• Jo Anne Willemsen

Wildlife Adventures

A favorite part of my day-to-day enjoyment comes from living in the country. It contributes to my art and my attitude about life in general. Oh, I've spent time in big cities... I love Chicago, enjoy visiting New York City and truly enjoy traveling the world from time to time. Since traveling anywhere right now has become difficult with the pandemic, I've become even more of a recluse than I usually am.

Now that I'm home more, I keep finding things that need fixing and updating, believe me the list is long!

Sometimes however, things just happen in the country. Memories of a small Buffalo herd camping out in our 40 acres for a few days comes to mind, their wild visit coincided with the unloading of my woodfire kiln. There were potters, pottery, men driving here and there in pickup trucks and four-wheel drive runabouts, even a payloader. Oh yeah, also the vet and the tranquilizer gun. It was an exciting time out here at Old Oaks. Not a single piece of pottery that we unloaded while the Buffalo were roaming the property was broken, although there were a few anxious moments when we woke up one of those mornings to the visual of all our arborvitae next to the driveway having been uprooted by the Bull Buffalo! Something about mating season...

But enough of that! What I'm really here to tell you about is our squirrel moment. Those little critters are a lot scarier than buffalos when they're in your house! They are so determined! And do you know they will look you directly in the eye from one side of their head without blinking and show absolutely no fear!

Those squirrels figured out how to ride an evergreen tree branch like an elevator to get down to just the perfect spot on the side of our house to make a brand new entrance into our guestroom. Oh, and you're wondering how in the heck do I know the squirrels used a branch like an elevator? I'll tell you; I noticed our two cats sitting in the doorway of that guestroom watching something out the window... as I looked in the same direction, down floated a big fluffy branch with a big fluffy squirrel sitting on it, right outside one of our second story windows! At first, I thought it was kind of cute, until I realized our house was under attack!

Those squirrels must have spent hours making the hole that opened up underneath a hanging piece of art on the wall in the guestroom. I noticed a small pile of leaves on the floor below the wall art and when I lifted the edge of the art piece to see what the heck was going on, there was a big furry face with a black beady eye staring right back at me!

Living in the country means you don't ignore things like floating squirrels, no matter how graceful, especially when you've had a face-to-face moment with one of those floating squirrels inside your house! The rest of the morning was filled with activity aimed at evicting the squirrel gang and checking the entire outside of the house for any squirrel deconstruction projects after fixing the area that had been under attack.

I still do a wall check every morning. And spend a little time walking around the outside of our house. Just to keep the squirrels honest.

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