Thursday, August 2, 2007

Life in the kingdom

Night before last I saw five deer, one fox, and a bat. One of the deer was a 14-point buck. This spring, we've had in our yard a family of marmots (aka groundhogs or woodchucks), a rat snake, a garter snake, countless rabbits, squirrels, birds, and chipmunks, two raccoons. . .and those are just the ones I've seen.

This totally knocks me out. I feel so privileged to have this ringside seat to the Kingdom.

My neighbor and I joke that we spend half our time just running to our windows to look outside to see what might appear next. Last fall we heard coyotes, including pups yipping. Neighbors on both sides swear we have bobcats. (Want to see, want to see!) Oh, and did I mention Bertha the wild turkey who hung out here all spring? (My mother named her the day she flew up onto our second floor deck railing and paraded back and forth there.) I cannot tell you how funny it is to be typing away and have a turkey walk past your window in your peripheral vision. A couple of weeks ago there were three turkey buzzards, (a different bird) feasting on dead something in the street. You go, guys. It's all yours.

Some neighbors love all this wildlife. Others think of them as pests, and fret over their roses and tomato leaves. I met one neighbor who says she likes the deer, except when they won't let her in her driveway.

They say black bears are coming back bigtime to our next-door state of Missouri. Okay, that makes me glad to live in Kansas.

Got any animal stories to tell? Close encounters of the animal kind?

Once upon a time, there was a turkey named Bertha. . .

46 comments:

Nancy P said...

It's 2:11 a.m. What am I doing still up? Damn that Spider Solitaire!

G'morning, to the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. And also to you. :)

And now. . .zzzzz.

Family Man said...

Morning Nancy.

I just see some deer time to time when I'm driving. Oh and snakes at the pond. Can never forget about snakes at the pond. :(

Hope you finally got some sleep.

Beth said...

Morning! 2:11?? And here I thought I was the last one up last night! Freecell is my downfall - my sister has to set an alarm when she plays...

Sorry about the snakes, family man....

Lived in the woods for 10 years. Bear in the compost pile, cougars on the road, turkeys in the trees, coyotes singing at night. Was driving home one evening (dirt road that dead-ended at our house) and saw a tall man with his hands up over his head (like in a stagecoach robbery - reach for the sky!) walking down the road toward me. Which made no sense - for lots of reasons. Got closer, and finally realized it was a young moose. Who, luckily, veered off the road before he bumped into my car. Or attacked it.

I live in town now, and it's not nearly as exciting! I'm jealous...

Nancy P said...

I'm glad to see you moving again, fm. I did get some sleep, thanks, though noise woke me at 6. I may follow your inspiration today and take a nap.

Animal stories: We have a photo of a family vacation in Yellowstone Park, where a big ol' bear is lying on our picnic table eating our lunch. We took the photo from the car. With the windows rolled up.

GreenMinute said...

I feel so privileged to have this ringside seat to the Kingdom.

To tell you the truth, Nancy, I prefer the balcony.

As Homer Simpson explained to Marge when he showed her the momma Raccoon and her baby Raccoons, who had taken up residence in the overhead storage compartment: "I call the big one Bitey."

Nancy P said...

Oh, Beth, that's so funny about the "Man With His Hands Raised Up." He's probably telling stories about the huge turtle that almost attacked him.

You've actually seen cougars?! I think they are scary dudes.

GreenMinute said...

Aw gee, Beth, how beautiful was that description of a moose at first sight!

Are you a writer or something? If they had mooses in my woodnesses, I'd steal your description instantly. Dang.

Nancy P said...

lol, greenminute!!

Yeah, and I wouldn't really want to get too close to those deer. There's not only the Big Buck, but two feisty young bucks, too. As my neighbor said one evening when the three of them came out of the woods, "They looked like they were up to no good." (Makes me grin just to type that.) Get too close and I might have to call them Raise Up High On Back Legs And Whomp Nancy With Hooves.

GreenMinute said...

He's probably telling stories about the huge turtle that almost attacked him.

