Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Natural World

We are animal lovers in this house. Everyone who knows us is aware of this fact. We currently have two dogs and three cats. When Zoe was born we had one dog, four cats and a parakeet in a two bedroom apartment. We wouldn't have had it any other way.

Now that we are in the country, we are surrounded by wildlife. We are sure to see something any day that we venture outdoors. It could be something as simple as a grasshopper on the backdoor or a dragonfly hanging out on a flower stem.

Other days we are amazed at the sight of a coyote pouncing on a would-be snack or a red fox scampering down the driveway. Once we caught sight of twin fawns taking a breather in the grass next to our birch trees.

We have witnessed raccoons hiding from us in the hayloft and raccoons eating corn cobs in the dark of night that we had put out for squirrels to eat.

We have seen opossums ambling down our drive and groundhogs scurrying into the tall grass. Occasionally we have seen a wild turkey or two wandering around. Their gobble is a unique sound all it's own.

We have viewed box turtles, toad and frogs, rat snakes, garter snakes, cicadas, woolly bear caterpillars and butterflies in every color of the rainbow.

We have observed spiders that are too strange to understand. We must come into the house and do an Internet search to see what the heck it is we are looking at! We never get too close to spiders.

We have too many moles to count and are constantly tripping over the mounds of dirt they leave in their wake. The dogs tried to eat one that ventured out of it's home once, but they kept dropping the fuzzy black monster because it would squeak once they had it in their mouths.

Birds have become a fascination with our family. I don't think Chad ever looked twice at birds before we moved to the farm. He was so accustomed to pigeons that all birds become mundane. Now he has a few bird books and a couple pairs of binoculars at the ready by our large picture window in the dining room. Zoe is equally enthralled by birds. We have seen various woodpeckers (Chad is hoping he sees a pileated woodpecker before he dies), gold finches, indigo buntings, bluebirds, red tailed hawks, blue jays, cardinals (we had a baby cardinal in a nest in the bushes surrounding our front porch last year...he had the best hairdo!), and a lot of turkey vultures.

Our greatest discovery has been the family of great-horned owls that were living in the woods surrounding our farm. The youngest member of the family would routinely sit in our front yard and was found sitting in Zoe's blow-up swimming pool one morning.

During warm summer nights we like to sit either in the backyard or on our front porch and wait for the bats to come out. We have seen 2-3 bats in the warmer months ever since we moved here. If a ball is thrown up into the air the bats will dive down towards it to investigate. I love to see the bats. They are our very own all-natural insect control.

We also have had sightings of creatures of the OTHER kind. When I say "we" I mean Chad. He is the only one who has seen these rare and unique beasts. He only sees these creatures when he is alone and it's either very dark or very early in the morning. He claims to have seen a mink down by the mailbox and mothman when he was coming home late from work one night. Something big and dark flew past his truck and he can't confirm whether or not it had glowing red eyes. Most odd sightings he tells me about get listed as Chupacabras.

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