A New Adventure

Our new (old) house on move-in day.

Over the summer, Emily accepted a nursing position in St. Joseph, Michigan—the culmination of three and a half years of graduate work. With this news, we quickly embarked on our first homebuying adventure. This turned out to be what is perhaps the ultimate exercise in marital compromise. While I’ve enjoyed a lot of city amenities over the last decade, having grown up in a small town, I had been wanting to move back to the country for some time. Emily was not so sure of such an endeavor but we were very lucky to find a rural property in close proximity to several towns, Lake Michigan, and within an easy drive of Chicago and Grand Rapids. Despite the horror stories we heard about first-time homebuying, our experience was as smooth as could be expected.

Our new house is a circa 1920 farmhouse on five acres in Royalton Township, Michigan. The area is mostly agricultural with specialty crops like grapes, hops, tomatoes, and fruit trees. We’ll have plenty of space to start a garden and perennial pollinator meadow and I plan to expand my beekeeping efforts. Emily will be just a few miles from work and we’ll be five miles from Lake Michigan when we need to kick back and relax.

Of course, we are feeling mixed emotions about all of this: sad to leave friends, colleagues, and neighbors in Columbus but excited to start a new chapter in a new place.

Pumpkins

Homegrown pumpkins.

During the second week of July, I planted a handful of New England pie pumpkin seeds. Realizing this was almost too late in the year, my hopes were not high for these plants. The five vines did well at first but powdery mildew eventually set in and I couldn’t keep up with fighting it. These two pumpkins were the only ones to make it to harvest.

Clintonville Wildlife

Red milkweed beetle (Tetraopes tetrophthalmus) on a coneflower head.

On this summer solstice, I’m reflecting on all the wildlife that lives in and around our small patch of earth in the Clintonville neighborhood of Columbus, Ohio. I’ve been amazed by how many species live with us—or do we live with them?

Below is a list of creatures I’ve observed over two years. These are just from memory and are animals I could identify. There have been many other unidentified insects.

Mammals

Bats
Chipmunks
Possums
Rabbits
Raccoons
Red fox (1)
Skunk (1)
Squirrels

Birds

Bluejays
Canada geese
Cardinals
Chickadees
Crows
Great blue heron (1)
Hawks
House finches
Hummingbirds
Goldfinches
Grackles
Mourning doves
Nuthatches
Robins
Sparrows
Turkey vulture (1)

Insects, etc.

Ants
Aphids
Bumble bees
Carpenter bees
Centipedes
Common house spiders
Crickets
Daddy longlegs
Dragonflies
Earthworms
Flies
Honey bees
Hornets
Jumping spiders
June bugs
Lady beetles
Lightning bugs
Milkweed bugs
Mosquitoes
Moths
Monarch butterflies
Pill bugs
Praying mantis (1)
Red milkweed beetles
Silverfish
Slugs
Stink bugs
Wasps
Wolf spiders