I grew up in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia. Our home was on several acres and we grew most of our food. When my husband and I bought a home, years later, number one on the wish list was some land with trees. We were fortunate to find the perfect house on two wooded acres. Fun! We staked out space for a vegetable garden and a flower garden. I began planting the roses I’d loved since childhood. I wanted a rose garden just like my grandmother=s. Some of my happiest memories were going out with her in early morning when the dew was still on the fragrant petals, picking the most perfect buds and filling crystal vases all over the house. I couldn’t wait to pick my own roses. More fun!!
Nobody bothered to tell us a herd of twelve deer shared our wooded paradise. One morning, I discovered them happily munching on my prize roses, devouring the tender petals the way I devour my own guilty pleasure, pizza. They ignored my protestations, factitiously separating the petals from the briars. They ate till they were satisfied, then ambled on without even a thank you. I thought, “O. K., they were here first. I guess I’ll have to learn to share.” They shared too, a doe hiding her newborn fawn under the rosebush, while she ran off to forage briefly in the woods. I kept an eye on the baby until she returned, retrieving her offspring and wandering away. I like to think she sensed I was a mother too and knew her baby would be in good hands.
We also received no warning about the multitudes of acrobats disguised as squirrels, who flew from tree to tree and would in autumn, carry away every pear and apple on our trees, plus pillage the bird feeders. Unlike the doe, they gave us nothing in return for their thievery, unless you count the laughter their antics provoked every day.
There were other encounters with wildlife…there was the skunk who walked into the “have a heart” trap, set for a rabid fox, and wouldn’t budge till we lured him out with peanut butter as we cowered behind a plastic tarp; the peacock who chased me into the house every time I tried to cut the wild daisies; and the huge white turkey who became so tame, he would fly up on the hood of our car when my husband was working on it and peer into the engine as if training to be a mechanic.
Today I was sitting in my easy chair in front of the window, enjoying the warm sun streaming through when I heard a strange pecking noise. When curiosity forced me outside, I discovered
my neighbor’s free range chickens, pecking away at the Styrofoam cover on my outside faucet.
There was nothing left but the plastic fasteners. I think that falls into the “folly” category, don’t you?