In previous posts I’ve written about the animals that live in or near our property. These critters, both large and small, are some of the most enjoyable aspects to our life. And each time I come across an animal I wasn’t expecting it renews my joy in our home. The creatures in my garden are a source of constant delight.
A few days ago I was gathering green beans and saw a little frog I hadn’t expected to see again. The leopard frog has become pretty rare around here. And since we don’t have a pond on our land they’re an even more unlikely visitor. This summer has been particularly dry; we were listed as “one step away from drought” throughout most of the summer. So seeing a frog that usually resides on the edges of wetlands was both a surprise and a pleasure!
This summer has revealed another creature I haven’t seen here. It’s so common I was always a bit puzzled that we weren’t overrun with them. We have our grove and there’s an uncultivated field just behind my garden, yet these little woodland animals were nowhere to be found. Until earlier this summer when a chipmunk scampered along the edge of the house toward the air conditioning unit. The ac is a source of water for quite a few of our little friends. I don’t know if the chipmunk is new to the neighborhood or if it was just really cautious about being seen but it’s a welcome addition to our menagerie.
The dogs found a very hard to spot snake just a couple of weeks ago. The black racer snake isn’t uncommon but it’s so fast it’s usually gone before you realize you’ve seen it. This photo from herpingmichigan.blogspot.com is a great one of a black racer!
Less welcome but always present are the field mice. We’ve come across them many times and our foxes do enjoy a mouse snack but they also get into my garden. The nibble the ends off my green beans and also feast on my tomatoes. Everything in the garden, from lettuces to watermelons is at risk. My husband swears he’s going to get night-vision goggles and shoot them with his B.B. gun. I know they’ll be safe in my garden and I suppose it’s better that they’re in the garden than in the pantry!
Other constant but unwanted residents are the moles. My husband has been on a mole safari pretty much since we moved on to the property. They tunnel under the front lawn and through my flowerbeds. They leave dangerous soft spots with their runs. The chicken wire I placed 18 inches below the ground around my garden doesn’t seem to deter them at all. Although oddly cute, they’re a menace to every root on the place! We rarely actually see them (unless they’re in a trap) but every once in a while one dares to peek out.
And although we rarely get to see them, we also have opossums, skunks, raccoons, and the occasional coyote. They’re all interesting to see and, for the most part don’t give us any trouble. They’re just a part of the many animals with which we share the land.
I honestly don’t know how people can live in cities. I feel hemmed in by the houses I can’t even see but know are there. I can’t imagine measuring the distance between my land and my next door neighbors’ in feet. Of course some folks can’t imagine living in a place where the nearest fast food joint or chain coffee shop isn’t a couple of blocks away. But I’ll take seeing my wild friends over having to make six decisions just to get a cup of coffee.