One of the things I love most about G.’s yard is the wildlife. Over the past few years, I’ve seen rabbits, deer, a hawk, raccoons, skunks and a coyote in the yard.
I saw the coyote one afternoon when I was in the house working out on the elliptical. The machine was facing the window, and I was looking out into the backyard when I saw him enter the garden. He meandered his way toward the house, and I was captivated. I had never seen a coyote that close that wasn’t in a zoo or stuffed in a museum. He was young and thin and had beautiful fur. I thought he was the most magnificent thing I’d ever seen, right up until he peed on my Swiss chard. I had planned to have that for dinner that night. I changed plans.
The coyote showed up two years ago, when we were overrun by rabbits. We had a hawk in the yard that year too. After a while, there were no more rabbits. Then the coyote and hawk went away.
I keep thinking they will come back this year because the rabbit population has rebounded. There are rabbits and baby rabbits everywhere. Today, I scared a rabbit when I started watering my flowers. It bolted out of the flower bed when the first drops of water hit and ran for the trees. About a week ago, I saw a baby rabbit in our hostas. Its ears were the size of my thumb.
For a while, I was teasing G. that I saw more deer in our backyard than he saw while hunting. I probably saw a half-dozen deer last summer and fall. But G. one-upped me a few weeks ago when he saw three young bucks in the yard. Two still had antlers covered in velvet.
Perhaps the most gratifying animals I’ve seen have been our butterflies and bees. I decided to put flowers in for them last year after my mom and I visited a butterfly farm in the Caribbean. I also went to a seminar on urban beekeeping and learned that one of the problems facing beekeepers is a lack of food for their bees. People just don’t plant flowers like they used to. So, G. and I put in a bed of lavender and a bed of other flowers, and there are bees and butterflies in them almost every morning. It makes me happy to see them and know that we are doing something, no matter how small, to preserve their species. Plus, we buy honey from a neighbor who keeps hives, so by feeding the bees, we feed ourselves.