Thursday, April 29, 2010

Neighborhood pets

When Erik told me he wanted to move to the mountains of Colorado all these images of living in the mountains went through my mind, and I didn’t like the idea. After coming out here to find a house all those images faded and I fell in love. Not only were the views amazing, the people kind, but I didn’t have to drive an hour for milk and I actually had neighbors, nice neighbors. I wasn’t all alone like I was picturing, but just the opposite, I felt instantly at home.

After moving in I soon began to realize that I wasn’t in Kansas anymore!!

When I called up “Mountain Waste” to set up our garbage service the kind lady on the other end gave me the run down on what I needed to do. She told me that I needed to put my garbage out the morning of, because once the bears find your garbage they don’t easily leave. “The bears?” Talking to our neighbors further about this issue, yes we have bears!!! The parks here do not have garbage cans, why? “The bears!!” Don’t leave food outside or, in our neighbors case, in your shed from a left over camping trip, why? “The bears!!” Okay so I can handle Yogi, just don’t leave my picnic basket outside, got it!!

“Hello, Mr. Ranger, sir!”

We were unpacking boxes, getting settled in and then one fine day I had a nature encounter, this time face to face. I walked to the top of our driveway to bring down our garbage can and a few feet from me was this massive animal with these eyes, starring me down. Okay so the deer was kind of cute but literally in that moment I froze and didn’t know what to do. I started to yell, “Mom, come here” she couldn’t hear me. So I just began to converse with this deer in hopes of making friends. “Hi, deer, I am just getting my garbage can, are you enjoying your day?” I don’t know what I thought it would do to me, but just being that close to a big animal is a bit intimidating. Come to find out the deer are already our friends and most of the neighborhood feeds them. They are our backyard pets, my kids found out they like popcorn. I have since come to love the deer and most evenings we see them in our backyard, the other night we counted 22
of them!!!

Out in our front yard!!! Wish I had a picture of the whole herd to post, I will work on that!!

It was a gorgeous day yesterday so we decided to walk to the bus stop to pick up Abby. When we got to the bottom of our hill, I noticed some neighbors hunched down over the ground, not sure what was up!?! They soon said hi and began to tell me about the mountain Lion that lives in our neighborhood and they were looking at the tracks it had left behind.

“Mountain Lions, what?” They said about a week ago they heard it screaming, probably on the hunt, they like deer, see the paragraph above!!! They said that they wanted to make sure I knew because they see me running. That was nice of them!!! I started to talk to them about how I like to run on this dirt road closer to Bailey, but that one day when I was running I became concerned. On about mile 3 the road becomes isolated, no houses, no one could hear me if I screamed. I became a little anxious when thinking about this and it caused me to pick up the pace and turn off my ipod. I started to think what the heck would I do if I came across a Bear or a Mountain Lion, I really had no idea. My kind neighbors suggested I run with mace. Well that is sweet and all and I guess as a last resort, but you better believe that if I was close enough to a bear or a mountain lion to squirt mace in their face I would of already passed out. I really don’t think for me mace will work. I know that if I ever saw any kind of wild beast I would be running so fast I might actually start flying!!! I even get scared when I see a stray dog for goodness sake!!!!

"Nice Kitty"

So here are some facts I found on mountain lions:

This powerful predator roams the Americas, where it is also known as a puma, cougar, and catamount. This big cat of many names is also found in many habitats, from Florida swamps to Canadian forests. (They forgot to mention the mountains of Bailey Colorado)

Mountain lions like to prey on deer, though they also eat smaller animals such as coyotes, porcupines, and raccoons. They usually hunt at night or during the gloaming hours of dawn and dusk. So I guess running at dusk is out!!!! These cats employ a blend of stealth and power, stalking their prey until an opportunity arrives to pounce, then going for the back of the neck with a fatal bite. They will hide large carcasses and feed on them for several days. Nice !

I am new to this wildlife thing but for the most part it’s really cool. My mountain friends were laughing at me the other day because I was going off about how I had seen these amazing animals. They looked like a deer but the size of a moose or more like a giraffe. I was in Erik’s jeep and they towered over me. There were five of them and had stopped traffic on the highway to cross. One of the most amazing things I have seen that close to my car, outside of a cage. They quickly responded with “Linsey have you never seen an elk before?” I guess not!!!!

"Wouldn't want to converse with this guy and try to make friends, you can have the road Mr. Elk, sir"

A friend said the other day at bible study, “we just send our kids out to play with a bell, and we tell them if you see any wildlife just ring the bell!” I love it!!!!! Even though it was kind of a joke it’s not a bad idea!!!

I love living in the mountains, it really does fit us well. Yes the wildlife thing will take some getting used to but don’t let this post scare you; we want you to come visit!!! Who needs a zoo pass just come to my house!!!!

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