Thursday, June 7, 2012

Critters can be challenging

I absolutely love living in the woods. There are certainly challenges, however, such as trying to also maintain the place, not to mention, trying to have flower and vegetable gardens. There are many reasons I find gardening here in the Ozarks to be a challenge, not the least of which is because of all the critters that run around like they own the place.

OK, I know, they do own the place. We are all just squatters in the forest. And I'm very grateful to be sharing the woods with them, but there are times when we humans just have to act like the top of the food chain. I insist that we learn to get along. I will just not tolerate the deer eating my tomatoes, or rat snakes climbing into the bluebird nest, both sad topics I've written about in the past. As long as we can have an understanding, I am thrilled to be able to be up close and personal with all the wildlife that seems to abound in our little Ozarks forest.

Bandit, the raccoon

This is bandit. He and his pals appear nightly, although this time I caught him during a lazy afternoon. It is really hard to resist that face. This has to be a young fella, evident by the fact that he didn't pull the feeder, the pole that holds it, and all the seed onto the ground for easier pickings.

We have resorted to bringing the feeders in at night, simply because these guys, while cute, are pretty destructive. 

Even the noisy crows like to get into the act

Rarely do I see the many crows in the area come into the yard. I have no idea what that means, except perhaps that it has been pretty dry this spring. They are probably looking for an easy handout.

This morning I saw them foraging on the ground, but at other times, they have been hanging out at the bird feeder with the rest of my feathered friends. Wanna see a tiny chickadee run for its life?--Just throw a giant, noisy crow into the mix. These guys are huge. 

They aren't shy about talking about what they want either. Crows are beautiful birds, but their voices will never allow them to be American Idols.

A myriad pesky squirrels
Of course this little guy is no stranger to anyone's garden. He and his extended family are just about the biggest pain in the neck in our lives. 

While the antics of squirrels can often be quite charming, it has started to become a little annoying. In fact we are getting pretty aggravated about their trying to steal ALL of the bird food we put out. The little buggers are smart and apparently smarter than we are. We shall persevere however. 

Suffice it to say, if one or more squirrels get eaten by a bigger animal, there would be no crocodile tears shed by me.

Terrible the terrapin

The other morning, I was sitting on the front porch enjoying the beautiful weather of late, when I had to actually scold this little fella. Normally I just ignore him, but when I saw him take a big bite out of my impatiens, I decided it was time for him to go. I picked him up and carried him to another part of the yard. 

Darned if he didn't come back, so I repeated the process. I know it was him because he has a little cut in his shell, right near his right hind leg. The other day I found another--a different tarrapin--trying to follow in his footsteps. Sheesh!

I ran into a rabbit this morning, but it was too dark yet to get his picture. So far, I haven't caught them doing anything I didn't approve of. I really don't mind if they want to stick with the clover. If they start heading for my vegetable garden though, that will not be tolerated. I've seen chipmunks, skunks, and some other critters, but not when I was armed with my camera. Who knows, that may be something to strive for along  with growing pretty flowers and lots of healthy veges.