The other night, about 11 p.m., we were lying in bed when we heard a loud ka-bang on the metal bulkhead door that leads to our basement.
The hatchway door is right outside the bedroom wall (the a/c unit is too -- do builders think about these things when they install equipment that could be placed anywhere?)
We sprang out of bed, flipped on the outside light, and what to our wondering eyes did appear but a startled deer fleeing around the corner of the house. It had been doing something nefarious right outside our bedroom while we slept just feet away. Then it was spooked, probably jumped sideways, and its hooves clattered on the hollow metal and scared all of us.
Earlier in the week, in the daytime, we saw a buck with a headful of antlers standing very alertly in the yard. Then we saw a doe a few feet away in the meadow. For about twenty minutes we watched as she moved a little, and he followed.
She wandered left and then he did, right behind her. She moved up the slope and stopped, and he moved up the hill and stopped too. She ambled off toward the neighbors and the buck ambled right along after her. She kept moving away, then stopping to make sure he was following.
The bobcat has been around too, hunting in our yard. These photos are grainy because Jim took them through the window, from inside, but the bobcat was just twenty-five feet away from the house, at the edge of our small lawn.
There was some stalking going on, and crouching and pounce-readiness, but whatever caught his interest escaped and after a while he slowly moved on. Actually, we don't know if it's a he or a she.
The other wildlife that uses my yard has not been seen, but they leave calling cards. The coyote has not been sighted recently but it has been leaving piles of scat on the curved footbridge over my dry creek bed. Always a pile on the bridge .... use the weedy meadow, dang it, and don't make me clean the bridge off.
The black bear has been around but I have not seen it, and I hope it's hibernating now. In summer the bear left a humongous pile of droppings smack in the middle of the lawn. It was clearly a bear's work, full of seeds and berries and of a size you cannot imagine. I had to get the snow shovel out to clean up.
I like to see the wildlife around us, but not so much when they come into the lawn or up to the house. And when they clomp on the metal basement door, making godawful banging and clattering noises in the middle of the night, that's clearly too close.