But with farm land surrounding us, I didn’t expect to feel quite so unenlightened and “green” when it came to the animal kingdom. It’s like I turn into a kid again when I see or hear things for the first time.
Shortly after we arrived I experienced flying ants for the first time. It was a very weird sensation, as I had no idea an ant could fly, but out here they do. They are quite the annoyance if you are trying to get something accomplished and they persistently fly back no matter how many times you try to shoo them away. Fortunately, the wave of flying ants was over after about two weeks.
When taking a stroll or working outside, it’s not uncommon to hear cows in the distance, a sound that I haven’t heard in ages. It’s a sound that brings me great joy, as a reminder of our more peaceful surroundings. I never thought that a cow mooing would have such a relaxing effect, but it does.
Just down the street, one of our neighbours has a couple of horses. I don’t recall been near a horse since a pony ride maybe 50 years ago. One day I was driving by, only to see one of the horses relieving itself (#1) which totally blew my mind as I finally witnessed and understood the saying “peeing like a racehorse”.
I was surprised that we didn’t have more squirrels and chipmunks, but the ones we have are more than enough as they seem to be in a bit of a “West Side Story” turf war. My partner and I have both seen the chipmunk get very aggressive with the squirrel and even take a swipe at him. That chipmunk is quite a scrapper!
In the peak summer months, we had crickets… in numbers I have never seen before. At dusk, you can’t walk without having them clear a path for you. It’s a little unnerving as it’s like the grass is moving.
Around that same time, we spotted a skunk sauntering across our lawn, just the one time, as if it were using our lawn as a pathway with a definite destination in mind. We were relieved that it didn’t find cause to check out the house.
Similarly, as I was making lunch one day, from the kitchen window I spotted a baby-sized groundhog, lumbering by as if he had a lunch date somewhere.
I had heard that we had foxes in the neighbourhood, but it took a few months before I spotted them. I was returning from a socially-distanced grocery run, only to find a little red fox darting out of nowhere. I jumped and gasped, from the element of surprise. While I am not a speed demon by any stretch of the imagination, the abundant wildlife is even more reason to drive slowly on our little country road. I wouldn’t want a shattered eco system on my conscience.
When it comes to birds, we have had a day here and there that would make you think we were shooting an Alfred Hitchcock movie, just from the sheer number and variety we have. While some share their joyful songs of summer, others are seemingly squawking angrily at each other.
On one of the hottest, driest summer days, we had to break from our work day to observe a mother wild turkey and her “rafter” (or flock) of chicks walking around our property seeking shade and likely water. It was quite a fascinating sight and also a vocabulary-boosting experience as I didn’t know turkeys came in a “rafter”.
Our venture to the country also brought my sightings of an owl, bats as well as varieties of butterflies I had never seen before.
It has been one continuous episode of National Geographic, right in our own backyard. I really do love it!
Next year, when we aren’t quite so busy with home improvements, I look forward to getting the camera gear out and snapping some of those elusive photos of a day in the life of Mother Nature.
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