Monday, September 17, 2012

Wildlife and Small Towns + Giveaway by C.H. Admirand


I live in the wilds of northern New Jersey. We’ve lived here for 30 years, and although we thought about moving once or twice, the neighborhood kept us here. Lindy’s Lake is a small community where everyone knows everyone else’s business—at least we did while our kids were still in school—once they go off to college things change…but the one thing that we love the most aside from our Lakestyle cottage is the wildlife, flora, and fauna that are a part of the community.

In the years we’ve lived here we made the house our home by planting gardens, laying a bluestone patio, and building an arbor outside and painting and refurbishing the inside. In all the time we've lived here, we've only had bears visit the outside of the chainlink fence that surrounds the back half of our property...that is until the other night.

We were babysitting our darling grandbaby overnight since his mommy and daddy both had closing shifts at work. I had our grandson in my arms when I heard the distinctive sound of twigs snapping that got increasingly louder. From the sound, I knew it was bigger than a raccoon, possum, cat, or dog…coyotes, though in the neighborhood, rarely come close to our backyard. 

The wisteria was dark, but I could hear what I knew was a bear climbing up to the top of the arbor, breaking the tiny slats that supported the crossbeams. I had Jack on one hip, the dog whining at my side and a flashlight in my hand, but the wisteria was too thick to see anything…but I could hear him. When I called my husband, he came in and did see when the bear’s foot broke through some of the tangled vines breaking even more of them. From the deep growl, we could tell he wasn’t happy about something, and that’s when I remembered the two new cakes of suet we’d put out for our feathered friends: Blueberry Blast and Berry Treat. He was working hard to unhook the feeder.

You see not only the Nuthatches, Chickadees, House Finches, Downy and Red Bellied Woodpeckers enjoy the berry blast suet we put out...the bears do too! We've had to stop feeding the birds once or twice but haven’t had a problem like this before. Here’s a picture of the broken slats on the ground…


 The hole in the middle of the wisteria (and missing slats) where his paw went through as he snatched the suet feeder…


And the suet feeder where the bear left it…on top of the arbor! He only managed to pry one side off.


But bears aren’t the only problem we had this week…the other is our darling little black lab mix that we rescued in January. Jameson is trouble…adorably cute, but trouble just the same. Earlier this summer our oldest son designed and let me help him build a stream and pond—and in a moment of puppy exuberance…apparently he wasn’t just digging in the stream…he was chasing a toad…all of our hard word went down the drain—er pond.

Here's the puppy...


And the toad...
 
 

We now have a leak and I’ve had to pull out all of the stones we filled the stream bed with. It was a daunting task, fitting stones together and then adding the pretty round river rocks to finish the job, and now...well see for yourself, it’s just the liner while we try to pinpoint the source of the leak.




Soooo remember when you’re thinking of moving to a small town or community that there are other creatures that you will be sharing your space with. Getting along with them and living in harmony isn’t difficult, but it can be a challenge.

To celebrate life in a small town, I’m giving away a signed ARC for my November release, A WEDDING IN APPLE GROVE (Small Town USA Book #1).

Leave a comment here on the blog and I’ll draw a name at random tonight. Do you share your yard with wildlife, or do you live in a citified area? Have you ever had a run in with a wild creature that you were unprepared for?

33 comments:

  1. How scary! A bear came through my yard last year and tore down my bird feeder and ripped apart the suet cage. I'm just glad he didn't come up on my deck to get the food I leave out for stray cats.

    I can't imagine seeing a bear up close like you did. A toad is fine, but not a bear. Yikes!

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  2. We had to put up a six foot high chain link fence to keep the fauna out of our yard, and we do NOT live in the north woods of NJ! Evidently our house stands on a natural stream where for eons, animals have come to drink. Now, the stream is gone, but our vegetable garden is enticing. The fence has held for one year. But the animals aren't stupid, they'll figure out how to jump it or get through it. Keep your bears away from the grandbaby!!

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  3. You've got to put that in one of your books...never waste an opportunity when it crawls right into you back yard!
    Too bad the toad wasn't in the feeder. If he'd gotten a big chomp on the frog, he'd have been runnin' from you even yet and beggin' his momma for a bar of soap to chew on.

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  4. I used to live in a wooded area and I had all kinds of critters visit me, including deer, turkey's, raccoon, fox and even a bear. The bear climbed up on my car hood and walked over the top and down the back of the car, leaving his paw prints all over. I didn't see him do it, but he made sure I knew he had been by, by leaving his paw prints!

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  5. A friend of mine has a cabin up in the wilds of Montana. They had a bear break in one summer and pretty much destroy the place. But they had to laugh when they saw that every mirror had a pawprint on each side and a noseprint in the middle, as if the bear had stood up and looked at himself!

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  6. We had bears in eastern Oklahoma when I lived there--they used to get into everyone's beehives, but were in people's trees, on the highway going to Fort Smith, and at Fort Chaffee when I went to see about an Army Reserve position.

    We had mountain lions in Snyder, OK, one of which attacked a neighbor's dog over rights to drink water from their swimming pool.

    And I just had something take off with the dead cricket in my kitchen before I had a chance to vacuum it up. Hmm....

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  7. About 20 yrs. ago I had a mama cat and 3 kittens come around eating the popcorn and bread that I left out for the birds. From then on I started adopting, finding homes (especially mine), fixing and feeding and caring for ferals/strays. I now also feed possums, raccoons and anything else that comes along lol. I have one mama raccoon that sits up and asks for extras lol. Gladly we don't have bears lol.

    catslady5(at)aol.com

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  8. Isn't it crazy they way they just help themselves? Thank goodness they didn't get near your cat food...or cats!

