Wenches and the Wild

Wench Leopard 1

 Joanna here, bringing you tales of Wenchly encounters with wild things.  We Wenches had been chatting by email about chickens and copperheads, as one does.

Mary Jo, first up, brings us her stories from further to the the Wild Side:

I love animals and grew up on a farm, but I have no tales of devil red hens, mega-roosters, or sinuous copperheads.  There have been plenty of cats and dogs in my life, and my woodsy suburban neighborhood has lots of squirrels and chipmunks and deer and foxes and bunnies.  (I hope those last two don't meet up often!) 

But for real drama, I'll have to turn to Botswana.  Two years ago, we did a safari there after I spoke at a conference in Johannesburg, and it was great.  We traveled several vast nature preserves in open sided safari trucks.  The wildlife there is not tame, but many of the animals have become accustomed to the trucks and pretty much ignore their human visitors as long as we behave.  So a leopard ambled by a few feet away and lionesses lounged in the dirt roads, supremely confident.  

But my most dramatic encounter was our last night in one of the three safari camps we stayed in.  This particular camp housed guests in glamorous tents.  (Hence, "glamping.")  The camps were completely dark when we returned to our quarters after dinner, and we were told to always have a guide escort us back.  On that last night, I was walking ahead of the Mayhem Consultant and our guide, only a single flashlight to guide our path through the African night. 

Wench Lion and truckAs I neared our tent, I heard something rustling in the underbrush.  It didn’t sound large  but it could have been a hyena or some other critter I didn't want to startle.  I returned to our guide and said there's something up there, it didn't sound like a big beast like an elephant, but he might want to check it out.  He did and came back and said calmly, "It's an elephant."

Sure enough, standing smack dab in front of the entrance to our tent, maybe four feet from the canvas, an elephant was chomping on some greenery.  I thought we'd retreat to the headquarters until the elephant moved on, but our guide just said that we could get in through the end entrance of the tent. Oooh-kay, if he thought it was safe… 

I unzipped the end door entry and we went inside.  (I peeked out the front entrance and saw the Wench Happy splashing elephantvast curved back of the elephant silhouetted against the stars, and felt the presence of that great bulk just a few feet away.)

For the next half hour or so we could hear the elephant brushing around the canvas sides as it continued to foraged.  I wasn't frightened but I was wary.  The Mayhem Consultant wanted his shower so he took it.  ("brush, brush, brush, a crunch of a branch, brush, brush, brush…)  I didn't want to be caught starkers if the elephant absented-mindedly took down part of our tent, but that didn't happen.  Eventually the elephant wandered off and all was calm.

But I didn't forget that encounter with a Wild Thing!

But getting back to the chickens:

Wench goshawk Susan here:

Interesting encounters with wild things … well, we had a giant chicken in the family. My husband's twin nieces, when they were little, got an adorable baby chick for Easter that they wanted to keep. Their family lived out in the country and had four dogs and a bunch of other critters, so what was a rooster. They couldn't break the girls' hearts. That cute little fuzzy yellow thing grew into an enormous white rooster that the girls' teenage uncles named Lucifer. He was raised in the household with the dogs, and he truly believed he was one of the pack. He did whatever the dogs did — ate from a dog dish, sat under the table hoping for dinner scraps, slept on a doggie bed, ran around outside with his furry friends, even chased cars — if the dogs took off after a car, Lucifer would scurry along too, screeching "er-er-er-er-ooooo!" — the surprised expressions of the passengers was an even funnier sight than the giant white rooster hurtling toward them. He had his own quirky lifestyle, and lived many happy years. 
 

Wenchsusan w harris hawk

Susan with Harris Hawk

I had a lucky encounter with a wild bird while researching falconry for Laird of the Wind, which features a truculent goshawk that challenges everything the falconer hero knows about hawks. I met a local guy who trained hawks and had a particularly feisty goshawk in his mews much like the bird in my story. It was a veritable gift from the research angels to watch this beautiful, powerful, stubborn bird bating on the wrist, flailing about, refusing to cooperate, while his owner explained why the bird behaved that way–he had been trained, had escaped and reverted to the wild, was recaptured and being retrained. I happened to be writing that very same situation in the story — so that lovely, ornery bird went straight into the book (here's a photo of that recalcitrant fellow).  

Pat also weighs in on the Winged Fraternity:

 
Wench sparrow

A bird in the hand …

Pat here:

Wild Things and I tend to get along, similar personalities I suspect. We respect each other’s privacy and stay out of the way. My only encounter of the terrifying kind was when I was about six or seven and had raised a baby sparrow that had fallen out of its nest. (And no, we couldn’t put it back in. The tree was way taller than the house!) I’d padded a nest with sweet grasses, fed it with an eye dropper, mushed up worms, all the great things a six-year-old might do. When the sparrow got old enough to fly, I took the box outside and put it up where other animals couldn’t reach it. It learned to fly into that tall old hickory tree, but then it would fly right back down to the box or land beside me. That’s when I learned cats are not bird friendly. The old tom someone had dumped off the side of the highway was quicker than the sparrow, and that was the last time we ever had a cat. Sorry cat lovers, I love birds more.

So other than dive-bombing crows that steal ice cream off a toddler’s cone, I just admire the foxes, deer, coyote, and other critters that cross my path and let them do their own things.