LOL, Nancy. You are alert for so little sleep.

Moose Crichton, I presume.

GreenMinute said...

HOT TIP:

Like a fox, dash on over to Beth's blog for real treat today!

And, Beth? Oh, Be-eth? Did your research for this involve your trying out an on-line (like a fish, Nancy) hook-em-up service?

Beth said...

Nancy, I'd love to see that picture! Must have been scary for a youngster, but what a great story.

Lol to all of you. I WAS driving reeeaaallllyy slowly - don't want to startle a moose! They're so blind...I was asleep in a trailer in the woods one night and the whole thing shook. My ex opened the shade and there was a moose mama and baby staring in the window. I'm not sure who jumped the highest!!

Yep, have seen cougars - we had three prowling around the neighborhood at one point. A little eerie.

Beth said...

Thanks, green! (blush) Yep, I did join one. Vince was an actual date, believe it or not. The PS to that story is that I was telling a friend about this jerk, and it turned out that her sister had worked for him for years, and they thought he walked on water because he was SO kind to her. I guess there are two sides to every story...

FARfetched said...

As I've said in other places: before I was FARfetched, I was Dirt Road, living in a doublewide in the woods at the end of a two-track road (less than a mile from here, in fact).

Shortly after we moved into the doublewide, Mrs. Fetched was sitting in the yard swing with the smaller of my two cats, when Scooter hopped down and puffed up. "What are you—" then she looked up. And saw the panther. About 30 feet away. The panther was just watching them with a "WTF? That wasn't here last year!" look. The Mrs. (slowly) went for the house, and the panther yowled once then moved on.

Yesterday, on the way to pick up my car, we saw a squirrel dash out in front of the car in front of us. In the time it took us to think, "that guy's toast," he went between the front wheels, switched directions and dashed out between the side wheels, then took a flying leap into the weeds. Someone once described squirrels as "the Hell's Angels of the animal kingdom," and that guy definitely earned his "three-wheel" patch.

Nancy P said...

Thanks for the TIP, green! I loved it, Beth. And as I said over on your blog, I'm still laughing at the sobbing poet. Still laughing. STILL laughing.

Anybody who goes to the blogroll on my front page will find links to Beth's blog AND to farfetched's blog where you can read wonderful excerpts of their fiction.

PANTHER!!! Whoeee. Was this in Florida, far? (I love the, "WTF" line.)

Nancy P said...

Far, I think of those squirrels as adolescent males daring each other from the curb. "You do it." "No, you do it!"

GreenMinute said...

Far, where the heck were you living that you saw (or were seen by) a painter? Wow.

Beth, cougars?

Well, Nancita, this is the Wild Kingdom indeed.

Turkeys, I must confess, scare the heck out of me. They are so fun to hear goobling when occasionally one or two come by to roost in one of the trees that I pray every night will not fall onto the house.

Uh, it's not that I am afraid of nature. Just most things in it.

Anyway, a turkey taking flight from a tree is about the most startling thing you can hear and not jump out of your clothes and into somebody else's.

A bat in my bedroom in the middle of the night on my 40th birthday I took to be a sign. I took it to be a sign with a broom aloft over my head, spinning naked in the middle of the landing at the top of the stairs and screeching like a little girl at her birthday party.

I had to be rescued. As I said, Nancy, blacony seats for me, please.

Nancy P said...

Oh, green, even your typos are funny--

Far, where the heck were you living that you saw (or were seen by) a painter?

You can't be too careful while in the presence of a wild painter, lol.

FARfetched said...

Hey folks!

The panther was here on Planet Georgia, aka the free-range insane asylum. We sleep on the feet of the mountains here. There's also bears; I saw one on Hwy 136 over Burnt Mtn. once, and Mrs. Fetched's cousin (who lives less than 2 miles away) says they've had a bear rolling around & smashing their tomato plants this summer.

Thanks for the blog flog, Nancy. If anyone just wants to read the fiction, I've tagged them all. And Beth's excerpt is well worth reading too… and for someone who's pretty well stuck where he is, it's fascinating to read about someone who can just move a couple thousand miles away at will.

