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Wildlife Encounters At Home

Think You’re A Wildlife Expert? You Should Live at My House.

Two Days – One Snake And One Bat

Over the last two days I have had a giant black snake at my front door and a bat in my dining room. The bat is still up there as I await Roger’s Wildlife Control. I don’t know if I should open a Wildlife Sanctuary or call a Realtor? I’m leaning toward the latter. It has us talking about the many wildlife encounters we have experienced in this house.

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Our house is a very, very, very, fine house!

The Mansion of The Great Flying Squirrels

When we first moved into this adorable chalet all perched upon a hill surrounded by majestic trees I thought we had found our perfect starter home. I didn’t know at the time that flying squirrels had already claimed this their mansion, treating it as though it was the largest tree in the forest or that they would be willing to fight for their stake in it.

Oh yeah, you’re awake! I exist. Deal with it! And get out of my room!

The Haven of The Giant Cranky Wolf Spiders

I didn’t know that Wolf Spiders had also claimed our home their haven. Giant Wolf Spiders, always in a wretched mood, and way too large to exist outside of my worst nightmares, but they were here too.

The Buffet For The Six Foot Black Snakes

I didn’t expect that the existence of the infallible flying squirrels would prove irresistible to the black snakes that lived in the surrounding forest until Spring after Spring they arrived at my front door looking for lunch. Once even deciding to come inside for a visit.

You are SO outnumbered, human!

The Gargantuan Hive For All Wasp Species Ever In Existence

I also didn’t realize that this adorable wooden three-story was actually a giant wasp nest, disguised as a sanctuary for my family. But indeed it was. And breeding in every version. At this point, I have been stung so many times that I am now allergic to these little beasts and have to carry an EpiPen.

In their defense, they were here first. Apparently, for millennia based on the size of the nests, they had built behind the boards of our home.

Do you have a 3/8th’s inch?

Invasion of The Masked Bandit

We didn’t expect to be woken up by the sounds of thieves rummaging through our belongings. But still, I was awoken to my husband’s voice whispering in the darkness, “Someone is in the house.”

He quickly armed himself. We realized the sounds were coming from the garage. I prepared to call 911 while he rushed down the stairs to heroically save our leaf blower and drills only to discover a raccoon in the garage digging through a toolbox apparently searching for a tool we didn’t have. Maybe he needed something metric.

The Great Squirrel Knock Out

My husband most certainly did not expect to be innocently using the bathroom when all of a sudden he realized he wasn’t alone. A curious sound erupted directly behind him, right behind his head, practically breathing in his ear. He was so startled that he turned and punched it before he realized it was just a squirrel maybe wanting to borrow some toilet paper. His reaction was a reflex, not meanness. But all the same, he knocked the poor little guy out.

No worries though. Our squirrels are survivors and he was back the next day, tapping at the window. Wondering if we were ready to leave yet. Raising his furry little fist at us…

I never imagined myself a Dad, but sometimes you have to step up.

Junior and Uncle Bob – The Bears

Once a bear cub moved into the open space beneath our spa room, he was deceptively adorable. But he was rather loud with his odd grunting noises in the night and didn’t smell nice. We watched in horror as his paw prints grew at a rate that was alarming and seemed unlikely.

It turned out it was unlikely because we soon discovered our baby bear had made a friend or maybe his great uncle got word he had been abandoned because one night I pulled into the driveway and there he stood, yes stood, at the end of the spa room. His eyes ominously reflecting my headlights from about six feet off the ground.

My first thought wasn’t that I was seeing a bear, he was simply far too big. I imagined Andre The Giant, returned from the dead, but then he fell to his feet and I could see he was a just a well-fed bear. Old Uncle Bob the Bear kept coming back after that, all summer long. Junior had made a friend.

Seriously, a chicken sandwich?

The Skunk and The Sandwiches

I had another fun wildlife encounter late one night. I had just returned from my sister’s wedding. It was after midnight but I had food leftovers from the wedding that couldn’t wait until morning to be taken in. So I opened the trunk and started lifting chicken salad sandwiches from the trunk. When I turned to head for the stairs I discovered no more than ten inches from my heels stood a skunk. It’s white striped tail lifted as though I was the one threatening it.

I froze. We stared at each other.