 

From Andrea:

Wild critWench Raccoonters? Having had country houses for a long time, I’ve seen all kinds of them, from the chipmunk who ate my very expensive New Zealand shearling gloves (Really—it couldn’t have gone for the plain vanilla woolen ones next to the sheepskin?) . . . to the bat who led me on a merry dance through the house, using a broom to guide its sonar to the open door . . . to the baby possum, who needed to be captured in a soft, fuzzy blanket and then carefully carried outside. And then there was the coyote (the first and only I ever saw on my property) who strolled past the dining room —the wall facing out on the meadow was mostly glass—during a large family dinner. It stopped about 5 ft. away from the window to ogle the platter of grilled salmon I had just carried in, then Wench racoonshrugged and kept going.

But I think my favorite story is raccoon vs. six adults and one child for guest privileges at a friend’s country weekend cottage. The raccoon was rather loath to leave (picture 6 adults running madly as a furry critter chased them out the front door.) Given that a 6 yr old was part of our group, it was decided that a wild animal skulking around wasn’t wise, so we decided to . . . evict it.A long story. One of our party had seen a TV show about lassoing wild animals . . . the rest of us reacted with sneering skepticism, but somehow we went along with the crazy idea and managed to herd the raccoon into an empty swimming pool. Our intrepid big game expert had one of us back the car up to the pool’s edge and open the trunk, then shimmied out on the diving board with a rope and broom fashioned into a makeshift fishing pole. I’m not sure who was more astonished—us or the raccoon, when sure enough, he gently looped the lasso around the animal’s middle and lifted it up. Eyes wide in wonder, the raccoon didn’t twitch a muscle as he floated through the air and was placed in the trunk. Down slammed the lid, whereupon we drove it about 5 miles away to a forest area . . . then panicked about how we were going to get rope off it. But raccoons are very clever with their hands. When we gingerly opened the trunk, it popped out having already untied itself, and ran off—not without a huffy look for having ruined its weekend getaway! (The 6 yr old talked about the exciting raccoon caper for years afterward!)

 

Nicola with a rare, shy animal:

Wench Pine Marten

Yep. This is a pine martin

I live in the country and enjoy nothing more than being outdoors, and over the years I’ve had wonderful encounters with wildlife of many different kinds: Deer that pop out of the woods at Ashdown to check us out on our early morning walks and baby badgers and stoat families playing on the drive in front of the house. As my OH is very into birds and wildlife he’s the go-to person in the neighbourhood when a bird falls down a chimney and gets trapped inside the house or when a mouse needs to be relocated. As mice are homing creatures we learned early on that they need to be taken a long way away or they’ll just re-appear triumphantly the next day!

WenchWolf

Being licked, not eaten

I’ve also been lucky enough to travel and see amazing animals in places like Namibia – big cats that have had a very hungry look in their eyes, and at the other end of the world, polar bear cubs in the Arctic. I’ve even walked with wolves and had my face licked by a wolf cub.

My favourite encounter however, was in Scotland a couple of years ago. We’d been told that the cottage we were staying in was visited regularly by a pine marten foraging for food and that he had very specific dietary requirements: nuts, jam and raw eggs. We were very excited because although we’d had a couple of glimpses of pine martens in Scotland in the past they are such elusive creatures that it’s very rare to see them. We set out a feast to tempt the little creature and waited. And waited. And waited… Eventually I got up to make a cup of tea and when I came back two minutes later the jam and peanut butter was still there but the egg had disappeared and there was no sign of the pine marten.  It was a bit like the moment in Jurassic Park when the goat disappears, only much nicer. Eventually however, our hours of patience paid off and the pine marten graciously consented to stick around and eat the remainder of the food we left it – although it much preferred peanut butter to plain nuts!

 

Wench Possum-1

Baby possum

Anne brings us … Animals Rescue Melbourne:

I live in the city of Melbourne in fairly inner suburban area, but luckily we have a lot of parks and our local council also believes in planting a lot of native plants in the streets, which provides habitat for native birds and animals. I have a large gum tree at the front of my house and in the morning it's filled with noisily chittering rainbow lorikeets (small colorful parrots), or warbling magpies, occasionally a mournful crow or two, and in the evening, sometimes an owl. 
 
I believe it also houses a possum. I believe this because one evening  I found a baby ringtail possum crawling along the ground in front of my house. It was tiny and cute and sweet and bewildered — about the size of a small mouse.  I couldn't leave him there —

Wench BabyLorikeet

Baby lorikeet

he was too little and vulnerable, and dozens of cats live in the street, not to mention a dog or six.  I scooped him up, wrapped him in a microfibre cleaning cloth and tucked him against my chest. He scrabbled himself up out of the cloth, just enough for his nose to poke out. He put his little face against my skin and went to sleep.  And of course, I was instantly in love. I looked and looked for signs of its mother, but couldn't see any sign of her. The tree was too tall— the branches don't start for about 15-20 feet—and the baby possum was too small to climb, so I took it to wildlife rescue, who took it in to raise. 

 
Another time I found a young fledgling rainbow lorikeet fluttering along the ground. I caught him and put him back in a tree, and he climbed back up to where his parents (I assume) were waiting, chittering anxiously at him. It must be so risky taking those first few flight.
 
 
… and my own encounter:
 

Wench bearWhat happened is, I was sitting in my big comfy chair, writing, pretty much immersed in Paris in 1730. I looked up and saw a big black bear leaned up against the sliding glass door.

I thought “ACCCK”
In case you were wondering what people think when a bear is at the door. This is a useful thing to know.

The bear peered into the house and rattled the sliding door in a semi-threatening sorta way. If it had not been a little chilly and the glass door closed, I would have confronted the bear more intimately so let us all take a moment to thank the weather.

