Sunday, October 22, 2023

Our Retirement Home

 My late forties were filled with reading about really rural living.  At age fifty we purchased thirty-six acres that were once part of a one hundred thirty acre farm.  Bordering on the Unadilla River, some rich river bottom land kept the farm functioning for many decades.  Other land included interesting glacial deposits and some bedrock ridge.  Neither the glacial land forms nor the ridge were of much use for farming and prior to our arrival all of the good land had been sold as building lots or summer camps.  We bought what no one else wanted.  For us the land was perfect.  Only a forty foot wide section gave us access to the road.  The rest of our land opened up to a very private and peaceful location.

Early in our time here a coyote moved toward us descending the steep edge of our kame terrace.  When it became aware of our presence, it turned around and shot back up the hill.  A short time later it reappeared crawling on its belly to get a look at the new strangers.  An area of the bedrock ridge included a substantial area that was filled with huge chunks of broken ridge that served as home for the group of coyotes.  A recent purchase of that land became a camp for gun lovers.  Many weekends were filled with the noise of gunshots as these people blasted away firing toward the area the coyotes called home.  The coyotes left.

The area near our new home became the location of our gardens.  Meadow weeds were mower cut creating a large area of animal friendly food.  When we were active here the deer were occasional guests feeding and sleeping.  Age has now limited our ability to spend time in the garden.  The deer are presently frequent visitors.  Newly born fawns have been seen here.  Watching the youngsters grow is a nearly daily activity.  One super mom usually has twins.

Two days ago we returned home to find one of this year's fawns on the neighbor's ground near the road.  It was not all busted up but it was dead.  Today my lawn tractor and its trailer were used to remove the carcass.  I decided to place it in the tall weeds that border our mown field.  A group of crows had today  expanded the rear vent feeding on fresh meat.  What to do with the deer?  By placing it within sight of our home, we will watch nature take its course.  Mature bald eagles inhabit this area and we are hopeful that one might stop by for a meal.  If any coyotes still frequent this area, they would likely feed after dark but we have previously seen their work several times.  Now we wait.  This might sound weird to many but why waste a chance to see and learn.  Waste nothing. Use everything. In 2012 coyote pups were close to the house.  Surely they would be adults by now we would love to see them especially from inside the house watching through the window!

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