Before daylight this morning I was awake. Not that I am an early riser. I hadn’t been asleep. It was just one of those nights. I’m not sure what drew my attention to the window, but out by the pond was a large black shape that I was sure hadn’t been there the night before. Family members often go up to the pond just to sit and look out at the water. It was probably just a lawn chair, I decided. Then the lawn chair began to move. I watched for a few moments, then raced upstairs to shake my sleeping husband.
“Wake up!” I commanded, “There’s a bear cub in the back yard!”
Of course, by the time I drug the poor groggy man downstairs and to the window there was nothing to see in the darkness but darkness, but dawn brought another sight.
This little lady was perched on the lilac bush with her beak almost against the window. As she peered into the human world inside, her loud “Cheep! Cheep! Cheep!” announced that all was not well, and she wanted her people to know about it! The feeding shelf had been licked completely clean and was hanging precariously by a mere corner. It looks like it’s time to change the location of the feeding station for the summer.
(I’m not sure if I have the birds and squirrels trained, or if they have trained me. If that feeder is empty they always find a way to tell me about it. )
Well, the kids are back early, and they are regretting it. Usually the Red-winged Blackbirds return to our area in great flocks sometime in April, but yesterday as I was attempting to capture bird photos through the snowflakes, I caught sight of two pairs. (You never realize how irritating snowflakes are until you try taking photos in a snowstorm.) These gung-ho youngsters obviously decided their fuddy-duddy elders were being too cautious and struck out on their own. One bird still had his baby tufts.
Sorry, kids. We’re having a second winter up here.
The weather is changing. Fall is upon us, and the creatures of the outdoors are looking for a warm place to spend the winter. This is the fifth one of these monsters we have found in the house. The largest spider we’ve dispatched this season was over three times the size of this wolf spider. I guess if you want to live on the edge of civilization, you must accept that sometimes the wild creeps indoors. Usually these spiders travel with a mate, and the females are far larger than the males. If this guy’s girlfriend is in the house, I had better load the shotgun!
Note: This wolf spider looks as though he is free, but he’s actually in a pickle jar. I wouldn’t suggest handling this breed of wolf. This specimen was extremely aggressive and would come after my fingers when I touched the glass!
Puff is a neighborhood wildcat who spends cold nights sleeping in a box on my porch. Seen here doing his Abby imitation, Puff may look like your average house cat, but his wild roots will most likely keep him from ever being completely domesticated. Though he is curious about humans and the indoors and can sometimes even be loving, Puff was born in the wilds and prefers not to have boundaries. He comes and goes as he pleases, and accepts no attention he didn’t initiate. He did, however allow me to apply a warm compress to that eye and put in a couple of drops. It should be okay in a day or two.
For Puff, rolling over is neither an act of submission nor an offer to play. It’s a challenge. He knows he can take you, and he wants to prove it. I fell for his rub my belly tactic once. I will never do it again.
On cold winter nights, don’t forget your pet! Remember to provide plenty of food, fresh water, and a warm place to sleep.
Gone are the days when I whiled away the hours photographing squirrels. Puff ate them all!
Punxy Phil found himself in lockup this weekend when a sting operation caught him in the very act of raiding a garden. Local authorities suspect that Phil is responsible for a crime spree that included digging a hole under a woodworker’s shop, ravaging local gardens and flower beds, and the destruction of a dozen cabbage plants while they were still in the greenhouse packaging.
Though Phil adamantly pleaded his innocence (and threatened to bite anyone who got near his cell), he was found guilty of predicting bad weather and garden raiding in the first degree. He was sentenced to a life of exile without the possibility of parole.
Locals hope that Phil’s arrest will serve as a warning to other groundhogs who might consider a life of crime.
This very, very angry groundhog (not actually Punxy Phil) was released unharmed at a nearby animal sanctuary where he will safely live out the rest of his life far away from the temptation to return to his thieving ways.