I have spent many a night sleeping soundly, secure in the knowledge that my trusty hound Mandy will let me know if anyone invades the house. After all, she barks at every squirrel jumping from tree to tree and announces the arrival of the UPS man with hysterical menace.

About a half minute into what I will call ‘The Bear Incident’, my faithful dog was still sleeping, curled up on the rug, three feet from where a moderately large, (OK, pretty damn big,) bear was thumping on the glass. Obviously I have been living in a fool’s paradise when it comes to the alert dog part of my life.

Basically I am low-hanging fruit for bears. Mandy by Elaine1 detail

“Urlp,” I said, eloquently.

Mandy woke up, took one look at the bear, and ran for the front door,
which I had left open
to let the breeze in.
I had forgotten about that.

The bear took off.
Mandy took off.
I ran out and leaned over the porch railing, yelling, “Mandy! Come!” into the unrevealing underbrush.

Bark! bark! bark! headed down the hill.
But no screams of mortally injured dog.

Ten minutes of barking.
Silence.
Mandy returned, unhurt, prancing, looking very proud of herself.

I gave her the leftover from my Mexican takeout as a reward.

If I were writing this as fiction, Mandy would be the pro-active female protagonist and I would be the ineffectual sidekick.

 
 
So, what about your own encounters with wildlife? The weird, the wonderful, the furry …

150 thoughts on “Wenches and the Wild”

  1. Animal encounters – birds – We get all kinds of birds resting in our trees on their way to somewhere. Hundreds of them. The crows and sparrows are noisy. The Starlings are lovely, especially when you get to observe a murmuration (check out YouTube). But the creepiest thing was the year the buzzards/vultures landed on their way to someplace, probably Hinckley Ohio. Hundreds of them. Quietly skulking in our trees, watching us as we got out of our cars – silently. Even the feral cats in the neighborhood stayed low. You know, they are pretty big birds. After two days, they left with a hushed flutter. It was all very Hitchcocky.

    Reply
  2. Animal encounters – birds – We get all kinds of birds resting in our trees on their way to somewhere. Hundreds of them. The crows and sparrows are noisy. The Starlings are lovely, especially when you get to observe a murmuration (check out YouTube). But the creepiest thing was the year the buzzards/vultures landed on their way to someplace, probably Hinckley Ohio. Hundreds of them. Quietly skulking in our trees, watching us as we got out of our cars – silently. Even the feral cats in the neighborhood stayed low. You know, they are pretty big birds. After two days, they left with a hushed flutter. It was all very Hitchcocky.

    Reply
  3. Animal encounters – birds – We get all kinds of birds resting in our trees on their way to somewhere. Hundreds of them. The crows and sparrows are noisy. The Starlings are lovely, especially when you get to observe a murmuration (check out YouTube). But the creepiest thing was the year the buzzards/vultures landed on their way to someplace, probably Hinckley Ohio. Hundreds of them. Quietly skulking in our trees, watching us as we got out of our cars – silently. Even the feral cats in the neighborhood stayed low. You know, they are pretty big birds. After two days, they left with a hushed flutter. It was all very Hitchcocky.

    Reply
  4. Animal encounters – birds – We get all kinds of birds resting in our trees on their way to somewhere. Hundreds of them. The crows and sparrows are noisy. The Starlings are lovely, especially when you get to observe a murmuration (check out YouTube). But the creepiest thing was the year the buzzards/vultures landed on their way to someplace, probably Hinckley Ohio. Hundreds of them. Quietly skulking in our trees, watching us as we got out of our cars – silently. Even the feral cats in the neighborhood stayed low. You know, they are pretty big birds. After two days, they left with a hushed flutter. It was all very Hitchcocky.

    Reply
  5. Animal encounters – birds – We get all kinds of birds resting in our trees on their way to somewhere. Hundreds of them. The crows and sparrows are noisy. The Starlings are lovely, especially when you get to observe a murmuration (check out YouTube). But the creepiest thing was the year the buzzards/vultures landed on their way to someplace, probably Hinckley Ohio. Hundreds of them. Quietly skulking in our trees, watching us as we got out of our cars – silently. Even the feral cats in the neighborhood stayed low. You know, they are pretty big birds. After two days, they left with a hushed flutter. It was all very Hitchcocky.

    Reply
  6. Deer walk the streets of Columbia and deer and rabbits invade the yard (since I no longer garden they are welcome). Wild geese swim in out ponds. Some flocks winter here and do daily flyovers of our yard. All of this is fun to watch, but I’ve had no close encounters.
    With all the deer though, I wonder where the coyotes (or the wolves) are.
    I have mentioned before the pair of foxes that yearly had their kits in the inside the city limits of St. Louis when I was a child. Also when I was a child, I found a possum in our front yard. And another time I found a raccoon there. Both visits were fleeting.

    Reply
  7. Deer walk the streets of Columbia and deer and rabbits invade the yard (since I no longer garden they are welcome). Wild geese swim in out ponds. Some flocks winter here and do daily flyovers of our yard. All of this is fun to watch, but I’ve had no close encounters.
    With all the deer though, I wonder where the coyotes (or the wolves) are.
    I have mentioned before the pair of foxes that yearly had their kits in the inside the city limits of St. Louis when I was a child. Also when I was a child, I found a possum in our front yard. And another time I found a raccoon there. Both visits were fleeting.

