My Big Backyard

I was a Ranger Rick kid.  My grandpa maintained a subscription for us for every year I can remember and in so doing raised us up as good strong magazine addicts.  He was an addict himself, a sucker for any kind of nature magazine.

In case you were deprived of Ranger Rick and now feel like you've been missing out on something vital all your life, Rick is a raccoon in a forrest ranger hat.  In the magazine he goes on adventures and gives you helpful tips on how to make a homemade bird feeder, or what to take on your trek around the neighborhood to catch bugs.  I highly recommend it.

Ranger Rick had this whole other feature called "Your Big Backyard".  It was all about the wildlife kids could find in their own backyards.  How to spot bird nests and all about grasshoppers and stuff like that.

Which brings me to my Big Backyard.

It's pretty big.  And I've been meeting a bunch of creatures I've never had in a backyard before.

First, it's got about a zillion birds I've never seen before, of the sea and song varieties.  We got squirrels galore.  Cats, too, to whom I give the look that says, "do NOT come near me or you will regret it.  otherwise, peace, feline friend."  

We got mussels, oysters, crabs and lobsters, and starfish and sea urchins, and eels and those crazy big old horseshoe crabs.  Also, seals.

We met a big one out on the water in our canoe, and this cute little friend came right up into our backyard to take a rest from the raging waves during a storm last week.  We hung out with him until it was too dark to see.  And by "hung out with him" I mean stared giddily from a distance, too afraid to get too close, forcing him to jump back into the raging waves.  He'll be back.

I want to write a letter to my Ranger Rick self and send it back through time.

Dear Me, 
One day you're going to have a really BIG backyard.  
And see stuff. 
So go ahead and keep your nose in that magazine for now.  
And listen.  Don't worry about that awkward fact that no boys ever seem to like you.  You get to marry a man so great you can't even imagine!  And he'll make firewood from a fallen tree that knocked out your power in the storm that brought you a seal.  You'll roast marshmallows.  You'll bake him a cake on his birthday.  Things will turn out well. 
Love, You


Jessie said...

Loved this post. (This is Mark's cousin, btw. I've been following your blog for a while but I'm not sure if I've commented before.)

KT and Lance said...

I'm a lousy friend! Happy very late birthday! i even thougt about you on your birthday, and just spaced emailing you!!!! Your pic's are amazing, and even though you mentioned spiders, I'll still come visit you!

Libby said...

I enjoyed reading your lovely blog post. Where are you? And special thanks for the lovely shout-out to Ranger Rick. We love it when bloggers mention us fondly!

These days the magazine is still trucking on! We hope we're entrancing new generations of nature-lovers! Oh, and guess what? Boys make up about half of our subscribers!

Thanks again and warmest wishes to you and your family,
Libby Schleichert, Sr. Editor
Ranger Rick Magazine
National Wildlife Federation
Reston, Virginia

Check us out on the Web:

Follow me on Twitter: @epschleichert or @rangerrickmag

Singletonmd said...

this post was magical. thank you!