Monday, May 24, 2010
Living With Critters
I live on a beautiful hillside, with a distant view of Mt. Abram and Sugarloaf, and the mountains of Highland and Lexington ringing close around my homestead. Sometimes I worry…. afraid that I’m too lucky… that I don’t deserve to live in this gorgeous and peaceful place, where the mountainside shelters me from wind, where the babbling brooks lull me into a sense of contentedness, and where the air is crisp and clear. I watch thunder clouds roll across the peaks to the west until the Sandy Stream Valley is shrouded in swirling darkness. In wonder I behold spectacular sunsets, especially in November, and they end my day with color and splendor.
I am lucky to live in the western mountains of Maine.
Country girls such as myself naturally have an affinity for wild creatures. I have a few “city” friends who’ve never laid eyes on anything more exotic than a pigeon or a gray squirrel. I don’t think I could stand that type of existence, although I’m sure it’s “all in what you know”. If I hadn’t started life as a game warden’s daughter, if I hadn’t grown up on a hundred acre wood, perhaps I wouldn’t miss seeing critters about the place. But I did… and I would miss the country life if I lost it.
Spring time in these hills is a marvelous time. The animals which hibernated all winter long have emerged from their dens; hungry and newly curious about the world around them. Larger animals such as moose and deer are leaving their winter grounds and yards and venturing forth to find new glades and fields and swamps and thickets in which to browse or shelter or give birth.
Here on The F.A.R.M. we’ve always had an abundance of wildlife nearby. From my front porch I have watched white-tail deer and their fawns graze and carouse in the field. I’ve watched moose nibble buds from the trees and have seen them leaning over my fence, curious about the cows or the goats on the other side of the page-wire. I’ve seen bald eagles and red-tailed hawks and turkey vultures soar overhead. Woodchucks, raccoons, hedgehogs… otters and turkeys and foxes and bears… all gifted me with a glimpse of their uniqueness without ever having to leave my home.
I’ll say it again. I’m a very lucky woman.
As much as we love to observe our wildlife, sometimes they can become a nuisance. A porcupine can cause a tremendous amount of damage over the course of a night or two as it chews its merry way though a sheet of plywood. A raccoon can make a heck of a mess as it devours sunflower seeds meant for our songbirds.
And a bear can cause a lot of destruction simply by being a bear. (Note to self… don’t throw the trash into the truck until just before taking it to the dump, and close window to the porch to help with continence issues…)
These photos were all taken this week… here around my home (and sometimes, ON it!)
Am I a lucky woman, or what?
Sorry about the "Fuzzy wuzzy was a bear" photo... it was a "Quick! Turn on the light!" moment, and was taken (by daughter Josie) through the window on my kitchen door... and then... the bear sat back on his butt to look at the light, and I tried to get a good one with MY camera, and I had the knob on the top set in the wrong position...I kept clicking, and nothing happened... grrrr.