Hello all and my one follower!! I've again been collecting snippets to write about in my handy dandy notebook (got that from Blues Clues---which I watch entirely too much of!!). First and foremost....Spring is coming. I know that is inevitable after winter but seeing and hearing the first sounds confirms it and a general lightening of mood begins.
The peepers showed up two weekends ago. They are the frogs in the ponds across the road. March 6 seemed to be a little early for them but the weather has been very nice. The forsythia bushes are blooming and my daffodils are popping up. I had to rake the leaves off them to give them a fighting chance but once they had space, up they went. This weekend is "Down with Storm Windows" weekend and we'll be able to hear the peepers all night long.
I'm not sure if I've mentioned in a previous blog about a former neighbor and his peeper story. Justin, the son of our neighbors, used to hang out around our house when Fantastic Son lived at home. The first spring we were out in the country, I was amazed at how loud the peepers were. One minute it's quiet winter and the next, frog music at high decibels. I commented on this one time when Justin was around and he said "Yeah, by August, it will be quiet again." I asked him why and he said "All the snakes in the ponds will have eaten all the frogs by them." I just didn't know what to say to that and being terrified of snakes, I vowed to avoid those ponds from here on out!.
So in the country, there are three things that I am terrified of and the snakes are #2....#3 are coyotes and I am not really afraid of them for me but for Snoopy. The first two winters we were in the country, they were all about. I used to love hearing their howling but now it borders on one of the most creepiest sounds around.
One winter they got so bad that Justin's father told us he was shooting a rifle, aiming above their heads when they came around their house because they were fighting with his dogs. During this same winter, I always made sure I escorted Snoopy and our other dog outside just in case the coyotes (always plural) were around. I figured it would take all three of us to get all three of us back safely in the house. But we never saw them in our yard.
A few months ago, I was standing on the porch and a few "coyotes" ran past me in the front yard and Snoopy gave chase for a few minutes but came right back. I later learned from my neighbor, Joe, that it was actually a pack of beagles who live with another neighbor. They went by so fast and it was very dark outside that I wasn't sure what they were but Joe set me straight because they had ran through his yard as well and he got a good look at them. Regardless of what they were, animals running fast past me in the dark give me the creeps.
OK, we've covered #2 and #3. What is #1 you ask? Skunks!
I feel sorry for them when I see them smashed on the highway---a pretty common occurance in the country. One morning I saw a mama skunk and some babies "running" down the road. That explained why I see so much skunk road kill. They don't run fast at all, in fact, I don't think I would even call it running. They resemble more of a rolling tumbleweed. These black puffs rolling along the road. Their faces are so small and the hair so thick, when on the move, they do look like puffs of hair rolling or blowing along in the wind.
I haven't actually seen them on our property but on several occasions when I've had the windows open, I'll get a whiff of one causing me to run about the house closing windows and refusing Snoopy's requests to go outside.
One night I was coming home late and got out of the car going to the front door and got a whiff of a skunk and swiftly got myself inside. Now when I come in after dark, I be sure and make alot of noise at the car for a few minutes before I go toward the house. Don't want to sneak up on some skunk snoozing in the bushes by the front porch and then spending the night bathing in tomato juice.
A BIG KNOCK ON WOOD---so far we have all survived without a skunk spraying---all people, dogs, and cats. One night, however, we came oh so close. We used to have a black dog (with white scattered here and there) named Sydney who went to doggie heaven about two years ago. Papa, I, Sydney, Snoopy, and Spooky the feral cat used to walk every evening on a 2 mile route down the road (gravel) and back. (Another ponderance---all my animals' names start with S---unintentional but interesting.) So one night as we all were walking along, Papa and I were talking all the way and not paying attention. All of a sudden we noticed at the bottom of the hill we were walking down, Sydney had walked right up to a mama skunk with babies all around her. They were nose to nose smelling each other. I believe the mama skunk might have thought Sydney was a skunk as she had the same coloring and wasn't that much bigger than a skunk. At this time Sydney was up in years and didn't see or hear very well, so she might not have been aware of what she was smelling up.
As for Papa and I, we were both in a panic. I grabbed Snoopy's collar before she realized another animal was around.....to chase (her favorite hobby) and as we were all within spraying distance if things turned bad, we started backing up the hill very slowly, all the time I was calling Sydney in a soft voice.
I really didn't see a positive escape from this situation but we kept moving backwards, calling Sydney and after a few minutes, she trotted up the hill where we were and the mama skunk turned around and disappeared into the brush with all her babies following. We were so thankful we had escaped and were amazed that Syd hadn't been sprayed either. I guess mama realized that blind, deaf, elderly Sydney didn't pose a threat to her, was actually rather friendly, and we had gotten far enough away that she didn't have any worries about us either.
So there you have it---my top three fears of living in the country, or actually anywhere for that matter.