Monday, October 29, 2007

wild kingdom

Autumn has finally arrived here in The Sooner State. Night temperatures have dropped into the high thirties and during the day we're not quite reaching the seventies. I am in heaven. This is perfect weather for me, and we get it all too rarely.

At this time last year we had just settled into the old house in town. It was spacious with a big yard and a wonderful large living area upstairs with the bedrooms, complete with a little kitchenette. The house was dated but so livable that I didn't mind at all. We had two cats and two bettas, but hadn't yet gotten Jack. Life was much . . . quieter.

We got Jack last December, and we lost one of the bettas after the move. Instead of another one, we got a larger tank and got Nemo, the remaining fish, an African Dwarf Frog and a golden colored snail for tank mates. That frog is the cutest dang thing you've ever seen. I love feeding him. He pops up to the top and snatches food so quickly you miss it if you blink. It's almost like watching a cartoon frog catch a fly with his tongue.

The back yard is full of rabbits, squirrels, blue jays, cardinals, all manner of finches and a pair of red bellied woodpeckers. I love feeding the birds. Every few days we see deer walking through the field behind our yard. There are five of them, and three are small, probably born this past spring. As soon as the weather cooled, I put out suet and seed in feeders in our blackjack oak tree. The blackjack oak is native to Oklahoma and Texas in an area called Cross Timbers. It is a scruffy looking tree, especially when it's young. We have a large one in front, about 30 feet tall, and a small one in back, just about 10 feet tall, with a cedar tree next to it. The oaks can grow as high as 65 feet and live up to 400 years. Our trees are just babies.

All the wild life in the back yard gives Jack and the cats fits. Jack whines and yelps, racing from one window to another, keeping up with his latest sighting, usually a squirrel. The cats especially love watching the birds. They both make an odd little clicking or smacking noise when one of the birds gets close. It makes me laugh every time I hear them. There is a yellow cat that looks just like Streudel who wanders into our backyard every now and then. My heart always skips a beat until I find Streudel safe inside. Losing Lucy has made me paranoid.

On Sunday my husband and I were watching birds and squirrels in the back yard. I wanted him to look at a squirrel and a bluejay playing a game of chase. It was so funny to see the squirrel run for the bluejay, the bluejay take to the air, and the squirrel retreat back to the fence away from the tree. The bluejay would then swoop over the squirrel back onto the ground and they'd start all over again. They were fighting over seed that had fallen on the ground from my feeder. I was delighted. As I was watching and pointing this out, my husband started laughing. I wanted to know what was so funny. He said that he thinks it's hilarious that I am so interested in all the animals in our backyard. When I asked why, he told me it's pretty funny for a farm girl like me to be so easily amused. Hmph.

For those of you who were worried about it (or offered me alibis), I have not killed any of my children. It was touch and go there for a while, but I have managed to control myself. Just.

We have three children, two cats, one dog, one betta, one frog, one snail, and a back yard full of squirrels, rabbits, birds, and the occasional deer. No wonder my husband calls our new home Wild Kingdom.


laurie said...

that sounds like paradise to me, except for the two cats.

and your husband's observation is pretty amusing.

glad your children survived. you bring that laptop in and have it fixed! you need those paris pictures!

jason evans said...

Sounds beautiful. :)

Manic Mother Of Five said...

Sounds idllyic, though am terrified of birds so would spend all my time cowering inside!

Need some transatlantic translation - where is the Sooner State and what is a Betta????

Kim said...

Laurie, cats are pretty wonderful, too. Less demading than dogs and just as lovable. As long as you let them decide when you'll pet them.

Please don't ecourage hubby. He thinks he's funny enough as it is. And I'm working on the laptop thing. Those pictures are important!

It is pretty, Jason, in a Oklahoma kinda way.

MMOF, Oklahoma is the Sooner State. It is a nickname based on the land rush that settled the state. Apparently there were a lot of setterlers who didn't wait for the official time and date for staking a claim on their homestead. They were dubbed Sooners.

A betta is a showy Asian fighting fish. They are very aggressive and will fight each other to the death, so you have to always keep them separated if you have more than one.

That is the end of your lesson for today. ;)

the rotten correspondent said...

Your house and yard sound wonderful. Are you in the city or more out in the country? Suburbs?

I've always wondered exactly what a Blackjack Oak is. We have a new subdivision here that has streets all named after trees. I always think Blackjack Oak is a mouthful for a street address.

The alibi offer still stands. Just let me know.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

I think your husband has chosen the perfect name for your house. Deer are wonderful creature, you are so lucky to have them in your yard.

Crystal ss

Kim said...

We are about three or four miles outside the city limits. Our house backs up to a hay field, which is where we see the deer. It's not really the country but it's definitely not Edmond proper. I think it's funny you have the name of our oak trees up there. Kansas is pretty far north of the cross timbers region, I think. Thanks for the offer but I am probably not gonna kill anyone. Probably not.

You're right, Crystal, we are. We have white tail deer. I love it out here, especially since I can get to the 7-11 in five minutes flat!

Fire Byrd said...

I so love deer, you are very lucky to be able to watch them. I envy you your backyard.

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

I find it is best to threaten children with low paid manual work such as sending them up chimneys when the don't behave. Sit them down and give them a day's viewing of any old Dickens movies you can find. They will either be so depressed at their fate by the end of the movies that they will behave or be so grateful that they weren't born when the world was black and white without telly's and gameboys that they may just be mallable for a day or two. There is no need to resort to killing them as this means that you will go to gaol and suffer and that is not the object of the exercise. You must find alternative horrible things for the children to do so that it is in fact they that sufer!

Kim said...

Pixie, you can come over and see my deer anytime.

So, MOB, you suggest torture rather than death, huh? Not a bad idea.