Tales from the Country....

It may be difficult for some to appreciate the sweet, fresh air available to those who live out in the 'sticks'. I was born in a city of about 25000. That's considered to be a relatively small town. Then at the age of 13 our family moved to a much smaller town and way out into the country. The photo below is where I grew up! It makes great desktop wallpaper.


The first thing you notice is how very quiet things become. The city (even a small one) is thrumming and buzzing with great activity. Sounds of nature are masked just as stars in the night sky are eclipsed by streetlights. I think I became hooked on the wild one day while walking to school. It was time to receive yet another inoculation and I wandered into class around mid morning. To my surprise a small bird was flitting busily around a flowering bush and catching the pollinators. It was startlingly bright yellow with black wings. The goldfinch did not linger though it gifted me with a lasting memory. What a singular moment! The wooded countryside is ripe for adventures only a child can find and experience, hence the reason for this page.

A robin had nested opposite our kitchen window. Each morning we'd peer out to see how the family was faring. Unfortunately for this tiny family their entire effort was begun too late in the season and they didn't survive. However, it did inspire all of us to become interested in the other small animals who shared our neighborhood.

We did our best to maintain a strawberry patch in the back yard along with a small vegetable garden. Our house was constantly under construction (in fact it was never completed). Chip monks residing in the nearby wood pile would scurry into the garden, snag a berry and return to the same plank before devouring their prize until the board itself was stained red! Beneath and to the sides of the wood pile was a series of wood chuck holes. You could see them peer out ever so cautiously. As it turns out, where there is prey, there are predators.

 Returning home one night our headlights flashed across the wood pile. Seated there and sensing patiently for activity was a bob cat. It blinked some  annoyance as we switched out the lights! Then it occurred to all how very important it was to know where that cat was going so on came the headlights. Well, the cat was gone! We sat in the car for half an hour reluctant to take that momentary walk to the back door...

So the next day I decided to find out where bob cats go when they aren't predating near our wood pile. Over night came a light dusting of snow. Off I went across the highway towards the railroad tracks. I crunched plenty of my own boot prints onto the ground before realizing I was destroying all the fresh tracks. In fact there were all kinds of tracks I couldn't identify. So I sat very still for an eternity (about 10 minutes) before deciding it was a waste of time! I marched on and wandered home in a few hours (it was very cold). 

A few days later a new set of prints appeared on the front lawn. They were small hoof prints! I discovered that if you woke early enough you could find small deer munching crops in the neighboring corn field. The deer were very nervous but it was an amazing experience for a small boy to witness an animal wild and free.


More Wildlife Moments