Living with wildlife is part of the beauty of the lifestyle we have chosen. Others may call them pests, but we call them animals. The picture I snapped from this side of the window last night at dusk was of a young deer eating the rest of the birdseed. Naughty? Yes, but Santa had already come so there is plenty of time to make up for it next year. The sky was so blissfully brushed rose and the stars were just coming out. The chickens were snug in their coop, the cats under the tree, and the dogs on their beds, the whole world was sweetly humming Christmas songs, and the snow was such a joyous sight. Such a vision of this sweet deer and her sister and baby resting in my yard on their journey made me sigh and be thankful.
When we first moved out here every deer we saw had us pulling over to the side of the road with our heads hanging out the window blowing kisses and waving. (I am actually not kidding about that.) We still slow to see families of deer, hope for their safety, and blow a few kisses. To provide a safe place for them to rest and be is part of our reason for homesteading and wanting a larger homestead, more sanctuary….for them and for us.
The key is distraction. We have posts around the garden perimeter and clear fishing line strung every foot all the way around. They cannot see it, it spooks them when they run into it, and it kept all manner of animals out of the garden. They have since recently figured it out so I will come up with another distraction for next year. Birdseed is the same. Bumble, the mighty farm dog, keeps most animals out of the fenced part of the yard but I let this one slip. The deer usually hang out in the unfenced yard, eat the compost buffet by the garden and rest under the large tree.
Inside the fenced yard, Scamper the squirrel waits for Bumble to go inside. He does love himself a birdseed snack. To remedy his acrobatic feats, trapezing from feeder to feeder, he gets his own bowl on the outdoor table. Lots of peanuts and a nice blend just for him. It does the trick, he knows where it is, and would rather get the easy snack then worry about Bumble catching him by the feeders. At our old house, outside our bedroom window, the squirrel there would actually start chirping and yelling and would throw his bowl when it was empty. Not so great with manners, that one, but really funny to watch!
Here at this homestead, I have watched Scamper grow up this year. His brother is the one I am holding in the picture. He fell from the nest and Doug swooped him out of the street so not to watch him get hit by a car. He died of internal bleeding later that day. His mother was hit last week. Because of the fleeting lifespan of these adorable creatures, why not spoil them a little while they are here?
Coyotes have a right to live, we are in their space after all, just pen up the chickies. Raccoons and Foxes are a fun sight as well. I just don’t want them all in the chicken coop for Half Price Chicken Wednesday. But live and let live. They have a right to live as much as we do. I love seeing them cross the field yonder.
I am enthralled by the Sparrows and the Mountain Jays, their calls and their antics. I love all the wildlife. I could never go back to the city. Not enough life for me!