Living high in the Colorado mountains, I have a myriad of wild and domestic animals right outside my door, often right up on the deck. I’ve spent the summer watching birds of all kinds along with ground squirrels, chipmunks, Pine squirrels, Rock squirrels, deer, raccoons, bears, fox and Bighorn Sheep just hangin’ out like it is home. Our town is totally inside a National Forest and our land adjoins the actual woods, so we are blessed to see things many people never have or will, especially on their front deck.
Most of the summer, a beautiful long-haired black cat with amber eyes has also been hanging around and I call him Hunter for obvious reasons – he’s here to hunt. He kills and eats one of the small critters once or twice a day and I hate to see it when I happen to glance outside at the wrong time. Apparently, he has no real home and we have big decks under which he can get to stay out of the weather or hot/cold temperatures. He doesn’t panic when he sees us, but he’s also ready to run if we step outside, which he does expertly and often. This morning I was blessed by sleeping in a little later than usual and was up after the birds and squirrels had been fed, so I asked my husband if the Grim Reaper had been here yet, meaning Hunter, of course.
One day, after I’d gone out with my daughter, my husband was anxious to tell me he’d talked to a starving dog that he’d stumbled upon in our driveway near the house. As it turns out, this is a gray fox that is black except for a white tip to its beautiful, bushy tail. Now that we have snow on the mountain tops, the fox is getting a lot of white hair since they turn white to blend with the snow in winter. In this picture, it’s licking water off the deck after a rain. It also comes here to hunt, which is not something it seems to be very accomplished at. I suspect this is a female because when it checked out the bird feed pan and didn’t like it, it urinated on it using the stance of a female.
The deer seem to be rapidly turning to their dark gray winter color instead of their summer reddish coat and the velvet has come off the antlers of the bucks. All in all, it would appear we are going to have an early winter, though my daughter-in-law, born and raised here, says the early snow on the mountains indicates a beautiful, long Indian Summer. However, I have been here 36 years and have never seen so many acorns, growing in huge clumps, as are on the scrub oak trees right now. The birds and squirrels have been very busy cutting them down and also cutting young apples off the trees in our yard. Some simply sit and eat them and others seem to be storing them for what’s to come as the seasons change. Does it seem to you like summer lasted about five minutes or is it just me?