Monday, September 10, 2012

wild animals I have known

in my backyard, eating fruit.

Last year's buck, nicknamed Popeye after he showed up with a lumpy brow and crooked antler (best guess:  an altercation with a motor vehicle) has not been back. Now we have both a young buck who prefers to eat young leaves of apple trees and the flowering tips of broccoli and tomatoes, and a doe who eats pears and the new shoots of the rosemary bush.
The doe is at least a little skittish. The buck on the other hand.... Well, I had just finished folding clothes when he arrived in the back yard, and I attempted to scare him off by picking up the IKEA clothes-drying rack and opening and closing it in a threatening giant-scissors fashion (RRASP! RRRASP!) while walking towards him.
Nothing. He stared blankly at me, oblivious to how much bigger my rack was than his rack. I had to throw windfall Spartans at him to get him moving over to the neighbour's back yard. (Credit to Sina for suggesting that I shout 'This is Spartan!' while doing so.)
 I'm undecided now which I should do. Get a new elastic for my Wrist Rocket slingshot and add some oomph to the Spartans, or look in the attic for Chris's old Supersoakers and keep one by the back door?
No raccoons under the house this year, but Momma and a trio of young ones did come prowling (Momma) and wobbling (young 'uns) along the top of the fence while I was picking blackberries. Momma gave me a growl so I growled back, she for the kits, me for the garden.
A few days later I was sitting in the kitchen with the cat on my lap when a half-grown raccoon wandered in through the open back door. I thought at first it was a neighbour cat (there's a creamsicle-coloured one that came right up the stairs not long ago) but it was awfully leggy for a cat.
I spoke to it. Unlike the deer, it scampered off when spoken to. Our cat remained oblivious on my lap.

Meanwhile the crows clatter around on the roof in a suggestively thuggish fashion, and occasionally descend to accept offerings of catfood (not offered to them originally, but they'll overlook that little misunderstanding. This time.)

So far last year's woodpecker, the one that wanted into the house, hasn't renewed its efforts. There's been one in next-door's oak tree, knocking delicately at outlying branches in rattling concert with one I couldn't see that might have been in the other oak tree cater-corner. I hope it wasn't after some part of the garage.
Here's a damp bee, my one successful capture of a bee in pixels, because normally they move too fast. This one was resting up on a gallica rose just at sunrise, with the look of someone who'd partied all night and wasn't quite sure where he'd woken up.
This increase in wildlife is probably connected with the season of mists and not-so-mellow fruitfulness that's going on. While the Transparent apples are well and truly dealt with, dried and bagged or sauced and frozen, the pears are dropping fast. I've done two dryer loads and a jar of pear sauce (pear butter?) already, and there are two mixing bowls of windfalls still to go.
The blackberries may be done, with only one pie and a large ziplock bag frozen. They looked promising, but perhaps because of the dry summer, most of the berries are small and of the sort that doesn't want to detach from the stem. Oddly, the bushes have swapped qualities this year, with the nice fat berries coming from the bush that last year produced small tight berries.
The young greengage tree produced a crop this year. Are greengages normally the size of cherries? It did make them easier to pit, with my new cherry pitter, but it wasn't going to make much jam. 


Terri-Lynne said...

The raccoon came INTO the house? Really? Cheeky little thing, eh? At least he had the good sense to scamper before your--ahem--guard cat got wind of him.


batgirl said...

Yes, she would have shown him a thing or two, all right! If she'd woken up.

I'm really pleased with that first crow picture. It reminds me of your LJ avvie.