Two pebbles today

November 14, 2023 @ 8:39 am | Filed under: ,

image of a bee on a red coneflower


Rilla and I made a bug snug yesterday. I don’t have a photo of it yet (too cozy to get up right now, and anyway if I go downstairs I’ll be swept into The Rest of the Day and this post will float into the drafts pile with the hundreds of other unfinished musings I’ve amassed over the years), so I searched for bug and then bee in my photo library. So. Many. Bee pics. This one isn’t the crispest but the red coneflowers felt more apt for this November morning.

Anyway, the bug snug! You make a tripod of sticks or canes—we used this video to assemble it—and fill it with twigs, leaves, flower stems, grass cuttings, all the wealth summer left behind in your yard. This creates habitat for overwintering insects. Also it’s very cute.


The bug snug is part of our big project: participating in Portland’s Backyard Habitat Certification program. The new house has a biggish corner lot, beautifully landscaped by the former owner (she’s my hero—oh the care and love she lavished on this house!), mercifully pesticide free, with roses and berries and perennials, but also a lot of grass. We’ve begun our project by sheet mulching over the grass along the retaining wall that runs along our corner sides (the front and west sides of the house). I’ve planted a few perennials there and some wildflower seeds, but the main goal for now is to knock back the grass and create beds for planting native shrubs and pollinator plants in the spring.

The kids were surprised when I told them it will likely be two or three years before we get to the Silver certification level, and longer than that to qualify for Gold. For me, the leisurely timeline is a comfort. It’s a puttering project, a little here, a little there, doing what we can do.

Huck has done most of the digging for the south-side border. We’re sheet-mulching over the grass (layers of cardboard, compost, and leaf mulch), but we needed to remove a narrow grass right along the retaining wall so we could tuck the cardboard down, and he’s making another narrow trench to edge the bed. He has discovered that he loves digging. This is excellent news for his mother.

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4 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Erin says:

    How wonderful to have a lad who loves digging!
    Can’t say it excites any of mine

  2. Melanie Bettinelli says:

    Sophie and Ben both like digging– at least they did when we needed to dig a new garden bed a couple years ago. Has it really been a couple of years already? I meant to do more digging this fall to plant some bulbs along the fence, but then somehow October got away with me and I ended up plopping them in the raised bed where I had tomatoes because bulbs in the ground even in the wrong place are better than bulbs still sitting in a box. They will still give me joy in the spring, even if I have to replant them to make way for vegetables. Or maybe the vegetable garden will give way to flowers. The marigolds were more successful than the tomatoes this year and the sunflowers out performed the squashes.

  3. Melissa Wiley says:

    “bulbs in the ground even in the wrong place are better than bulbs still sitting in a box”

    Amen to that. I overbought crocuses because I’m mad about them, and I’ve lost enthusiasm for tucking them into the grass. Yesterday I told Rilla I think I’ll just stick the rest of them in a big pot. As you said, we can always replant them elsewhere next year.

    I had ambitions to prep a vegetable bed this fall but the natives border is probably going to be the extent of my efforts for this season. I did grow a lot of tomatoes this summer, and my berry bushes (blue and rasp) were a dream.