    Reply
  8. Deer walk the streets of Columbia and deer and rabbits invade the yard (since I no longer garden they are welcome). Wild geese swim in out ponds. Some flocks winter here and do daily flyovers of our yard. All of this is fun to watch, but I’ve had no close encounters.
    With all the deer though, I wonder where the coyotes (or the wolves) are.
    I have mentioned before the pair of foxes that yearly had their kits in the inside the city limits of St. Louis when I was a child. Also when I was a child, I found a possum in our front yard. And another time I found a raccoon there. Both visits were fleeting.

    Reply
  9. Deer walk the streets of Columbia and deer and rabbits invade the yard (since I no longer garden they are welcome). Wild geese swim in out ponds. Some flocks winter here and do daily flyovers of our yard. All of this is fun to watch, but I’ve had no close encounters.
    With all the deer though, I wonder where the coyotes (or the wolves) are.
    I have mentioned before the pair of foxes that yearly had their kits in the inside the city limits of St. Louis when I was a child. Also when I was a child, I found a possum in our front yard. And another time I found a raccoon there. Both visits were fleeting.

    Reply
  10. Deer walk the streets of Columbia and deer and rabbits invade the yard (since I no longer garden they are welcome). Wild geese swim in out ponds. Some flocks winter here and do daily flyovers of our yard. All of this is fun to watch, but I’ve had no close encounters.
    With all the deer though, I wonder where the coyotes (or the wolves) are.
    I have mentioned before the pair of foxes that yearly had their kits in the inside the city limits of St. Louis when I was a child. Also when I was a child, I found a possum in our front yard. And another time I found a raccoon there. Both visits were fleeting.

    Reply
  11. We have resident turkey buzzards here. You’re right. They are BIG birds. The size of a chicken.
    I wonder if they’d carry off a cat?
    We are directly on the line of the hawk migrations here, but I never seem to see them. I should walk around with binoculars.

    Reply
  12. We have resident turkey buzzards here. You’re right. They are BIG birds. The size of a chicken.
    I wonder if they’d carry off a cat?
    We are directly on the line of the hawk migrations here, but I never seem to see them. I should walk around with binoculars.

    Reply
  13. We have resident turkey buzzards here. You’re right. They are BIG birds. The size of a chicken.
    I wonder if they’d carry off a cat?
    We are directly on the line of the hawk migrations here, but I never seem to see them. I should walk around with binoculars.

    Reply
  14. We have resident turkey buzzards here. You’re right. They are BIG birds. The size of a chicken.
    I wonder if they’d carry off a cat?
    We are directly on the line of the hawk migrations here, but I never seem to see them. I should walk around with binoculars.

    Reply
  15. We have resident turkey buzzards here. You’re right. They are BIG birds. The size of a chicken.
    I wonder if they’d carry off a cat?
    We are directly on the line of the hawk migrations here, but I never seem to see them. I should walk around with binoculars.

    Reply
  16. Sue, here where I live in Connecticut, we’re getting and more coyotes moving into the area, and I think it’s because the deer population has gotten so out of hand. They are everywhere, even in the middle of town, where houses are on quarter acre lots. And lovely though they are to look at, they are basically rats on hooves. Gardens loath them. And I have to confess, I wasn’t too thrilled the summer they literally ate ALL my painstakingly planted basil in one afternoon.

    Reply
  17. Sue, here where I live in Connecticut, we’re getting and more coyotes moving into the area, and I think it’s because the deer population has gotten so out of hand. They are everywhere, even in the middle of town, where houses are on quarter acre lots. And lovely though they are to look at, they are basically rats on hooves. Gardens loath them. And I have to confess, I wasn’t too thrilled the summer they literally ate ALL my painstakingly planted basil in one afternoon.

    Reply
  18. Sue, here where I live in Connecticut, we’re getting and more coyotes moving into the area, and I think it’s because the deer population has gotten so out of hand. They are everywhere, even in the middle of town, where houses are on quarter acre lots. And lovely though they are to look at, they are basically rats on hooves. Gardens loath them. And I have to confess, I wasn’t too thrilled the summer they literally ate ALL my painstakingly planted basil in one afternoon.

    Reply
  19. Sue, here where I live in Connecticut, we’re getting and more coyotes moving into the area, and I think it’s because the deer population has gotten so out of hand. They are everywhere, even in the middle of town, where houses are on quarter acre lots. And lovely though they are to look at, they are basically rats on hooves. Gardens loath them. And I have to confess, I wasn’t too thrilled the summer they literally ate ALL my painstakingly planted basil in one afternoon.

    Reply
  20. Sue, here where I live in Connecticut, we’re getting and more coyotes moving into the area, and I think it’s because the deer population has gotten so out of hand. They are everywhere, even in the middle of town, where houses are on quarter acre lots. And lovely though they are to look at, they are basically rats on hooves. Gardens loath them. And I have to confess, I wasn’t too thrilled the summer they literally ate ALL my painstakingly planted basil in one afternoon.

    Reply
  21. The rabbits and deer that inhabit my neighborhood and garden have one guiding principle: if it’s a plant that I adore, that was expensive, they eat it. We do a tango with the spray that sometimes works, but most of the time, I give up. They ignore the weeds. They ignore the woods in the back (from what I can see). They check over the garden daily for little tidbits. You can’t really fight mother nature.

    Reply
  22. The rabbits and deer that inhabit my neighborhood and garden have one guiding principle: if it’s a plant that I adore, that was expensive, they eat it. We do a tango with the spray that sometimes works, but most of the time, I give up. They ignore the weeds. They ignore the woods in the back (from what I can see). They check over the garden daily for little tidbits. You can’t really fight mother nature.

