Wild Things

Wild turkey

Wild turkey

Every night I think there is a party going on in my yard.

It’s like the wildlife in our area borrow the line, “Let the wild rumpus begin!” from the children’s book, Where the Wild Things Areby Maurice Sendak.

I know this because I have seen wild critters roaming in our yard, I have smelled them, and our cat morphs into her security sentinel mode as evening descends. 

If we allow her to remain outside after dusk, she mans her “post,” one side or another of our deck where she watches the lawn for trespassers.

When we force her to come inside (because she has tangled with skunks one too many times and she is no longer allowed outside after dark!), she sits for hours in our upstairs bedroom window.  Her cat eyes trained on the front landscape from her lofty perch, she scans it for any perpetrators.

Skunks frequent our yard regularly.   In the summer when we sometimes sleep with our windows wide open for fresh air, I have awakened often in the middle of the night to a horrible smell.  

Our friend, Mr. Skunk.  Why he chooses to spray his offensive odor near our house,  I do not know, except I wonder if he runs into all the other party animals romping through our lawn, possibly those rowdy raccoons.

Occasionally I suffer from bouts of insomnia. I’m one of those people who can’t drink or eat anything with caffeine after 7 p.m. or I can be sure I’ll spend a mostly sleepless night and I don’t live in Seattle!

One night after tossing and turning for a couple of hours, I meandered downstairs to the family room to read around 2 a.m.  I was startled to see the motion detector light flash on our back deck and something walk past the patio door.  When I looked out, a little fearful about what I might see, a possum stared back at me.

He had climbed up several steps, walked past my open (but screened) door, sauntered across the deck, and descended down the stairs on the other side. I really can’t imagine why he took this path, since there was nothing on my deck to entice him up there!

The daytime hours reveal just as many creatures using our acreage as a thoroughfare as those nocturnal critters.  We’ve seen groundhogs, rabbits, moles and mice, muskrats, snakes, and even a snapping turtle. 

My kids also once saw a bear in our area, but I’m happy to report that’s one animal I haven’t laid eyes on yet, thankfully (except for the zoo)! Twice now I’ve seen a little fox scurry through on his way and we also have had families of wild turkeys.

Did I ever tell you about the time a turkey flew smack dab into the side of our house during a snowstorm and landed kerplunk, dead as a doornail, on our deck? Yep, that happened. 

Imagine  getting up one morning,  hearing a loud whump against your house, and finding a dead turkey covered with snow lying on your deck.  And it wasn’t even Thanksgiving!  Life in the country!

And then there are the white-tailed deer. They are abundant in our neck of the woods and every fall they seem to go berserk.   It’s the rutting season and later in the fall, hunters will stake out their tree stands in the woods, waiting for their prey.  This makes the deer crazy – literally.

Middle daughter's car

Middle daughter’s car

You never know when a sweet little Bambi is going to plow straight into your car while you are traveling 45-65 mph.  I imagine the damage done to vehicles in my home state just from deer collisions is staggering.

I speak from personal experience.   Just this morning at o’dark thirty as I was on my way to a local school, one of those wild things emerged from the thick woods and darted across the road directly in front of me.  It was dark and it was raining and I was on a country road.  I’ve had more close calls like that than I can remember.

I usually don’t worry too much about hitting the deer, I worry more about the deer hitting me because that’s what has occurred to our family twice since we’ve moved here.  The first time happened to me in my two-month old car. 

Notice deer fur

Notice deer fur

A doe literally appeared out of nowhere and slammed into the left front bumper of my car.  She fell down, scrambled dizzily to her feet, and I was certain she was going to run into me again. That one caused  $2000 in damage to my new car.

Last year, shortly after middle daughter bought herself a brand new car, she was tooling down the highway minding her own business when BAM! Bambi rammed into the driver’s back side of her car, putting a huge dent in her lovely new vehicle, and sending broken glass and deer fur raining all over daughter’s passengers and the inside of her car. She was just very fortunate that no one was injured.

I know there are a lot of animal lovers out there who think it is cruel to hunt and kill these wild creatures, but I’m not one of them. 

Hunting season will be here soon and here’s what I say – “Let the wild rumpus begin!”

©2010 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

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