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Mountain Living
The Pros and Cons to living in the mountains

More Wildlife

We had become rather complacent that our deer and turkey would come to visit every year. I think we began to take them for granted. While still excited to see them appear, the camera was not so "at the ready" as it had been.

No one was more surprised than I, when, this past summer, 2010, we had three new visitors. I had the ring-side seat to these events this time. As I sat at my computer, in our spare bedroom, I caught a glimmer of movement outside the window that I faced. Lo, and behold, there was a Black Bear cruising through the back yard with his nose to the ground. I'm assuming he was tracking food. But, what food?  He never looked at the house, seeming to just consider it part of the woods!! Wow! I was so surprised, that I nearly tipped over my chair trying to get to the living room to tell my husband. We both quickly moved to our back door (which, thankfully, was closed) and we watched the bear disappear back into the thicket of the woods behing our house. That bear appeared to be young, perhaps about one year old. He wasn't fat, but looked healthy. He was beautiful in his "bearness". As I said, I didn't have the camera ready, so I don't have a picture to show. But, believe me, the picture I have in my head is "forever"

Later that same day, I heard my husband holler, "Get away from there!!" and heard a door slam. Then heard him getting out his pistol.  I jumped up and ran into the living room. "What's wrong?!", I said. Our cat was outside as he normally was, but today he had wandered up on a rattlesnake behind our house!     I was terrified for him. Dumb cat was walking right up to it, as if to tempt the snake to strike at him! Dear God, NO! My husband fired off two shots from his pistol, into the air, to scare the cat. The cat ran and hid in the woods.  My husband wasn't sure if the snake had managed a strike or not, so I was very worried about how to get the cat to come back to us. I called and called. He would not come back. I had no choice but to wait for him to come back on his own, all the while praying that he hadn't been bitten by the snake.   Meantime, my husband had to find the snake (which had crawled off into the Rhododendrons) and kill it. He found it, shot it several times, then used a paint roller extension pole to fling it into the driveway below the bushes. It took two more shots, close up, to finish the snake off.  The snake was very fat and healthy, so undoubtedly had been "dining" on many of our local critters.

Whew!  Our wayward cat came back, with no evidence of any bites. Here is a look at that Rattlesnake:


Wildlife from year to year

Every year since we moved to the mountains, we have been delighted by viewings of wildlife close to home. Each 'visit' is full of joy and wonder at God's wonderful world.

Over the years, we have become more and more invisible to the wildlife - blending into the landscape. Our sightings have become more varied and exciting with the passing of each summer.

The first year, we were honored by visits from wild turkey females and their new brood. We put out cracked corn to keep them coming back, but even when we ran out of the cracked corn, the turkey females kept coming back to graze on the grass seeds. While many times we discussed "taking one for Thanksgiving", we were just too amazed to be able to just observe them.

Later, deer started to appear, through the trees at the highest point of our yard, and we couldn't believe our luck. They didn't even seem to mind the sounds coming from the house. But DON'T MOVE, where they can see you! Staying just back from the window screens, we could watch them graze on the wild plants, like Hawkweed. Like a dandelion, Hawkweed has a sunny yellow bloom. The deer seem to like those blooms especially. And, as if to welcome the deer, the Hawkweed blooms early morning, but closes up during the high sun. The deer always seemed to know the right time to come for the Hawkweed. They also seemed to enjoy eating the Jewel Weed flowers that bloom in late summer. We could watch the deer stroll along our driveway, where the lush plants would reach out to their noses. Munching their way back down the driveway until they disappeared from sight, we would run from window to window for a better view of the parade.

Mostly, the deer would appear one at a time. One year, a doe came to graze with her twin fawns that looked to be about a year old. Another time, two spike bucks arrived to graze together. What a thrill to be able to study them right in our yard.     

Here are some of my favorite pictures of our deer:82F08-8-11(8-8).jpg


87F08-8-11(8-13).jpg 43F08-7-20(18-3) 11.jpg