    Reply
  23. The rabbits and deer that inhabit my neighborhood and garden have one guiding principle: if it’s a plant that I adore, that was expensive, they eat it. We do a tango with the spray that sometimes works, but most of the time, I give up. They ignore the weeds. They ignore the woods in the back (from what I can see). They check over the garden daily for little tidbits. You can’t really fight mother nature.

    Reply
  24. The rabbits and deer that inhabit my neighborhood and garden have one guiding principle: if it’s a plant that I adore, that was expensive, they eat it. We do a tango with the spray that sometimes works, but most of the time, I give up. They ignore the weeds. They ignore the woods in the back (from what I can see). They check over the garden daily for little tidbits. You can’t really fight mother nature.

    Reply
  25. The rabbits and deer that inhabit my neighborhood and garden have one guiding principle: if it’s a plant that I adore, that was expensive, they eat it. We do a tango with the spray that sometimes works, but most of the time, I give up. They ignore the weeds. They ignore the woods in the back (from what I can see). They check over the garden daily for little tidbits. You can’t really fight mother nature.

    Reply
  26. I have turkeys in my yard. They’re all toms, and in some places, they get very aggressive, especially in the spring. The ones who come to my yard don’t, maybe because I feed them. But if any one of them pecks me, no one gets any food (sunflower seed, which is probably a turkey delicacy) ever again. So, keep each other in line, guys. They peck each other, though, and I try to make sure that the ones at the bottom of the pecking order get some seed. There are two of them, who both have limps, and I stand over them keeping the others away while they eat. The things I do for turkeys.

    Reply
  27. I have turkeys in my yard. They’re all toms, and in some places, they get very aggressive, especially in the spring. The ones who come to my yard don’t, maybe because I feed them. But if any one of them pecks me, no one gets any food (sunflower seed, which is probably a turkey delicacy) ever again. So, keep each other in line, guys. They peck each other, though, and I try to make sure that the ones at the bottom of the pecking order get some seed. There are two of them, who both have limps, and I stand over them keeping the others away while they eat. The things I do for turkeys.

    Reply
  28. I have turkeys in my yard. They’re all toms, and in some places, they get very aggressive, especially in the spring. The ones who come to my yard don’t, maybe because I feed them. But if any one of them pecks me, no one gets any food (sunflower seed, which is probably a turkey delicacy) ever again. So, keep each other in line, guys. They peck each other, though, and I try to make sure that the ones at the bottom of the pecking order get some seed. There are two of them, who both have limps, and I stand over them keeping the others away while they eat. The things I do for turkeys.

    Reply
  29. I have turkeys in my yard. They’re all toms, and in some places, they get very aggressive, especially in the spring. The ones who come to my yard don’t, maybe because I feed them. But if any one of them pecks me, no one gets any food (sunflower seed, which is probably a turkey delicacy) ever again. So, keep each other in line, guys. They peck each other, though, and I try to make sure that the ones at the bottom of the pecking order get some seed. There are two of them, who both have limps, and I stand over them keeping the others away while they eat. The things I do for turkeys.

    Reply
  30. I have turkeys in my yard. They’re all toms, and in some places, they get very aggressive, especially in the spring. The ones who come to my yard don’t, maybe because I feed them. But if any one of them pecks me, no one gets any food (sunflower seed, which is probably a turkey delicacy) ever again. So, keep each other in line, guys. They peck each other, though, and I try to make sure that the ones at the bottom of the pecking order get some seed. There are two of them, who both have limps, and I stand over them keeping the others away while they eat. The things I do for turkeys.

    Reply
  31. Critters. Back in grad school (FSU, Tallahassee) there was a petting zoo nearby. The one animal I tried to pet – the donkey – took exception and bit me. Fortunately, I was wearing a thick sweater. I can resonate with the bat in the house. I was sitting in the kitchen, exactly where I’m sitting now, and something flew by me. At first I ignored it, but then it happened again. And of course, it was a bat. Oh, no – rabies! I called a friend who said I should sweep it out with a broom. So I gently followed it through the halls and tried to encourage it to leave. Evidently, my efforts terrified it, because it peed on itself. But I finally got it past the dog, who totally ignored our “visitor” and then out the door and onto the lawn. And one time, when I used to maintain a bird feeder, I looked outside to see who was having “lunch” and saw a red-shouldered hawing – who was lunching on a baby bunny. Sigh…

    Reply
  32. Critters. Back in grad school (FSU, Tallahassee) there was a petting zoo nearby. The one animal I tried to pet – the donkey – took exception and bit me. Fortunately, I was wearing a thick sweater. I can resonate with the bat in the house. I was sitting in the kitchen, exactly where I’m sitting now, and something flew by me. At first I ignored it, but then it happened again. And of course, it was a bat. Oh, no – rabies! I called a friend who said I should sweep it out with a broom. So I gently followed it through the halls and tried to encourage it to leave. Evidently, my efforts terrified it, because it peed on itself. But I finally got it past the dog, who totally ignored our “visitor” and then out the door and onto the lawn. And one time, when I used to maintain a bird feeder, I looked outside to see who was having “lunch” and saw a red-shouldered hawing – who was lunching on a baby bunny. Sigh…

