Hoots and Squawk!

Last week was noisy around here, at 3:30 am! Not really a time I enjoy being up, but I was! Hoots the owl was back and making so much noise. I would hear, “Hoot, Hoot” and then a “Squawk!” This was the second night in a row I heard the squawking, so I was afraid something was getting hurt.
The squawking continued, so I decided I needed to investigate, not even thinking that it could have been a skunk, a raccoon or heaven knows what else, I grabbed my flashlight, put on my shoes and went outside. The Hoot/Squawk continued and I found the tree it was coming from. I took my flashlight and started shining it up in the tree. What a shock it is to see an owl’s eyes in the light of a flashlight! And they are really big at 3:30 am! But sitting next to the big owl was a little fluffy thing. I had found my squawker….a baby owl! They are like fluffy balls. It was a great horned owl and her baby.

The hoot, hoot, squawking continued as I stood under the tree. They weren’t even afraid of me shining my flashlight at them. By this time, Emmet was sitting in the window meowing quite loudly. I was afraid he would wake the neighbors and if anyone saw me in my p.j’s shining a light into a tree, they might think I was nuts! I turned off my flashlight and went back into the house. It was time to go back to bed and try and sleep! Now that I knew I didn’t have to save anything, I would be able to relax and get another hour of sleep, hopefully! Enough investigating for one night!

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Grandma; My Nature Mentor

I would like to acquaint you with the amazing lady, my Grandmother, who shared her love of nature with me. Gram taught me to appreciate all the creatures; great and small! She also instilled in me a gratitude for the environment around me. I loved spending time with her. I have always believed we were soul mates.
When I was younger, we would take long walks in the fields behind her home and enjoy the sun, clouds, rain, whatever weather came our way! She taught me about the many plants that grew out in the fields, we especially loved finding wildflowers and my personal favorite; Japanese Lanterns. We also found some pretty interesting bugs and lots of grasshoppers! We would see mice and moles and she was never afraid of them. There were lots of bunnies and squirrels and we would sometimes take corn along for them, I was sure they knew her! The bird book and her gloves were always in her pocket on our walks, with a variety of birds to discover. There was a wood thrush that built a nest on our way up to the field and we would check on that family every time we walked. We never got too close because she didn’t want to scare them away. If a baby bird fell out of a nest, out came the gloves and she put the bird back. That was my Gram, she taught me to save the animals!
Gram and I had a special park we would visit to catch frogs and look for crayfish. Springs Park was full of them and we had so much fun looking. I often wonder how many pairs of tennis shoes I ruined at that park sloshing around in the springs.
Every summer, my sister and I would go on vacation with my grandparents up north to Lac Du Flambeau. We had a special hotel we stayed at and there were always dogs who visited the guests! This picture is one of the many dogs that my grandma made friends with on our trips!

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One of the places we would visit was Jim Peck’s Wildwood. It was a wildlife utopia for a young girl like me. We fed baby raccoons, mink, opossums and even skunks. My favorites were the raccoons. They were so soft and loved to cuddle.

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Yes, my Grandmother was a very unique lady and I learned to love every creature no matter big or small, even green lizards. My parents weren’t sure what to do with me when I brought home white rats, but that is a story for another day. I hope that I can help my grandchildren learn to love and appreciate nature the way my Gram did for me. I always thank the Lord for giving me my Grandmother, she was a true gift! I loved her with all my heart!
I am grateful for the mentorship and encouragement to blog by Artist/Photographer Karen Hanrahan.
http://karenhanrahan.zenfolio.com/about.html

 

A Real Gift

I walk in the door after work, still expecting that Max will be there to greet me; but it is not to be anymore.  This day, however, there is a little black and white cat waiting for me; he is meowing and weaving in and out of my legs.  I guess he is happy to see me!  I walk into my bedroom to change my clothes and he keeps meowing very loud and following me, trying so hard to get in and out of my legs.  I stop and reach down to pick him up and he starts jumping around.  He jumps on the bed, grabs my sock and flies off the bed.

At this point, he is yowling and keeps running toward the hallway and then back to the bedroom.  After watching him do this several times, I believe he is saying, “Follow Me!” in kitty language!  So, I follow this little black fur ball down the hall.  He turns into my office, still yowling and looking back to make sure I am following him.  His tail is all fluffed out and his fur is standing on end.