Jean Sheldon said...

Boy, you can't sleep in on this site. Good morning. Within the first three days of moving from Chicago to the middle of nowhere in New Mexico I ran into a momma and baby scorpian, a twelve inch centipede (that's how they grow them out here) and a twelve foot bull snake. The bull snake and scorpians were outside, so I could run. I've since learned bull snakes are harmless, just big. The centipede was inside and I had to catch it or smash it. Yuck!

Family Man said...

Hi everyone.

FAR it must be the mountains you live near because we don't have near anything like that around here. Of course there are alligators starting to show up in a few ponds around here. I haven't seen one yet thank goodness.

Beth thanks about the snakes. I was over at your blog and found it wonderful. I always loved traveling and wish they had digital cameras back when I was doing mine. I never had the patience to wait for film to be developed. :)

Nancy P said...

Jean, a 12-foot bull snake, good golly. I *think* I wish I could see one. From green's balcony, maybe. :)

Fm, I saw an alligator once on a golf course in North Carolina. (I don't golf, I was just strolling with friends.) It was over *there,* giving "water hazard" a whole new meaning for me, just a few yards away, looking at us from under those eye lids. I couldn't get over it. Prehistoric ferocity, so free and so CLOSE.

FARfetched said...

Gators? Fun. I guess. FM, maybe they'd chase the snakes away?

Sometimes, fiction can't get close to reality...

Candy Thief

Monkey on the Loose

Nancy P said...

Maybe the squirrel could lure the monkey with chocolate candy.

I love it that the squirrel always takes the toy inside the candy when he leaves. His kids must be the most popular ones in the tree.

Family Man said...

Hey Tupelo is about two and a half hours from me. Maybe the monkey will make it down this far and George will get a playmate.

Beth said...

Sorry I disappeared - I have to clean my rental house today, now that all of the boxes are out. Movers come tomorrow for the big stuff.

green, I am STILL laughing at the picture of you attacking the bat...and far, I envy people who know where they're supposed to be, and have found happiness and contentment in one place. Hopefully that'll be me one of these days.

Such great stories today!! Thanks for sharing all of them.

And thanks for the kind words re my writing, all. You are wonderfully supportive and generous people. I am humbled and honored. Big hugs to all of you.

Back to washing windows - this place wasn't this clean when I lived here!

Nancy P said...

Beth, is it weird hanging around now, and are you eager to get driving?

You WILL wave goodbye, right? :)

Beth said...

Yes, it's very weird. I was ready to leave a month ago, but had Red Sox tickets in Seattle for this coming weekend, so stuck around. Should have left long ago - my nerves are shot, and I'm very antsy to be on the road. It's that anal part of me that wants to get on with my next adventure.

I'll check in as I can - don't forget me! I'll tell tales of the road in my blog as I can, and will be back online once I'm in FL. Sorry I'm not driving through Kansas this time - I would have met you Kansans for coffee!

I promise I'll be waving!! As long as you are -

Nancy P said...

You leave tomorrow? I wish you journey mercies, and beautiful scenary, and lovely weather, and a perfect-behaving vehicle, and lots of nice people along the way. We'll miss you here! But it's good to know we can catch up with your progress at your blog.
Next time, Kansas! :)

Waving now, just in case!

katiebird said...

Oh, Beth -- it would have been so GREAT to meet you. Are you sure the detour isn't worth it?

Hi Everyone, I just got back from a full day in Topeka. But, I'm ready to ROCK!

Nancy P said...

Topeka? You have all the fun, kb! Did you go to that pretty library?

katiebird said...

YES! It's like a museum or a cruise ship -- totally impressive and beautiful. I spent the whole day there. It was North East Kansas Libraries Tech Day.

I'll have everyone know that I didn't eat any of the piles of cinnamon roles or scones that were piled around the room all morning. Or any of the cookies also piled everywhere.

And whew! What a relief not to have that photo haunting everything I type!

Nancy P said...