    Reply
  33. Critters. Back in grad school (FSU, Tallahassee) there was a petting zoo nearby. The one animal I tried to pet – the donkey – took exception and bit me. Fortunately, I was wearing a thick sweater. I can resonate with the bat in the house. I was sitting in the kitchen, exactly where I’m sitting now, and something flew by me. At first I ignored it, but then it happened again. And of course, it was a bat. Oh, no – rabies! I called a friend who said I should sweep it out with a broom. So I gently followed it through the halls and tried to encourage it to leave. Evidently, my efforts terrified it, because it peed on itself. But I finally got it past the dog, who totally ignored our “visitor” and then out the door and onto the lawn. And one time, when I used to maintain a bird feeder, I looked outside to see who was having “lunch” and saw a red-shouldered hawing – who was lunching on a baby bunny. Sigh…

    Reply
  34. Critters. Back in grad school (FSU, Tallahassee) there was a petting zoo nearby. The one animal I tried to pet – the donkey – took exception and bit me. Fortunately, I was wearing a thick sweater. I can resonate with the bat in the house. I was sitting in the kitchen, exactly where I’m sitting now, and something flew by me. At first I ignored it, but then it happened again. And of course, it was a bat. Oh, no – rabies! I called a friend who said I should sweep it out with a broom. So I gently followed it through the halls and tried to encourage it to leave. Evidently, my efforts terrified it, because it peed on itself. But I finally got it past the dog, who totally ignored our “visitor” and then out the door and onto the lawn. And one time, when I used to maintain a bird feeder, I looked outside to see who was having “lunch” and saw a red-shouldered hawing – who was lunching on a baby bunny. Sigh…

    Reply
  35. Critters. Back in grad school (FSU, Tallahassee) there was a petting zoo nearby. The one animal I tried to pet – the donkey – took exception and bit me. Fortunately, I was wearing a thick sweater. I can resonate with the bat in the house. I was sitting in the kitchen, exactly where I’m sitting now, and something flew by me. At first I ignored it, but then it happened again. And of course, it was a bat. Oh, no – rabies! I called a friend who said I should sweep it out with a broom. So I gently followed it through the halls and tried to encourage it to leave. Evidently, my efforts terrified it, because it peed on itself. But I finally got it past the dog, who totally ignored our “visitor” and then out the door and onto the lawn. And one time, when I used to maintain a bird feeder, I looked outside to see who was having “lunch” and saw a red-shouldered hawing – who was lunching on a baby bunny. Sigh…

    Reply
  36. I live in Austin, I have seen a raccoon walking down the middle of my street at night. I have seen a possum who used to wait under the street light for bugs, he wore a trench coat, fedora and had a cigarette dangling from his mouth. Ok, maybe not, but he was that sophisticated and casual. At the time, I had two boxer dogs and he never was intimidated by the three of us walking past him.
    I worked for FEMA for years. Once I was in Jackson TN and a mother possum was hit by a car in front of the building where we worked. No one else thought anything about it….I did.
    I started gathering the scattered babies and found 6 of them. Some hidden under the bus that provided our power, but hey, they needed to be gathered. One of the men who worked for another agency found an old tee shirt and we put everyone in a box.
    Then I had to find someone to take them. I called around. I found the husband of a woman who worked for the wildlife rescue group in the area. His wife was out of town. She was flying home that afternoon, she came to our site and took the box filled with babies.
    They would be safe and sound.

    Reply
  37. I live in Austin, I have seen a raccoon walking down the middle of my street at night. I have seen a possum who used to wait under the street light for bugs, he wore a trench coat, fedora and had a cigarette dangling from his mouth. Ok, maybe not, but he was that sophisticated and casual. At the time, I had two boxer dogs and he never was intimidated by the three of us walking past him.
    I worked for FEMA for years. Once I was in Jackson TN and a mother possum was hit by a car in front of the building where we worked. No one else thought anything about it….I did.
    I started gathering the scattered babies and found 6 of them. Some hidden under the bus that provided our power, but hey, they needed to be gathered. One of the men who worked for another agency found an old tee shirt and we put everyone in a box.
    Then I had to find someone to take them. I called around. I found the husband of a woman who worked for the wildlife rescue group in the area. His wife was out of town. She was flying home that afternoon, she came to our site and took the box filled with babies.
    They would be safe and sound.

    Reply
  38. I live in Austin, I have seen a raccoon walking down the middle of my street at night. I have seen a possum who used to wait under the street light for bugs, he wore a trench coat, fedora and had a cigarette dangling from his mouth. Ok, maybe not, but he was that sophisticated and casual. At the time, I had two boxer dogs and he never was intimidated by the three of us walking past him.
    I worked for FEMA for years. Once I was in Jackson TN and a mother possum was hit by a car in front of the building where we worked. No one else thought anything about it….I did.
    I started gathering the scattered babies and found 6 of them. Some hidden under the bus that provided our power, but hey, they needed to be gathered. One of the men who worked for another agency found an old tee shirt and we put everyone in a box.
    Then I had to find someone to take them. I called around. I found the husband of a woman who worked for the wildlife rescue group in the area. His wife was out of town. She was flying home that afternoon, she came to our site and took the box filled with babies.
    They would be safe and sound.

