Hi! My name is Angela. I grew up in a large family (oldest of six kids) in a small shotgun-style house in South St. Louis. Growing up in a large family is wonderful, but it has its challenges, and when you have six children, paying for even little things can get expensive in a hurry. My parents couldn’t afford to buy us fancy toys or the latest fashions or take us on expensive trips, but what they did give us was their time. That, to me, was priceless.

On Sundays after church, the eight of us would pile into our ’76 Chevy station wagon (yes, for you younger folks, that was before seat belt laws!) and head out for a drive. We’d usually end up at a state park or some other conservation area where we’d all cram onto a picnic bench and eat the lunch that Mom had packed for us. Somehow, bologna and cheese sandwiches and some Pringles chips always tasted better when you were eating outside! After lunch, we kids would find the longest trail that my parents would allow and we’d set out for our hike.

Simple, inexpensive, but effective. Those days, whether it was collecting rocks on a river bank; touring a cave; climbing rock formations; camping at a state park; or, on weekends when we couldn’t get away, riding our bikes through the local city parks, created some of the best memories and most wonderful experiences of my childhood. Since we didn’t have a big yard at home (most city lots are small), visiting those parks and conservation areas enabled us to explore and discover what Nature had to offer, and instilled in all six of us kids a love for natural things. And sharing those experiences as a family made it that much more enjoyable. I think that might be a part of the reason why we, as adults now, all still remain so close.

Back in 2005, I bought a house away from the city in a little area called House Springs. I still don’t have a big yard, but compared to what I grew up with, my quarter-acre lot seems huge! AND, it backs up to woods! I fell in love with it and discovered a new hobby – landscaping for wildlife. Through trial and error, I’m figuring out what grows in my little patch of clay and rock. I’m also researching what plants (mainly native) and features will attract which creatures. So far, I’ve added a pond, some bird feeders and a few nest boxes. I have several flower beds scattered around the yard, none of which are very big, but all of them are full of wondrous discoveries. I’m always learning. I’ve attracted birds, lizards, snakes, toads, frogs, chipmunks, bats, turtles, squirrels, a plethora of insects and who knows what other creatures that I just haven’t noticed yet!

Too many people today are so busy with the virtual world (everybody’s got an electronic device attached to their hip) that they’re missing what’s happening right outside their own doors. Epic battles are being fought. Families are being raised. Homes are being built or destroyed. Things are growing and things are dying. Going outside can truly be an adventure!

My YARDVILLE is a way for me to share my experiences, what I’ve learned or discovered about the creatures and plants that share my part of the world. I hope it will inspire and encourage you to go outside and discover what’s happening in your own backyard!


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