Author: J.E. Fishman

Does Scale Matter?

Puddock Hill Journal #33: You don’t need a big plot of land to help revive nature. About a month ago, a friend and frequent reader of this newsletter told me she found my reports on Puddock Hill “intimidating” because she has far less land than we do (she lives in a suburban subdivision) and employs […]

Dem Bones

Puddock Hill Journal #32: A good time to evaluate the structure of our landscapes. I was walking the property line along the east woods outside the deer fence the other day and came upon a skull, which I placed upon a nearby boulder thusly: I believe it once belonged to a deer, probably a small […]

Counting Houses

Puddock Hill Journal #31: Birdhouse occupancy measures progress and inspires. Like most backyard gardeners, we don’t have the resources at Puddock Hill to measure our progress or regress by quantifying very many things. There is no team of entomologists to tally the arthropods. No expert bird counter to number the flock. No scientist to assess […]

Smashing Pumpkins

Puddock Hill Journal #30: The trash is the last place you want to throw a pumpkin. With Halloween in the rearview mirror and cooler temperatures finally threatening to settle in next week, one’s mind turns to the sorry remains of our decorative pumpkins. As our house is not visible from the road, we don’t put […]

Invasive Profile: Winged Burning Bush

The striking fall color of this shrub belies its aggressive nature. This time of year, Winged burning bush (Euonymus alatus) stands out. This should surprise no one, as it is often planted specifically for its fall color, which reminds me of red construction paper, the kind kids use in kindergarten. Burning bush is a native […]

The Steward’s Paradox

Puddock Hill Journal #29: Leave it alone, but you can’t leave it alone. I’ve been down to the short strokes and up against a deadline on the novel I’m writing for my Masters of Environmental Studies degree from the University of Pennsylvania, so I didn’t get out to walk the Puddock Hill property much over […]

Mice vs Mouse

Puddock Hill Journal #28: Collective slaughter comes easier than killing a single mouse. We had our first frost warning of the season last night. Pam raced to cut the dahlias, resulting in lavish flower harvesting: But the frost didn’t quite reach us, and there are no more warnings in the ten-day forecast. We’ll see what […]

Horton Had It Right

Puddock Hill Journal #27: Backyard stewards must always consider the unseen and rarely seen. Who can forget the iconic Dr. Seuss story Horton Hears a Who and its life lesson, “a person’s a person no matter how small”? Published in 1954, adapted for television in 1970, later made into an animated feature film in 2008, it tells the story […]

Sustainable Pond Strategies

Puddock Hill Journal #26: Seeking Ecological Pond Balance in an Imbalanced World One of my greatest regrets as a backyard steward was a decision I made in Bedford, NY, in the nineties. In those days, I wasn’t a fully enlightened, ecologically-minded gardener, just a guy trying to improve his yard. We had bought an old […]

Birds and the Backyard Steward

Puddock Hill Journal #25: A recent report from BirdLife International reminds me why our efforts at home are so important. One day last week, a beautiful sunny fall day with temperatures in the seventies, I sat working on my porch overlooking the pond and wet woods and found myself marveling at the number and variety […]