    Reply
  39. I live in Austin, I have seen a raccoon walking down the middle of my street at night. I have seen a possum who used to wait under the street light for bugs, he wore a trench coat, fedora and had a cigarette dangling from his mouth. Ok, maybe not, but he was that sophisticated and casual. At the time, I had two boxer dogs and he never was intimidated by the three of us walking past him.
    I worked for FEMA for years. Once I was in Jackson TN and a mother possum was hit by a car in front of the building where we worked. No one else thought anything about it….I did.
    I started gathering the scattered babies and found 6 of them. Some hidden under the bus that provided our power, but hey, they needed to be gathered. One of the men who worked for another agency found an old tee shirt and we put everyone in a box.
    Then I had to find someone to take them. I called around. I found the husband of a woman who worked for the wildlife rescue group in the area. His wife was out of town. She was flying home that afternoon, she came to our site and took the box filled with babies.
    They would be safe and sound.

    Reply
  40. I live in Austin, I have seen a raccoon walking down the middle of my street at night. I have seen a possum who used to wait under the street light for bugs, he wore a trench coat, fedora and had a cigarette dangling from his mouth. Ok, maybe not, but he was that sophisticated and casual. At the time, I had two boxer dogs and he never was intimidated by the three of us walking past him.
    I worked for FEMA for years. Once I was in Jackson TN and a mother possum was hit by a car in front of the building where we worked. No one else thought anything about it….I did.
    I started gathering the scattered babies and found 6 of them. Some hidden under the bus that provided our power, but hey, they needed to be gathered. One of the men who worked for another agency found an old tee shirt and we put everyone in a box.
    Then I had to find someone to take them. I called around. I found the husband of a woman who worked for the wildlife rescue group in the area. His wife was out of town. She was flying home that afternoon, she came to our site and took the box filled with babies.
    They would be safe and sound.

    Reply
  41. Where are all the hens? Why is your yard full of turkey bachelors?
    We have a little flock of turkeys out in the woods near the big road but I never gave it any thought as to whether they were hens or toms.
    Do you suppose there are flocks of hens somewhere else? I mean, like Ents?

    Reply
  42. Where are all the hens? Why is your yard full of turkey bachelors?
    We have a little flock of turkeys out in the woods near the big road but I never gave it any thought as to whether they were hens or toms.
    Do you suppose there are flocks of hens somewhere else? I mean, like Ents?

    Reply
  43. Where are all the hens? Why is your yard full of turkey bachelors?
    We have a little flock of turkeys out in the woods near the big road but I never gave it any thought as to whether they were hens or toms.
    Do you suppose there are flocks of hens somewhere else? I mean, like Ents?

    Reply
  44. Where are all the hens? Why is your yard full of turkey bachelors?
    We have a little flock of turkeys out in the woods near the big road but I never gave it any thought as to whether they were hens or toms.
    Do you suppose there are flocks of hens somewhere else? I mean, like Ents?

    Reply
  45. Where are all the hens? Why is your yard full of turkey bachelors?
    We have a little flock of turkeys out in the woods near the big road but I never gave it any thought as to whether they were hens or toms.
    Do you suppose there are flocks of hens somewhere else? I mean, like Ents?

    Reply
  46. Nature is, like, red in tooth and claw and all that.
    I’ve had bats in the house a couple times.
    Opened the door and held up a bed sheet as if it were a wall, slowly moving toward the bat.
    What I remember most is the bat making a slow figure eight around the living room, perfectly silent …
    Spooky

    Reply
  47. Nature is, like, red in tooth and claw and all that.
    I’ve had bats in the house a couple times.
    Opened the door and held up a bed sheet as if it were a wall, slowly moving toward the bat.
    What I remember most is the bat making a slow figure eight around the living room, perfectly silent …
    Spooky

    Reply
  48. Nature is, like, red in tooth and claw and all that.
    I’ve had bats in the house a couple times.
    Opened the door and held up a bed sheet as if it were a wall, slowly moving toward the bat.
    What I remember most is the bat making a slow figure eight around the living room, perfectly silent …
    Spooky

    Reply
  49. Nature is, like, red in tooth and claw and all that.
    I’ve had bats in the house a couple times.
    Opened the door and held up a bed sheet as if it were a wall, slowly moving toward the bat.
    What I remember most is the bat making a slow figure eight around the living room, perfectly silent …
    Spooky

    Reply
  50. Nature is, like, red in tooth and claw and all that.
    I’ve had bats in the house a couple times.
    Opened the door and held up a bed sheet as if it were a wall, slowly moving toward the bat.
    What I remember most is the bat making a slow figure eight around the living room, perfectly silent …
    Spooky

    Reply
  51. One of the Helpers. That’s you.
    Possums are incredibly useful in the wild ecology,so you were also doing a good deed for Mother Nature. I imagine — I hope — you get repaid with teams of wild birds flocking in your trees.

    Reply
  52. One of the Helpers. That’s you.
    Possums are incredibly useful in the wild ecology,so you were also doing a good deed for Mother Nature. I imagine — I hope — you get repaid with teams of wild birds flocking in your trees.

    Reply
  53. One of the Helpers. That’s you.
    Possums are incredibly useful in the wild ecology,so you were also doing a good deed for Mother Nature. I imagine — I hope — you get repaid with teams of wild birds flocking in your trees.

    Reply
  54. One of the Helpers. That’s you.
    Possums are incredibly useful in the wild ecology,so you were also doing a good deed for Mother Nature. I imagine — I hope — you get repaid with teams of wild birds flocking in your trees.

    Reply
  55. One of the Helpers. That’s you.
    Possums are incredibly useful in the wild ecology,so you were also doing a good deed for Mother Nature. I imagine — I hope — you get repaid with teams of wild birds flocking in your trees.

