Thursday, October 1, 2009

Wildflowers, Rain, and Happy Creatures

The baby birds are chattering and singing and loving life with all the rain and the wildflowers taking over the land. There are billions of wildflowers in Texas right now as the rolling hills celebrate this welcome rescue from months of drought. You can hear the trees sigh with relief every time the clouds roll in and fat, noisy drops of moisture fall onto the grass and soil. Last month, the soil was so dry it was starting to look ashy, as if the dirt itself had died from heat exhaustion.

The lizards are still scampering about, in spite of the slight drop in temperature. I did find a few casualties on the road near our home, but most of the baby lizards seem to have made it through the most dangerous season when their tiny, darting faces attract the quick glance of the hungry road runners. It is wonderful to watch these delicate creatures increasing in size. The lizards with the pink striped tails had babies this year and their offspring have taken over the area near my bedroom pond. I see them scooting across the rocks all afternoon. Today, there was a very large lizard sitting on a log that appeared to be watching me through my bedroom window while two babies on the opposite side of the pond raced across the mulch and up the trunk of the pecan tree.

The most wonderful thing has happened with the flock of sparrows that follow me about. They seem to have adjusted to my presence and will continue to sing and play and fight and hop up the rock wall near their food tray even as I stand nearby, watching and talking to them. I scrubbed down a metal, two-shelf tea tray and placed a water tray on the bottom rack and a large tray of seed on the top rack. It took the flock a few days to figure out that this was their new feeding area, but they love it now. It is so much easier for me to keep clean and refill with fresh food and water, which I do two, sometimes three times a day now to keep up with the demand, and these tiny birds are surprisingly demanding! They are voracious eaters. Of course, they are also still eating the grasshoppers, and I am thankful.

The mother raccoon and her two babies now stop at my bedroom patio as part of their regular nightly routine so I scatter a little cat food, bread chunks and fruit on the floor before I go to bed each night. Sometimes I will wake up and find them watching me through the window. The little male prefers the sunflower seeds and he will push his sister away so he can have all of the seeds to himself as he sits at the table and chows down. When he raises his head, he almost always has an empty sunflower shell stuck to the tip of his nose. I don't know how he manages to do this, but he does it every time. It looks pretty funny.

Last night, Niblet, my massive black cat, fell asleep by the glass door and was awakened by the sounds of the raccoons. He jumped up and made the same chatter noise he usually uses when he spots a bird. This attracted the attention of the baby raccoons and they both rushed over to the door to look at him. The little male raccoon pressed his face up against the glass so he could see better. They watched each other for awhile, then the mother raccoon started to wander off and the babies scampered off behind her. I love watching them interact with their mother. They frequently stop to nuzzle her neck with their tiny noses. I have decided these must be raccoon kisses.

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