“I love this place.
From my yard today, I could see snow on the mountains and hills above me, so beautiful it almost took my breath away. I live on the fringe of wilderness, and the wild creatures are a treasured part of my life. It is their place even more than mine.
An early sign of fall is the many tarantulas that come out and about, looking for mates. In apple season, I have watched a brown bear sitting under my apple tree, just outside of my solarium, calmly enjoying the fruit. I’ve seen many deer resting in the shade of my back yard in the summer, while alligator lizards do pushups on the sunny boulders. Skunks leave scented calling cards, and raccoons wash their food in the cat’s water dish. Tracks and scat report the presence of shy animals that we see only occasionally: bobcats, foxes, coyotes, and even cougars.
There are many birds. Some are migratory, especially small song birds that stay for a few days or weeks and move on. The Kaweah River is named after the Indian word for raven, and those intelligent birds are seen all around the area. Hawks scream above, and eagles can sometimes be seen soaring over the lake. Blue herons and white egrets collect in the wetlands. Flocks of wild turkeys frequent certain neighborhoods, and everywhere local quail herd their many broods of chicks. The haunting calls of owls mark the night. Raucous scrub jays squabble for food and territory.
As winter approaches, woodpeckers beat their brains out hammering acorns into oak trees. One creative couple has taken over a nearby metal power pole, dropping their acorns into a hole near the top, causing pinging sounds as the acorns travel downward. It they keep it up enough years, perhaps the pole will sprout an oak tree?”