Our first Vermont house had been an active one-room schoolhouse until the 1950s, when the drive to consolidate country schools put it out of business. Like many other rural schools dating from the nineteenth century, it had been built in a fenced-off corner of pasture the owner-farmer figured he could do without. What we ended up with, then, was a clapboard house sitting on half an acre of lawn surrounded by 50 acres of cow pasture. The country was rolling and the prospects pleasant enough, but what, I wondered was a wildlife enthusiast to do without habitat? It seemed to me the notion of “open space” could be carried too far, that there must be a way to make the place attractive to more than Holsteins.

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