    Reply
  56. I loved all of your stories, but especially the ones about the raccoon and the bear. I come from a town where there are lots of bears wandering about, but they never seem to be there when I’m looking. It’s always, “didn’t you see the bear, he just walked past the house a minute ago?”. The most exciting thing that’s happened is getting buzzed by a hummingbird. They’re quite feisty and not shy at all, in spite of their size!

    Reply
  57. I loved all of your stories, but especially the ones about the raccoon and the bear. I come from a town where there are lots of bears wandering about, but they never seem to be there when I’m looking. It’s always, “didn’t you see the bear, he just walked past the house a minute ago?”. The most exciting thing that’s happened is getting buzzed by a hummingbird. They’re quite feisty and not shy at all, in spite of their size!

    Reply
  58. I loved all of your stories, but especially the ones about the raccoon and the bear. I come from a town where there are lots of bears wandering about, but they never seem to be there when I’m looking. It’s always, “didn’t you see the bear, he just walked past the house a minute ago?”. The most exciting thing that’s happened is getting buzzed by a hummingbird. They’re quite feisty and not shy at all, in spite of their size!

    Reply
  59. I loved all of your stories, but especially the ones about the raccoon and the bear. I come from a town where there are lots of bears wandering about, but they never seem to be there when I’m looking. It’s always, “didn’t you see the bear, he just walked past the house a minute ago?”. The most exciting thing that’s happened is getting buzzed by a hummingbird. They’re quite feisty and not shy at all, in spite of their size!

    Reply
  60. I loved all of your stories, but especially the ones about the raccoon and the bear. I come from a town where there are lots of bears wandering about, but they never seem to be there when I’m looking. It’s always, “didn’t you see the bear, he just walked past the house a minute ago?”. The most exciting thing that’s happened is getting buzzed by a hummingbird. They’re quite feisty and not shy at all, in spite of their size!

    Reply
  61. P.S. I want to add that we recently visited Toronto, which now has a huge raccoon problem. AKA trash pandas, according to this article, “They steal doughnuts. They ride the subway. They show up at baseball games and airport baggage carousels. They break into banks.”
    And they quickly and easily defeated a so-called “raccoon proof” garbage bin that the city spend millions to design.
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/05/canada-toronto-raccoons

    Reply
  62. P.S. I want to add that we recently visited Toronto, which now has a huge raccoon problem. AKA trash pandas, according to this article, “They steal doughnuts. They ride the subway. They show up at baseball games and airport baggage carousels. They break into banks.”
    And they quickly and easily defeated a so-called “raccoon proof” garbage bin that the city spend millions to design.
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/05/canada-toronto-raccoons

    Reply
  63. P.S. I want to add that we recently visited Toronto, which now has a huge raccoon problem. AKA trash pandas, according to this article, “They steal doughnuts. They ride the subway. They show up at baseball games and airport baggage carousels. They break into banks.”
    And they quickly and easily defeated a so-called “raccoon proof” garbage bin that the city spend millions to design.
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/05/canada-toronto-raccoons

    Reply
  64. P.S. I want to add that we recently visited Toronto, which now has a huge raccoon problem. AKA trash pandas, according to this article, “They steal doughnuts. They ride the subway. They show up at baseball games and airport baggage carousels. They break into banks.”
    And they quickly and easily defeated a so-called “raccoon proof” garbage bin that the city spend millions to design.
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/05/canada-toronto-raccoons

    Reply
  65. P.S. I want to add that we recently visited Toronto, which now has a huge raccoon problem. AKA trash pandas, according to this article, “They steal doughnuts. They ride the subway. They show up at baseball games and airport baggage carousels. They break into banks.”
    And they quickly and easily defeated a so-called “raccoon proof” garbage bin that the city spend millions to design.
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/05/canada-toronto-raccoons

    Reply
  66. How fun to see the phrase trash pandas here. My daughter, who lives in South Korea, says that raccoons are also so called there.

    Reply
  67. How fun to see the phrase trash pandas here. My daughter, who lives in South Korea, says that raccoons are also so called there.

    Reply
  68. How fun to see the phrase trash pandas here. My daughter, who lives in South Korea, says that raccoons are also so called there.

    Reply
  69. How fun to see the phrase trash pandas here. My daughter, who lives in South Korea, says that raccoons are also so called there.

    Reply
  70. How fun to see the phrase trash pandas here. My daughter, who lives in South Korea, says that raccoons are also so called there.

    Reply
  71. I don’t know what’s in the hummingbird mind .. . but they aren’t scared of people at all. You can walk right up to them and they treat you like a chair or something.
    They’re noisy too.
    I had a feeder on the back porch till the bear pulled it down.

    Reply
  72. I don’t know what’s in the hummingbird mind .. . but they aren’t scared of people at all. You can walk right up to them and they treat you like a chair or something.
    They’re noisy too.
    I had a feeder on the back porch till the bear pulled it down.

    Reply
  73. I don’t know what’s in the hummingbird mind .. . but they aren’t scared of people at all. You can walk right up to them and they treat you like a chair or something.
    They’re noisy too.
    I had a feeder on the back porch till the bear pulled it down.

    Reply
  74. I don’t know what’s in the hummingbird mind .. . but they aren’t scared of people at all. You can walk right up to them and they treat you like a chair or something.
    They’re noisy too.
    I had a feeder on the back porch till the bear pulled it down.

    Reply
  75. I don’t know what’s in the hummingbird mind .. . but they aren’t scared of people at all. You can walk right up to them and they treat you like a chair or something.
    They’re noisy too.
    I had a feeder on the back porch till the bear pulled it down.

    Reply

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