Garden Critters

The nice thing about a garden is that various kinds of wildlife find it and make it their home. It’s a great thing to see when you’re smack dab in the city and my Hampton Garden was very much an oasis among acres of green lawns.

For years a family of cardinals lived in the large pine tree out back. They stayed year-round and were beautiful to watch on a snowy day. The male, of course, is the bright red one while the female blends in more with the trees. I’m sure that’s for her protection since she is constantly raising new broods. And I just love that they mate for life and both help raise the young.

This cardinal family was actually very active. On a spring or summer day I would be sitting on the front porch reading and see one or both come flying around the side of the house and land in the neighbor’s tree across the street. They would sing and flit about for a while and then fly back to their home in the big pine in my backyard. Over and over they would repeat this circuit and I enjoyed it immensely. And I’m sure some of the babes stayed on because there were always cardinals in the yard for the over 20 years I lived there.

cardinal 1cardinal 2

Another critter – a much less welcome one – was the racoon. I kept blaming my neighbor’s dog (he was always jumping the fence) for my trash being spilled until I realized something was taking the lids off the cans. My son was back home at the time so he put a flashlight by his bed. One night when he heard the trash cans being disturbed, he jumped up and shone the light out the window.

And there they were… 3 masked bandits looking for something to eat. Racoons. Three of them!

Racoons may have a charming look, however they are anything but. They have excellent night vision and superior dexterity because they have thumbs! They are also very clever and have been known to outsmart and even kill hound dogs trained to track them. Their teeth and claws can be deadly. So my son and I cleaned out a place in the garage to move the trash. No need to attract these guys to the yard at night!

racoons 1racoons 2

But one of my very favorite pages in my Garden Sketch Journal is the following page. I was in the garden sketching one day and I saw a chipmunk. Not the usual squirrels. After a quick chat I learned his name was Charles and he confided some of his secrets. I asked him if he would like to do a guest column in the sketch book. He was hesitant at first but he did think it was important that humans have a better understanding and more respect for his kind. Especially when it comes to cats. And then he really surprised me by sharing a few family photos. So if you are as intrigued as I was, click on this photo and click again to enlarge it. Then you can read what he had to say!

Charles Chipmunk

I’ll probably be staying on this garden journal subject until I get most of that book posted. And then we’ll be off to who knows where. Every day, even in a very ordinary life like mine, is somewhat of a new adventure. If I don’t leave home my mind still wanders to fun places and I enjoy recording it. I hope you enjoy it, too.

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