I walk in the room and stop short…..there waiting for me on the floor of my office is a mouse. At first I think it is Emmet’s toy mouse, but no, this is a real mouse, a real dead mouse, lying upside down.  Emmet walks around it with his tail high in the air.  He is so very proud of this dead creature.  He is purring now, weaving in and out of my legs and then walking around the mouse.  The dead mouse.

I had to get rid of this gift, but didn’t want Emmet to feel bad, so I told him what a great hunter he was, got the pliers, picked up the mouse, put him in a box.  Emmet was still purring and weaving in and out of my legs.  Such a proud hunter!  I took the box and put it outside in the garbage can, all the while hoping there were no more of these little fellows hiding in my house!  I felt confident that if there were, Emmet would hunt them down and take care of them.

When I come back inside, he is waiting for me on the couch.  I sit down and he climbs in my lap.  I congratulate him on his catch and tell him that if there are any more of these real mice in the house, he is welcome to take care of them for me!  He looks at me, lies down and falls asleep in my lap.  Hunting is exhausting!!

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Super shooter Sue and the raccoons!

I opened the front door at 10 pm, leash in hand, Max ready to go do the nightly duties and HELLO…….there they were!  Sitting in front of my door, looking longingly at the dumpster still in my driveway from the new roof, were two HUGE raccoons.  They turned around and looked at Max and me.  Max barked, I knocked on the window, yelled “BOO” to scare them, but they just sat there looking at us like we were two crazy things making a lot of noise!  What to do?  I turned the porch light on and off, thinking maybe that would scare them.  No such luck.  These guys were brave!  I had to think fast!  Max had to go!!!

Out came the super soaker and I filled it up!  I should probably just have it filled up and ready at the door!  I opened the window on the screen door and soaked those critters!  They ran away and I thought, “GREAT!!!  Now Max can go do his thing!” I waited a minute and then started out the door, when all of a sudden a little masked face appeared around the dumpster corner.  I stopped, pulled Max back in and all of a sudden the other face appeared around the wheel.

This was a challenge; these little dudes were challenging me.  And they were not going to beat me.  Not this time.  They have dumped my garbage, scampered all over my roof, watched me through my bathroom skylight and scared me to death; but they were NOT going to stop me from going out in my front yard with my dog.  This was Sue vs. the coon duo. I was not going to lose.

By this time, they had come out of hiding and were sitting in front of the door again.  Brazen fellows. I grabbed my super soaker and filled it up again.  Very slowly I walked to the door.  I pulled the soaker back and started spraying.  I soaked and soaked.  Probably looked like a mad woman.  I ran back to the kitchen and filled up again.  When I came back to the door, they were just coming back around the corner of the dumpster.  Again, I soaked and they ran away.  My super soaker was empty, but I had an idea….my next fill up I put some vinegar in it mixed with the water and sprayed again, till it wouldn’t spray anymore. In fact, I think I wore the thing out; it wouldn’t work when I filled it again.

The raccoons were gone, but for how long?  I hurried out with Max, he did his duties, we ran back in and waited.  They didn’t come back while we waited, so I am declaring the win for Team Sue!!

I’m sure we will do battle again, but for now, time to go to bed and tomorrow it will be time to buy a new super soaker!

Here’s Sherman…..

I looked at the clock…2 a.m. Why on earth was Max barking at the back door? Was this a dream or had he actually jarred me out of a sound sleep? I believe it was the latter! I slowly got up, the barking still going strong, grabbed my flashlight and went out to the kitchen. I turned on the back porch light and there he was……..Sherman, the skunk, the friend I really don’t want to have!

A couple weeks ago at 6 am, Max and I were out in the back yard, taking care of business and Sherman came racing around the corner, stopped; looked at us; put his tail in the air and Max and I hightailed it in to the house. In the process of doing that, I slipped, sprained my back and knee and have been going to the chiropractor ever since to get things back where they belong! Thank heavens we did not get sprayed…..but, I wasn’t going to take any chances. I called a “skunk expert” and he said to put mothballs under my deck and shed. So, that is what was done. He said to take the dog out in front in the morning just to be safe. That is what I have been doing every day since.

Back to 2 am….I woke up fast, slammed the door and prayed he wouldn’t spray. I peeked out the shade on the window and he was still there, coming closer to the door. I took Max, went into the bedroom and sat there wondering what to do. I peeked out one more time and he was still there just looking up at the window. He was cute, but I knew what he could do if he got frightened or upset. I figured it would be best to just go back to bed and get some rest! I got Max calmed down and decided to be like Miss Scarlett and “think about it tomorrow!!”