Friday, June 17, 2011

Nature Girl

The wildlife count at the Vermont house is growing. This week I spotted two new visitors in the yard: a rose-breasted grosbeak landed on the front porch railing and a wild rabbit hopped across the driveway in front of my car as I returned home from a day trip to Burlington with A and B.

The established non-human residents here include several fat chipmunks, a few grey squirrels (one with a white tipped tail), a couple red squirrels, lots of salamanders, toads, spring peepers and frogs, plus all these birds: cardinals, sparrows, chickadees, crows, juncos, titmice, robins, red-winged blackbirds, finches, woodpeckers (downy and pileated) and the usual flies, mosquitoes, ants, spiders and other crawly and flying bug types that live in dirt, water, grass, and woodsy areas but love to try to live in your home.

So far none of the wild things have created  much of a nuisance except a pack of hornets who wanted to build a nest hanging off the rear soffit and that's just not gonna happen. 

The chipmunks and cardinal are quite friendly and come close even when I'm outside. They regularly show up perched on the porch railing (separately, never together) to get a snack.

We can't really feed the birds here past April (bear hazard) so when there's no sunflower seed sprinkled out on the railing my pals peek into the living room window to see if I'm home. The cardinal turns his head side to side and chirps at the window like he's requesting service, and the chipmunk whistles and chips away until the cat jumps onto the window sill for a closer look.

I think the chubby chipmunk and his/her friend live underneath the rickety front  steps (see above, photo with the flag). They're gonna have to relocate in a couple weeks when we tear it off (before it falls off) to replace it with a full-width real front porch.

No worries - they can just move to the back steps ... until we replace those next year or the year after with a mudroom.

If all goes as planned, this is how the front of the house will look by mid-summer, with a new porch that includes a roof and a Nantucket stairway off the center front.

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