Every once in a while, when we start thinking that this place where we live belongs to us,
we are reminded that our opinion is not universal.
Most mornings lately, four Eastern Wild Turkey gobblers have been gathering on our back patio.
They like the convenience of fresh water (or sometimes ice) in the birdbath, a chance to admire their reflections in the window glass, and the exceptional acoustics. If volume had anything to do with ownership, when they gobble, they would have the deed to the house in their feathery back pocket. The turkeys retreat a little when we pass by the windows, but seem only mildly inconvenienced by the other occupants of this place, namely us. Their forebears, after all, were here long before ours were.
Before dawn yesterday morning, Don watched a skunk saunter away from the back of the house, while a fat raccoon sat in the bird feeder, eating a bedtime snack. We've been wondering why the bird feed disappeared so fast, and now we know that it's been going to two more residents.
In the summer, a mother raccoon and her two kits would come in the evenings to eat...
...before climbing up to their nursery in a large oak tree behind the house.
In the nighttime, the place belonged to them.
Deer have always been occupants of our woods.
Of the seven we see regularly, one button buck has taken to the dog kennel, and helps himself to fallen acorns.
We see the larger bucks less frequently, but in the shelter of the darkness, they may consider this place their own, too.
Barley is the only four-legged creature with a key to the house.