Enchanting Critters

I had to laugh yesterday when several hours after EJ had left to go hunting on the other side of the state, I looked out of the window and saw four deer standing on the hill on our own five acres. I sent him a photo of the deer and I’m sure he laughed too. He did kill a deer later in the day so we will have venison to fill our freezer. EJ texted this morning that he will hunt until dark and then leave for home. I am glad that he can enjoy a hunting trip, but I always miss him and can’t wait for him to return.

Madeline’s critter.

I looked out our bedroom window last night at twilight and saw Madeline leaping about hunting her prey. Not long afterwards I went through the garage on my way out to shut the ducks and chickens in their coop for the night, and I found the mouse laying near the cats’ food and water bowls. The mouse was very fat–one of the fattest I’ve ever seen. I wondered if it was pregnant. Because of my suspicions that Josette’s weight gain might be due to pregnancy, I’m beginning to think every fat critter might be pregnant. When I re-entered the garage on my way back into the house, the mouse was gone. I wondered if, after showing it to me, Madeline had taken it away to eat privately. There were a few small bits and pieces of other kills still lying on the mat. Sweet little Madeline is a ruthless killer. I don’t mind removing the whole bodies of her kills, but the little bits and pieces are gross and I try not to look at them to closely. I was able to get a video of Madeline hunting a mouse or shrew this afternoon. It was rather fascinating. I never saw whether or not the critter escaped but I assume Madeline killed it. I wish cats didn’t play their prey so much, but I don’t feel very sorry for mice because they carry disease–and if they are in a coop, I’ve heard that sometimes they nibble the feet of the chickens who sleep very deeply at night. And shrews are venomous so I don’t feel sorry for them either. I tell Madeline, “Good girl! You are a mighty hunter!” when she shows me the bodies.

Yesterday it was warm enough outside that I actually saw a couple of insects flying about. This morning I woke up to a cold snow-globe world. We had periods of snow and gusty winds all day. JJ was not thrilled about that because he now has a 45 minute drive to work instead of a 5 minute one. Sometimes he exclaims, “Why? Why is it snowing?!” When he asks questions like this about the weather, I always launch into a weather report like in the movie Groundhog Day and then he begs me to stop. Laugh.

JJ didn’t get home from work until almost midnight last night. I tried to wait up for him because I like to know that he is safely at home, but after two days of waking up before 5 a.m., I started falling asleep in my chair so I finally went to bed. All four indoor cats settled around me in bed. Luke was on one side of my head. He has a habit of sneezing and I was afraid he would sneeze in my face so I turned away from him. Kee-Kee settled on the other side of my head–so close that his whiskers kept tickling my face. The other two cats were further down my body and they hindered my movement. Between the four of them, they kept me awake until JJ arrived safely home. Then at 6:30 a.m. this morning, Timmy was waking me to tell me I needed to feed them. They usually aren’t this bad, but they have been little troublemakers since Daylight Savings ended.

JJ said he had a good day at work yesterday. He told me they almost had a missing child–but apparently she was found. I asked what happens at the mall when they have a missing child alert. He said they did nothing–they just keep an eye out for the child. “You mean they don’t go into a full lockdown–sort of like in Monster’s Inc.?” I asked. I would think a missing child would be a huge deal. He said no, but if I ever got lost at the mall, he promised he would yell “2319! 2319!” JJ had to be at work at noon today and he gets off at 7 p.m., so I won’t have to struggle to wait up for him.

Today I have been doing a lot of little tasks–like laundry and cleaning the house. I also made homemade pizza. When the guys aren’t home for supper, I like to make uncomplicated meals that can be quickly warmed up–like pizza or soup or chili.

Fixing the fence

One of the smaller flimsier t-posts holding the snow fence snapped off a few days ago so this morning I found a heavier t-post, pounded it into place with the post driver, and fixed the snow fence. We used zip-ties to fasten the fence to the posts, but we had run out of the heavy ones when I put up the last of the snow fence a week or two ago. I had to use smaller ones which break more easily for the last few posts. EJ found another container of zip-ties in the garage last week. Today I used the larger sturdy zip-ties to attach the fence to the new post and then put them on the posts that I had put up the other day.

Yesterday and today I’ve been working to position–and reposition–the bird feeders so that both EJ and I can clearly see them from our chairs. I also try to position them so that I have a clear view to take photos of the deer that visit. Positioning the bird feeders usually involves me sitting in my chair considering where to put the poles, then going outside to reposition the poles, and then coming inside and sitting in both EJ’s and my chairs to see if we both can easily seen them. I keep doing this as I try to find just the perfect place to put them. I’m putting them all up near the deck this year. I love to observe the deer but it’s not particularly healthy for them to gather at feeders so I figure that either the deer will be hesitant to come so close to the house to eat the bird’s seed or I will have some awesome close up photos. I kept the dead morning-glory vines on the poles to provide cover for the birds.

A blue jay at the tray feeder.

I have only two suet cakes and a small amount of bird seed left over from last year. I hung one suet cake outside a week ago for the birds to enjoy. Because we have mostly woodpeckers visiting our feeders, I had considered just buying suet cakes and not putting out any bird seed this  year to save money and not attract deer. However, many chickadees, nuthatches, blue jays, and various woodpeckers have been swooping in to check out the feeders so I changed my mind about the seed. I put out a small portion of leftover seed in the tray feeder for them yesterday and today. I hope to buy more suet and seed tomorrow. I love winter because the birds come to the feeders where I get to enjoy them. I have to put the bird feeders away in the warmer months because of bears and then the birds mostly stay high up in the trees. Here is a video I took of the visitors to my feeders this morning:

Besides the chickadees, nuthatches, blue jays, and various woodpeckers visiting the feeder today, I saw a flock of more than 25 turkeys. They began to run across the yard. I almost never see them run like that. Even when they see me outside, they just sort of slowly meander into the forest. I figured something must have spooked them; I wondered what it was. I fancifully imagined Madeline stalking them, but I don’t really think she’d go after them. I think it’s more likely that they were spooked by a deer hunter in the woods…or maybe coyotes or something. I know that I’ve shared a lot of videos in this post, but I couldn’t decide which one to leave out. This 17 second one of the turkeys running is the last one. Honestly!

I love the cold winter months because there is always so much wild life to enjoy! It’s such a magical time of year. Some day I’d love to get a cam to livestream the wildlife that comes into our yard.

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One Comment on “Enchanting Critters

  1. Pingback: Enchanting Critters - Good Animals

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