    I figured since we had the bear-proof garbage can and the barky puppy, that it would deter the bears, apparently not.

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  9. I guess, they're migrating down by you...since we've got the bear-proof garbage can!

    The wildlife really does appreciate any vegetable garden they can snitch from...skunks and chipmunks really LOVE the cherry tomatoes :)

    I'm more paranoid about our grandbaby that I though I'd be. LOL!

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  10. LOL, Carolyn! The funnier thing is that the next evening, the guys were working on cars in our driveway and our oldest reaches around under his car to grab a tool and got a handful of toad! LOL! If only I'd had my camera for that one. :)

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  11. OMGoodness, Christine! That is one bold bear...it's usually the cubs or year old bears that get into trouble. The big ones scare the beejeezus out of me.

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  12. Joanne!!! Out in your neck of the woods aren't there brown bears...aka Grizzlies??? They're not afraid of man and like to hunt the hunter.

    Can just imagine the nose and paw prints on the all of the mirrors! Love it!

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  13. OK, Terry...big cats are beautiful, but on the scary side, IMHO. They're sooo quiet, lying in wait to jump on their dinner.

    I hope the neighbor's dog was OK, but am afraid to ask.

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  14. Hmmm...feeding possums and raccoons? I can just imagine the group sitting on your back porch, waiting for the buffet dinner :) I wish I could draw animals, that would be such a cute idea for a children's story.

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  15. Your run-ins are more impressive than mine. While working in the garden, I get the occasional zoom by from hummingbirds who visit our feeders.

    little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

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  16. Park Rangers advise people to leave their dogs at home because they attract bears!

    The German shepherd survived. He was in bad shape, but pulled through and was fine. But they never left him out like that when they went on vacation, figuring he'd be safe enough in the backyard while they were away!

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  17. Hi Lil ~ aren't those hummingbirds amazing? Sometimes if I'm not careful, I'll be right in the middle of their flight path to and from the flowers or the feeder and get buzzed, too. :)

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  18. I live in the country so lots of wild life. Right after we moved in about 6 years ago, I left for work early and walked outside and there was a coyote in my yard. Scared the crap out of me. Right after that we got a large dog, a Mastiff and have not had any problem with them coming into the yard. We have cattle so it might happen again. We have had skunks, raccons, lots of deer, and a beaver that has been living their for awhile. We also have lots of birds and some very cool hummingbirds this year. We also live next to a wooded area. We have just a little over an acre and at the end of our property is berry bushes and a huge apple tree. Food for the animals. It would be scary to see the bear.
    You are a new author for me and always looking for new authors to check out. Thanks for the giveaway.
    christinebails at yahoo dot com

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  19. A few months ago, I was jogging in my parents' neighborhood. They live off a golf course in South Texas. I saw three does and a baby deer. Those deer are big in real life!

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  20. Nice post. We have wildlife here.

    bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  21. Wow, Terry...I didn't know that about dogs attracting bears. Who knew? German Shepherd's are usually large, strong dogs, I'm glad he was OK.

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  22. Hey Chris, I know what you mean about coyotes, they are definitely not approachable and are scary because they are so unpredictable. Sounds like you have a lot of wildlife by you, too :) We used to have a beaver in the woods behind us, but somebody tore out the dam he built and we never saw him again. :(

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  23. Hey Shana - they really are! When our kids were little we went to the Catskill Game Farm in the Adirondacks and they had deer that you could walk into the pen and feed, I was really surprised how big they were.

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  24. Thanks, bn...our son-in-law lives in Rockland County, NY and they have sidewalks and streetlights...he's not a fan of all of the wildlife here, but I think he's getting used to it.

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  25. Congrats on your latest release!! Glad that the bear didn't get close to you and that adorable grandbaby of yours.

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  26. Thanks, Sara. :) Scary thought...we made sure to close the windows and even braced a chair beneath the back door knob!

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  27. I live in the city so we don't get anything too wild besides the usual squirrels, raccoons and rabbits. My old place (still in the city) was kind of isolated so we got wild turkeys up there every Fall.

    When I was a kid my family had a garden plot at a farm. One time my parents took us kids along and some of us ran off to a nearby pond. We had to climb down some rocks to get to the pond. We were throwing rocks in it when my oldest sister told us there was a snake on a rock. We looked to where she pointed and sure enough we saw a brown snake head sticking out by these rocks a few feet away from us. We took off running back to our parents and told them what we saw. They didn't believe us until my dad stopped by the pond on the way out of the farm to take a leak. We told him not to because of the snake but he thought we were lying. Sure enough the snake came out and sent him running too. I don't know what sort of snake it is, I just remember the head looks a lot like a boa constricter and it was a brown color. Needless to say our parents told us to stay away from that pond.

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  28. I share my yard with lots of wildlife! Coyotes, pheasants, frogs, bats, deer, skunks, badgers, and the occasional cougar. The one that I was really unprepared for and haven't seen another since was the 100 lb porcupine!

    yadkny@hotmail.com

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  29. Nope, I don't share a backyard with wildlife and neither have I ever had a run in with wildlife unprepared - and lets hope it stays that way lol...

    chibipooh(at)gmail(dot)com

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  30. OMGoodness, Alyn! I don't do snakes. It's too bad your dad didn't believe you. :)

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  31. Hi Winnie, hmmm...you must live in a citified area :)

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  32. Hey Yadkny...I had no idea porcupines got to be 100 lbs!!! They have seriously dangerous-looking teeth!

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  33. I just finished cleaning the kitchen, our darling grandbaby and darling birthday girl daughter left about a 1/2 hr ago after spending the day.

    Thanks to everyone who stopped by today and share their wildlife stories with me.

    And the winner is....Christine Balis. Check your inbox, Christine!

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