Where we live…

riotthill near Minden Canada

We live on 10 acres of forest, north of the little village of Minden. A web search of the name displays a number of sister towns, several in the USA and one in Germany.

At this time, birds are returning to the area. We watch purple and gold finches, evening and rose-breasted grosbeaks, flickers, blue jays at the bird feeder, as well as chickadees, nuthatches, wrens, sparrows, doves and a host of yard birds (robins, swallows, crows). Late-comers will be the dozens of hummingbirds, who should arrive sometime over the next couple of weeks. Overhead, we see herons, turkey vultures, osprey, eagles, barred owls, hawks, etc.

Last night a bear visited the bird feeder. Shining a bright flashlight in his eyes was enough to frighten him off, but we will have to bring the feeder in each night to discourage further visits.

We are surrounded by deer, moose, beavers, martins, porcupines and skunks. Occasionally we will hear, and more infrequently see wolves and foxes. Our trees are populated by red squirrels and chipmunks. From early evening, then through the night, we listen to bird song, frogs and the hoots and howls of owls and wolves respectively, then through the hot nights of summer, cricket song. The night sparkles with starlight overhead, as fire flies mark their silent flickering paths through the long grasses and red pines, like magical fairies dancing around the house. We see garter snakes, lizards, voles, mice, moles, dragon flies, bumble and honey bees, lady bugs, caterpillars, and dozens of other small creatures and insects that we are still trying to learn about.

Wild flowers — asters, daisies, Indian paint, violets, tiger lilies — with wild rose, black berry, raspberry, lilac and dogwood bushes, plus native apple trees colour our yard, blooming in shades of pinks, white, yellow, purple, blue and orange. There are so many native flowering bushes and plants that we are continuously consulting our Audubon Society Field guides to learn more. Trees include elm, maple, red and white pine, birch, cedar, northern catalpa and a host of others thrive throughout the property. The air smells sweet and spicy, with an undercurrent of rich loam as soon as we step outside or open windows.

With this wonderful movie of life playing continuously just outside our doors, we are always entertained, amused and reminded of how precious our world is, how vibrant and lush.

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