I think it's the prettiest library in the whole world. A pink library!

It's a lovely photo, but I can see how you might be unnerved seeing it every single time you post a comment anywhere. :)

katiebird said...

Mister's setting up our Big Brother computer. We're going to hook a computer (with Real Player) to our televisions so we can watch the live feed of Big Brother on our television sets.

I haven't got the subscription yet. But, it'll be fun to have while the family is out of town.

You really get to see the good stuff with the live feeds. And it's very relaxing to watch at nap time.

We last did it a couple of years ago. But, he took photos of the connections. It's still complicated enough that I'm not sure I could figure it out as easily as he seems to be doing it.

AND I'm watching some sort of Dance contest.

boran2 said...

One of our friendly local rabbits was out on the lawn waiting for me tonight when I took out the trash. He ran when I got very close. I was happy to see him as long as he keeps away from my tomatoes.

Beth said...

Sounds like a beautiful library - I'll have to plan my trip to pass through Kansas in the spring - it would be great to meet you, katiebird and Nancy! Thanks for the kind words and wishes.

I drive to Seattle on Saturday (yes, I know it's the wrong way) - back here on Monday - then head east on Wednesday early. Should be in NH by Monday, with stops in MN and NY to visit friends. To FL via Atlanta and Boston, arriving the 23rd - fly to San Diego from the 24th to 29th - back to FL the 30th - find a place to live the 31st! Phew - I'm tired already...

So you don't have to wave til Wednesday - unless you want to do little waves on Saturday as I head to Seattle to watch the Red Sox...

I'm going to go through blog withdrawal - but I'll check in each morning and evening. Thanks for keeping track of me - it'll be nice to have virtual company on the road.

Back to cleaning - argh. Wish I had some of those cinnamon rolls about now!!

katiebird said...

Gosh Beth..That's an amazing itinerary. Have fun.

And Wednesday? I'll be waving like mad!

Nancy P said...

Hi, boran2. Do you know that some people have a superstition that makes them say, "rabbit, rabbit," the very first thing on the first of every month? It has to be the first thing they say, or it doesn't "work." Very strange. Too late for August. :)

Virtual cinnamon rolls for Beth!

katiebird said...

"rabbit, rabbit" ?

I have never, ever heard of this. But, It's been around for hundreds of years!

Amazing.

Nancy P said...

Amazing, indeed! I love that Gildna Radner said, "Bunny, bunny."

olivia said...

When I went home last w/e the wolves were howling during the full moon ... I was out on the porch trying to take shots of the stars since there are no city lights around ... but the moon was full and too bright ... LOL. The serenade was lovely though -- the howls and the yips of the younger ones.

Great stories everyone!

Nancy P said...

WOLVES!!!

You win, Olivia, lol!!!

Wow. I'm staggered. WOLVES.

I'm also staggered 'cause I went to bed after 2 a.m. and got up around 6. I'll see you crazy kids in the morning.

xxoo

olivia said...

I don't know Nancy ... I was thinking Bertha was the star ... :)

Yes, you were up late ... and early ... sleep well!

katiebird said...

Good Morning, Nancy!

I forgot to mention the time I walked out to my car, drove up and around the circle and as I came out of the circle, and looked to the left there was a HUGE Deer with a full set of horns standing RIGHT next to my car.

Just standing there.

It was one of those times, I really wished I had a camera with me. (and now I do always have a camera with me)

Also, the neighbors across the way had a family of foxes living under the stairs to their front door one summer. Very cute. But, weird. For a suburb.

FARfetched said...

Wow, KB, that's cool. Most of my close encounters with deer also involve cars, but moving fairly quickly.

Foxes in suburbia? I'm not really surprised. There was a family of foxes living in/around Atlanta-Fulton Country Stadium (right downtown). If they can manage life around a baseball stadium, a suburban porch would be a vacation home. :-)

Nancy P said...

I'm having trouble getting my new post up this morning. Can any of you see it, or is this still the top one on the front page?

Nancy P said...

lol. Nevermind. Blogger's playing trickster with me today.