“Want a sandwich?” I inquired in my softest, sweetest voice. “Chicken salad with pecans.” I offered, remembering I had heard that skunks like nuts. It didn’t seem interested and it wasn’t backing down. I stood there, afraid to move and it did the same until finally after about five agonizing minutes of terror, it turned and waddled back into the woods. I left the pasta salad to spoil and went to bed grateful I wouldn’t need a bath in tomato soup first.

My Father In Law Versus A Great Hairy Beast

One day I discovered an especially large Wolf Spider the size of my palm hanging out on T’s bedroom curtain, so I called my father-in-law for help. He laughed at me and teased me a little about how it was just a spider, but he came over all the same. He was all confidence as he picked up a shoe and bravely entered the bedroom, only to reappear seconds later white-faced and requesting a broom. I offered a shovel.

Wildlife Encounters. The charm of country living, y’all.

Back ten years ago, instead of recognizing the obvious danger in this quaint little chalet, I was innocently deceived into believing that the sweet deer family that frequented my back yard was proof that I had discovered some sort of utopia. After all, cardinals visited and chickadees sang, and wild roses grew. There were hardwood floors and stone fireplaces and lightning bugs flickering all summer long. Clearly I had found my dream home.

Now, as we have paid an absolute fortune to de-wasp our home, kept the exterminators in business, and were forced to put Wildlife Removal in our top five favorites lists on our phones, I wonder if I could have warned myself that this house already had a few families residing here, would I launch a warning?

I know it sounds ridiculous but I would not.

If it’s no trouble, we are down to about two cups out here.

You see, there is this one brown bird that actually taps on my bedroom window every time the bird feeder is low to let me know it needs a refill.

And there is a squirrel I call Frank that seems to be doing some sort of study on us humans and he likes to sit on the fence outside the kitchen window and intently watch us. He also appears on the balcony off the homeschool room turning his head this way and that so he can see what we are doing, clearly enjoying the classes.

Welcome to your fairy tale.

There is Jack, the Mourning Dove, and Cash, The Nuthatch that I absolutely adore. I get so many hummingbirds and we have woodpeckers bigger than most cats and we still have those deer though we see them less and less each year.

You can’t see me.

And then there was the field mouse. One Fall afternoon I was going to make pumpkin bread so I opened the cabinet to get out the flour only to discover the cutest field mouse I have ever seen. He had startled me and I had startled him. At first, I gasped but then immediately was enamored because he was standing on his back legs holding a crouton as large as his head. We looked at each other.

He was so cute all frozen there holding that crouton with both little hands wrapped lovingly around it. Suddenly, he took one large bite, threw the crouton, and took off.

I know I sound mad, but if you had seen him there, all doe-eyed holding that crouton like it was cake, you might understand why I immediately fell in love with field mice.

For obvious reasons I couldn’t allow the Crouton Mouse to stay with us, so we sealed off every tiny hole we could find and I had to put every last morsel of food in my house in Tupperware containers. But I still find them adorable.

Why Not Just Move?

Not long ago, while searching for a wrench, my husband and I were laughing about the raccoon that night long ago digging frantically through the toolbox. My husband all armed and dangerous, me terrified and shaking as I held the phone set to call 911, and the raccoon ransacking the garage and throwing screwdrivers at us when we went in to investigate.

And we often laugh about the squirrel that withstood my husband’s right hook without any permanent damage. My Mom gets my husband a squirrel ornament for Christmas every year. It’s one of our most well-known family stories.

And we have so many family stories relating to the critters that reside here with us. Those I’ve shared here today and many more.

T has grown up in this house and he has grown up in the great outdoors all at once. It’s a two for one deal. He adores nature. He is quick to make friends with all creatures save the spiders. And I who was once always afraid of mice, have discovered that they can be adorable too.

There are many lessons we have learned since we moved into the house up on the hill. Valuable lessons. Memorable lessons for sure. Lessons about how much there is to see when you look closer, how to coexist with life that follows very different rules, and how to see through your fear to find the treasure that awaits you.

As for my next house, will I move to a concrete jungle? Will I chose the center house in a row of townhouses far from the nearest forest?

It’s not likely. Despite some of the more frightening wildlife encounters I’ve had here I still love nature. I’d like to be closer to the water but still surrounded by trees and all the life that calls them home.

I guess I’ll never learn 😉

Well, I just saw Roger’s Wildlife Control pull in so I have to go see this bat out of the house.

Until next time, my friends,

Gwen

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