Hello! I am about to head out, leaving all my friendly beasts and birdies behind. Ahhh… But I thought I would post some of my reflections and observations from these three weeks of house sitting near an enormous farm, north of Charlottesville in Albemarle County.
I’ve seen many, many deer. From slight differences on their coats, size and temperaments, it seems there are at least a dozen that come by the house occasionally. One large buck seems to have mange – its coat is doing strange things with dark patches here and there. One doe is very feisty – I think her brother is another buck but she does not like him coming too close to her. And she put her hoof on a fawn’s (her’s?) head when it started licking her – awww – and then it ran away as well. She must be having a bad day. There is another large buck with at least 6 or 8 points wandering around, munching on the low leaves.
I have discovered a temporary sanctuary – a huge, majestic oak. It must be over a hundred years old, spreading its large wings over a significant portion of a large meadow. Sitting beneath, I look out to the South Mountains (hills) and I can see at least twenty miles away. A train pushes through the farm, rocking the silence and jolting everyone awake. There are spikes in this ancient tree, allowing someone to climb it. Plus remnants of a tree house. Aha! Someone else knows about this refuge. Nice! Oh and it seems I do not get cell reception while in the tree, curious indeed.
The bird bath is a drinking fountain for squirrels, deer, birds and insects. The birds seem to have so much fun – I love watching them splash water everywhere. Recently, a plump robin seemed to take over, just taking its sweet time as it bathed. Several little wrens and thrashers were on the edge going, “Hey! Hurry up already! It’s our turn.”
There is a “Peek-A-Boo” wood pecker on the suet feeder. It seems to need to look up every few seconds, and as it does so, its head peeks around the corner as if to say, “Peek-A-Boo!!!” And then it takes a bite with another “Surprise!” coming a few seconds later. Very comical. It comes and goes, so that if I sit on the patio, it plays this delightful childish game with me.
So far, and now that my time here is coming to an end, I have yet to see a fox, a chipmunk and all the blue jays seem to have gone elsewhere (thankfully – they were annoying last year). Although I do miss their adding to the diversity. I did see my first masked bandit up close – a raccoon sauntered by the window and I watched it root around under the bird feeders for a while. As I tried to lift a blind, it recognized me and lumbered off into the woods. It had a most peculiar gait – as if it was not used to running. It was during the day and I hope there is nothing wrong with it, as they are typically nocturnal.
There are beautiful flowers that I am in charge of watering daily. They seem to attract butterflies of many varieties and occasionally the humming birds visit the blossoms. On the cool days, the many colored butterflies sun themselves on the patio. About a dozen of them, wings slowly drifting back and forth, like an orchestra – where is the conductor? There are also gorgeous purple leaves of a plant – in the sunlight, they have a silvery sheen. It seems that plant does not need flowers to express its beauty.
The hummingbird feeder is doing its job. Except it seems that one male is hogging it. When a female approaches it, she must very wary. She does not sit on the edge, rather she stays in flight as she drinks from the various “flowers.” Hummingbirds are definitely not evolved animals – because wow that male is a prick. 🙂 Luckily this is not always the case.
Finally, several tiny yellow finches chase each other around and through the leaves of these dogwoods. When they tire of this, they stop for a bite to eat from the feeder. Then back to their merriment!