We have a dog. Although, the dog doesn’t seem to recognize he is a dog.
We have chickens. Somehow they have all managed to stay alive (except for the deportation of one aggressive rooster). No casualties there ... yet.
But apparently, our property has been designated as the location of the next generation of Noah’s Ark ... I just didn’t get the memo.
Some of our animal friends are more welcome than others. The cute and furry rabbits are the kids’ favorite, although if you didn’t know otherwise, you might think we were in the business of breeding the little varmints as we are overrun with them. These critters have cost me hundreds in supplies and fencing to protect our garden. A wolf in a sheepskin is what I call them — cute and furry is a cover for conniving vegetable thieves.
The albino skunk is also fun to watch ... from a distance, as he ambles casually across the yard. The first time we spotted him I snuck out closer to identify the furry creature, only to find myself uncomfortably close to a mildly agitated stink monger. I was probably quicker to move away than if I had been confronted by a momma black bear and her cubs.
The deer are always a joy as they feast on our buffet with their paranoid scanning of the horizon for the invisible and nonexistent predator.
But recently, we’ve identified a few helpful, but less pleasant visitors. Have you ever had a party and sent out a general invitation and that one guy shows up at the door. Everybody knows him and he is good in spirits, but he can just be a party killer? By the way, if you don’t know that guy, you probably are that guy. Well, we’ve recently had a few of those guests at the Ryerson party.
First, we have found evidence of our old friends the field mice. Now living out in the country makes this an inevitable, but unpleasant reality. In an effort to figure out their entry point, I went around the side of the house to get in the crawl space only to come face to face with strong evidence of another fascinating, but somewhat creepy house guest.
As I reached for the crawl space door, dangling directly in front of the entry point was a five-foot snake skin (bigger than any of my children). From a biological perspective, it was fascinating. It was in one piece and MASSIVE. My son loved it. From the logistical side, it was a bit disturbing. You see, part of the snake skin was outside, but the tail (that is, the direction the snake was coming from) was inside the house ... a little unnerving. Nonetheless, it seems we’ve found the solution to our mouse problem.
I haven’t even mentioned the spiders the size of a baseball that make webs that feel like they are made out of rope and the lizards basking on the sidewalk. Nonetheless, invited or not, we are having an animal party. And if the skies open up and the rains come down causing a flood of Biblical proportion, just follow the line of giraffes, zebras and lions as I am sure they’ll be making their way to our home.
We’ll make space for you on the ark ... right next to the skunk.
(Editor’s Note: Matt has a beautiful family — his wife, son, two daughters, Tucker the family dog, nine chickens and an extraordinary number of wild animals roaming the property appears on alternating Wednesdays in the Cleveland Daily Banner.)