Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Wild Critters Around Peaceful Forest Homestead

Tawny, Georgie Girl and Dark Shadow snoozing in the sun!


Living out in the state forest we are surrounded by huge trees, scrub land and much new growth, as they are constantly logging different areas of the forest. As I have said before on here, when we first moved here the forest came right up to the house. Now after the years of being here, my husband has pushed those boundaries back. We have lots of garden area, lawn, paddock for the horses and their barn. 

The one thing I am asked a lot is what about wild animals out here? Aren't you scared of them? Well, the honest truth is the only wild animals that seem to be on our property are those three girls above, in that picture! They seem to keep even deer out of our garden and yard. All the gardens I pass when going anywhere, have fences all around their gardens as protection from wild critters. Most especially, the deer, as NY has an abundance of deer. I live right in the middle of the forest and do not have even the littlest fence for protection. I don't need it! They never come in our garden or yard area. We know they are in the woods around our property. And in the woods directly behind our paddock and yard. But they do not venture out any further.

Nikita in my raised herb bed!

I used to think it was due to our dog, Nikita. She patrols the property on a  regular basis. But now at twelve, she has slowed down and doesn't go quite as far as she used to. Gone are the days of her hearing a noise in the night and waking us up to let her out to check it out. She is much more cautious now that she has some health problems. And one being she can't walk as well as she used to.........or run. She used to be able to outrun even the race horses at the barn my husband worked at training horses. They would run around the arena there and she would go right in with them and she loved it! No more.

We have seen signs of bear, and we hear the coyotes at night when they run along the creek. Never have we seen either on our property though. One time someone knocked over our composter and we suspected it could be a bear, but never knew for sure since it was Halloween time too. So it could have been a prank. It is known that we have a variety of wild cats, such as mountain lions, bobcats and some say cougar around NY state forests. I can't say for sure on that. I just hope I don't see them around my homestead!

These girls are not the afraid of much!

Our horses are pretty active girls, at ages 15 and 14. They run and jump and roll often. Especially if anyone, man or creatures, come up the road, or especially onto our property, that they don't know. They will run, and believe me if you are sleeping, and you hear the hoof beats of three horses, it will wake you up immediately! Especially my husband, as he is a very light sleeper. So any critters that comes to our house will probably be scared off.

Horses can kill a coyote with no problem. Especially if they are big and healthy and not afraid, as mine are. Our neighbor recently had his horse kill his own puppy. It was horrible, the puppy was barking at the horse and growling, the horse turned around and kicked him. Broke his back. I don't know why dogs seem to do that. We have had dogs come here before and they did that. We had to tell the owners get them away from the horses or they WILL kill the dogs. Our dog knew horses since she was a baby so she never had a problem with them.


The one time my husband did run into a bear, he really did run into it......literally, he hit it with the car driving out of a small town down the road a few years back. It just came up out of the ditch and it happened so fast he couldn't even hit the brake in time. He felt bad as he heard the bear crying and whimpering in the ditch. But we have never seen evidence of one in our yard or garden. Not even racoons or smaller critters. One time we did have an opossum try to chew a hole in the floor of our kitchen to try to get in and get my pet red hen, Lil' Red. Owls, hawks, falcons, eagles, etc. seem to be plentiful around here too. That is one reason I make sure my cats are inside the house before dark. They can't go out in the morning until it is light. I have seen owls in daylight before, but not right here on our property.

There used to be some kind of critter that would make a laughing sound, that would come in the middle of the night. My husband would go out after him, mainly I think, he wanted to know what it was. By the time he'd get outside you could hear him much farther off making that same weird sound. So we never did learn what or who he was. Erie sounding........... I feel if you walk in the forest the best thing is to talk and make noise to let all critters know you are there. I think the bears who live around us, just stay away. They are not like the bears who live in the towns and around houses who get into garbage and bird feeders. Basically all our neighbors are either farmers or hunting camps and don't have much for the bears to get into.

I feel we are pretty safe out here. Lots of hunters come during hunting season, but I don't see them getting too many deer or anything else. I like it best when hunting season is over, winter sets in and it is so very quiet that you only hear the snowflakes falling..........then it is my Peaceful Forest!

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole

All Photographs Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole unless otherwise stated.






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