Go to 2006 Tour
Go to 2007 Tour


PART 1: Our Move and Where We Landed
PART 2: The Creative Place
PART 3: The Amazing Big White House
PART 4: Birds and Critters
PART 5: Fog
PART 6: Plants
PART 7: Earth Wind and Fire
PART 8: The Galexis Business
PART 9: Travel
PART 10: Autumn Adventure with Patricia Bragg
PART 11: Health Changes
PART 12: LA, the Future?

Part Four; Birds and Critters

     The bird feeder just outside our dining-area window gives us entertainment all day long. It’s tempting to just stay at the table and watch for hours on end. Depending on season and migration schedule, the chattering finches, towhees, sparrows, jays, pigeons, and other birds come off and on all day long. They sit in the nearby oak tree or peek out of the bushes before they fly to the feeder. When the canyon thermals are just right, red-tailed hawks hover above us and scan the wild areas below the house, looking for mice, rabbits, squirrels, and other small critters. Ravens hang on the thermals too, but sometimes they play tag with the hawks. We’ve found they will gang up on a hawk and take over the meal just caught!

     Squirrels overran the bird feeder, so we installed a squirrel feeder box nearby with peanuts. By landing on a shelf, the lid over the peanuts pops up, making them easy to reach. For months we watched, and none of the squirrels figured out how to work it. But an enterprising scrub jay did. By diving onto the shelf, it exerted enough pressure to lift the lid and access the peanuts. The jay, holding a peanut proudly in its bill, always flew away to eat it elsewhere. Other jays watched, but didn’t figure the system out. It is soooo funny to watch them try to get the lid open, failing, looking confused, and pecking vainly at the peanuts visible behind the glass! We laugh and laugh over this. Finally, a squirrel figured out the system, and will simply stand there with the lid open and feast. More jays and squirrels have now cracked the code, and I have to replenish the peanuts frequently now.

     Most people here have big dogs. There’s plenty of space for them, but they certainly aren’t needed to protect the houses. I have yet to hear of any crime on this rural route. People have horses and chickens nearby, and when the wind is right, we can hear the roosters crowing or smell the horses. Small pets must stay indoors so they aren’t caught and eaten by the coyotes. We hear the coyotes yip and scream-howl most nights. It’s a haunting sound and sometimes gets the dogs barking. We can imagine the dogs being jealous of the coyote’s freedom, although my spin on this is definitely human!

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