painting of a spring sunrise

Spring Sunrise

pastel painting of green pepper in bowl

One Pepper

pastel painting of pink and red roses in a vase

Small Roses

pastel painting of red petunias on deck railing

Petunias

These are also primarily Landscapes but since they are winter-themed I have them linked to Winter White.

watercolor of tree shadows on snow

Colorful Shadows

watercolor of tree shadows on snow

Gentle Shadows

pastel painting of bare tree branches against sky

Wild Black Cherry Tree

pencil drawing of bare tree branches

Tree Study

pastel painting of tree trunks and shadows

Standing Trees

pastel painting of tracks in the snow

Tracks

I hope you enjoy your visit!

Read all the articles in this series

An Introduction to Backyard Wildlife Habitats

What’s in Your Backyard? The First Step in Planning Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat

What Else is in Your Backyard: The Fauna That Fill It

Bringing it All Together: Enhancing and Developing Your Habitat

Art Inspired by My Backyard Wildlife Habitat

Photography Inspired by My Backyard Wildlife Habitat

Poetry Inspired by My Backyard Wildlife Habitat

Prose Inspired by My Backyard Wildlife Habitat