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