Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Life in a cedar swamp?

Why do I live so far from civilization? Is life in the middle of no where really all that fun? Is it really enjoyable putting your 6 year old on the school bus at 5:55 am? Why do I do it?

No, it's not enjoyable getting up at 5 am so your child can catch a bus at 5:55 am. No it's not fun driving an hour to get to the doctor. It's not fun driving an hour to get to Wal-Mart or Meijer. So, why do I think its fun to live on the edge of a cedar swamp?

Because it's fun watching the children's faces light up when they get to see the raccoons and possum come up to eat the leftovers I throw out. It's fun watching the amazement as they get to hear the coyotes strike up a chorus. It's fun when they get to see the other wild critters that hang out in the area. It's fun when I get to look out my back windows and watch them standing still while they try to get chickadees to land on them. It's fun watching their enjoyment as they try to explain everything they saw and did when daddy takes them on nature walks in the woods. It's fun watching their big smiles when they see the wild cat come up to eat cat food that I put out. He's a feral cat. It's fun watching their amazement at the turkeys and deer that walk through our yard. And I'll even add a couple of stories as to why I love life on the edge of a cedar swamp!

I have never been very fond of raccoons. That is probably because they used to kill the chickens that my parents and I raised. Don't get me wrong, I think the little critters are cute but I could live life happily without them. But now I actually enjoy the critters and here's why. Early this spring we had a pregnant raccoon come up so we fed her. A couple of weeks later she starts bringing up 5 babies. The girls loved it. We would throw food out and watch quietly, waiting for mama to poke her nose over the hill. Then the real excitement followed as we waited for the 5 shy babies to follow mama. We did this most of the summer. We got to watch the babies grow bigger and bigger. Then about a month ago we started seeing just 2 babies. Brooke thinks a coyote or owl ate the others. We were saddened by the loss of the 3 babies. Yeah, even I was saddened that the future chicken killers were missing. They do not come around as often now. But we do still have raccoons coming in. We have a very shy raccoon coming in that has a stub of a tail. Brooke and I make up stories as to how "Tailless Wonder" became tailless. And last night Madison and I saw a medium/large raccoon. It had it's nice thick winter coat already.

Another amazing animal that we feed is our feral cat. He showed up on winter day about 2 years ago. During the summer we see him here and there but never steady. During the winter though he is here all the time. But during the spring and fall he only shows up on really cold nights. It was cold last night so he showed up on the back porch. I stuck some can food and hard food out for him. He's a good cat. And I enjoy his company. I really wish though that I could get him tamed enough that I could sit on the porch and he would climb on my lap to be pet. That will never happen though. We are attached to the little guy. We even worm him. I like to think he’s a permanent fixture at this little house that sits on the edge of a cedar swamp.


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