My situation finds me home more than ever before. In the winter, the temperature and snow depth keep me inside and home most of the time. Summer, however, can also be trouble-some. Quadriplegics lose the ability to regulate their body temperature because of several different factors. Warm to hot days can raise our body temperatures, and we are unable to realize it until it has reached dangerously high levels. It can rapidly cause autonomic dysreflexia which is life-threating. So, the result is, a lot of time we stay in our homes. I decided if I was going to be spending so much time in my house, I was going to make it user-friendly and reflect my personality, interests and lifestyle, both inside and out.
I have always enjoyed watching wildlife, growing flowers, being aware of the weather and having my hands in the soil. We embarked on a plan to draw wildlife closer to the house. Even though I was born in Brooklyn, ever since college I have always lived in a rural area. Prior to my accident we had always fed birds in the winter but now decided to feed them year round and try to bring them closer to the house. We placed a feeding station just outside the window by my computer. Other feeders were placed strategically near or on certain windows. We bought and I built some feeders and bird houses. The gardening boxes were located in spots readily visible from particular house windows. Different weather instruments, such as a thermometer, weather vane (including wind speed cups) and a rain gauge in warm weather or a snow gauge in winter were placed in close proximity to each other to create a weather station. A turkey feeder was put on a back part of our lawn. These efforts have all born fruit. Two of our garden boxes I plant in annual flowers which I can see from the inside and work in when I’m outside. The same is true of our four vegetable boxes. In addition to deer, turkeys and other occasional unusual wildlife, we have a great variety of birds throughout the year and are able to watch the young being raised and given early flying lessons. These areas also provide an opportunity to take many photographs, which I also enjoy doing. Inside, in addition to all the plants, we have many pictures of places we have been to and things we have done.
I believe making a living space reflect ones interests is more easily done in a rural setting, but there are things which I believe could be done to create this type of habitat in a city. Many bird feeders attach to the outside of a window as do some nesting boxes. There are mobile flower or vegetable window boxes which can be used inside or out. I also believe some city areas have gardening plots in nearby lots or on roof tops which you may be able to utilize. The point I am trying to make here is to make your home a more enjoyable and reflective place to be. Once again think outside the box, and make your home environment your very special place.