Friday, June 17, 2011

Maine is certainly wild

While I have never seen a moose, the emblematic animal of Maine, there is plenty of wildlife to be seen every day here. In just two weeks I have been woken up to the gobbling of a tom turkey, strutting and fanning his tail feathers in the middle of the driveway, let the kids out of the car to chase a woodchuck, and almost stepped on giant earthworms in a copious embrace while on an early morning stroll around the fields.

Julia Ellen apparently has an inclination toward entomology; she finds a shiny green beetle wandering in the dirt, a moth flitting among the tops of the grass stems, and a lowly ant carrying a crumb equally fascinating. While doing an outdoor chore I have found the best way to keep the toddler out of trouble is to point out a small bug to her, leaving her to crouch down staring intently at its actions. 

Our first excursion to a local pond resulted in captured (and released) frogs, minnows, long black leeches, and a tiny red salamander. Even while running on back country roads I have stopped to turn a red eared slider turtle back towards the safety of the grass and jumped over a grass snake no thicker than a pencil. I didn’t touch the alligator snapping turtle possibly laying eggs in the gravel bank on the other end of our road, but watched for a while before resuming my run home.  Last summer the coyote den at the bottom of a field was abandoned, leaving us to believe that now there were humans in residence so close by, they had retreated to the safety of the deep woods, but we found out the other night that another family has moved in and is raising pups, evidenced by the sight of fresh dirt. I don’t mind most of the other animals that we share our land with, but coyotes give me terrible premonitions of them attacking the children.

The kids aren’t scared of all the critters out there, with the possible exception of coyotes and the blackflies that like to take bites out of their necks. Julia Ellen’s cooing over a fat black and yellow spotted salamander (or is it a newt?) makes me smile and grateful for the opportunity to show all the children the wonders of the world in which we live. 

1 comment:

Angie said...

You paint a beautiful picture of your surroundings. I saw Maine through your description.