High Ridge Gardens
                                                  artists' retreat and bird sanctuary
                                                                   
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The Dream

My former husband, John Edmondson and I purchased the neighboring property to our home in September 2006, giving us close to 40 acres to oversee. That fall, an adjacent 130 acres of woods was “harvested” –cut, bulldozed and burned. As I sat on the hill overlooking the charred remains, I worried where all of the winter and migrating birds would go. I put up feeders all along the fence line to help the birds that came back to find their food and protective tree cover gone. That was the beginning of an  all-consuming work in progress!



We now have bird feeders scattered throughout the pastures, trails and woods. We are continually adding nesting boxes, and mow selectively, to give adequate cover and nesting grounds for many different species. We have two year-round ponds and one seasonal wetland, in addition to birdbaths, to provide a bountiful water source. In addition to almost 70 “sight” identified birds, we have deer, raccoon, rabbit, bobcat, possum and fox.  Feral cats are trapped and turned in to the local animal rescue. We use pesticides and fertilizer only as a last resort, and then very sparingly, on the property.

 



 

Mornings in spring host a cacaphony of bird song, and on summer nights we listen to the chorus of frogs, crickets and cicadas. Our dream is to leave the property as an ongoing artists' retreat and bird sanctuary, long after we need to be here, so that others can enjoy its serene beauty.

                                  -Mary Erickson


 

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