Wilderness Weekly

It’s a beautiful day to sit on the swing and look out at the lake, which is what I am currently doing, along with writing and hiding from a giant swarm of bees J is actively eradicating from the furnace exhaust in the side of our camper.

We’re not doing it in an ecologically friendly way, I’m afraid. We try to do our part. We keep our flowers bee friendly, we let the bees turn birdhouses into nests and we leave a lot of land wild. But there’s a certain line we keep. These bees have invaded our living space, so they have to go.

It’s not the first extraction of wild life from a camper vent, either.

The last time it was bats.

We’d come in the fall, and when we turned the furnace on we started hearing a squeaking noise. We followed the noise out back to the refrigerator exhaust vent, only to see a bunch of eyes peering back at us in the dark.

We evicted the bats the next day in the daylight, when they were asleep.

When J took the vent off, I was prepared for them to fly out in a flock, like they do in all the episodes of Scooby-Doo I’ve seen. Instead, they were laying in a pile, all snuggled up, blinking and squinting in the daylight that was now invading their sleep. They were downright cute! I took their picture they were so cute.

A couple of them woke up enough to fly out, but the other ones pretty much rolled over and went back to sleep. J used sticks, put one by a bat and it would grab on, then he would go hang it in a tree. The bats stayed like that until dusk, when they woke up for the day. Bats are heavy sleepers!

After that, all the vents got unscrewed and a rectangle of wire mesh placed inside, to keep out the bats and mice and whatever else might want to move in.

And a bat house went up in the backyard. We like things that eat mosquitos!

The wire mesh sadly did not keep the bees out, and J already was stung this morning while mowing the grass, which was how he discovered a bee colony in the vent.

We made an emergency trip to town for bee spray, but we also needed minnows and I scored a new sweatshirt so it worked out fine.

Last time we were at the lake, something happened in the night outside that resulted in a skunk spraying. We’re not sure what exactly happened, there were no dead bodies, but we suspect a skunk and the fox got into it.

We met the fox in June. First we saw him from afar, rifling through the neighbors fire pit. A red fox.

Then, a night or two later, we were sitting on the porch when I saw something move on the bird feeder. The bird feeder is a big, old, log that used to be a bench but I started using it for a bird feeder when it began to develop big grooves on the top. The bird feeding has hastened its deterioration and I often have to pluck the grass out of the cracks where it starts to grow after the birdseed gets wet.

“HON,” I whispered, “the log!”

We could see something moving but couldn’t tell what it was, so he slowly reached for his flashlight. (I was prepared to run in case of skunk)

The fox hopped right up on the log and started eating corn and birdseed. J shined the flashlight on it and it just looked at us and kept on eating.

I never in a million years thought bird food would be desirable to a fox.

The night of the Mystery Skunk Spray, I had tossed a leftover blueberry pancake by the log, so we joke that the fox and the skunk got into a fight over the pancake.

This weekend the fox, whom we’re alternating calling Frank, Francis or Fiona, made an appearance by running around our fire pit and almost right smack into J. They both startled and the fox ran away.

In other wildlife news, did you see the cranes are back? Sadly, not ALL the cranes are back. They came back when their one remaining baby could fly. Our theory is that once something got the one baby, they took the remaining baby somewhere else until it was big enough to fly and it would be safe to come back to our yard. Who knows, really, but something happened to one of their babies and then they disappeared. I was happy to see them and sad for their loss but did I mention, HAPPY TO SEE THEM!

Well, it appears J has survived the bee extraction and it’s safe to come out of hiding. That does it for this issue of Wilderness Weekly.

(Who will we meet next?)

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