A pair of young gray squirrels have found the hole under the eve at the corner of my house. I had left that particular hole for the Brown bats to get in and out of the attic. I don't mind the bats living in the attic; they are silent and harmless, and they do me a great service. The two squirrels, on the other hand, have been partying ever since they found their new home. At any time of day or night, they can be heard hopping across the support trusses in the attic.
After three days and nights of listening to their rowdy antics, I realized they were planning on staying. Using the scare tactic, I would quickly pop up into the attic, holler and clap my hands, chasing them out. It didn't work very well at first, because within ten minutes the two rascals returned. So as soon as I heard them, up I'd go, after them again. It took 8 trips to the attic before the squirrels finally gave up and left. I felt a little guilty, knowing the young squirrels were only trying to find a warm place to spend their first winter. But this often happens when tenants are too noisy.
As the days and nights grow cooler, many birds and animals start to change their lifestyles. The deer mice have decided that they too would like a warm place to stay, and the house is very inviting to them.
In the distance I can hear the faint drone of a combine. For three days and nights the soybean fields to the south have been harvested. These fields are a mile away, but the sound of the combine drifts down through the valley and makes them seems much closer. When the harvest is done, Canada geese will visit the fields to pick up the beans left behind. Family groups of Sandhill cranes also take advantage of the picked bean fields. Their bugle-like calls carry down the valley and can be heard as clearly as the combine.
The swallows and chimney swifts are gathering in large numbers and soon they will travel together to warmer places in the south. This gathering of birds is known as "staging," and a single flock of swallows or swifts may contain hundreds or even thousands of birds. Not all bird species migrate this way, but there are many that do—geese and cranes, blackbirds and grackles are beginning to gather in large flocks. Tiny birds like warblers often migrate together in large numbers. Hawks, falcons and even eagles can often be seen migrating in large, whirlwind groups, called "kettles." On a fall day, when the winds are favorable and the conditions are just right, these birds of prey will gather and move south as one. So keep your eyes open— what you see today may be a clue of what is to come.
Here is my tribute to "The Meadow's Autumn Edge":
At the edge of the meadow, where the tall grass grows,
The spruce trees stand, but not in straight rows—
Where the daisies nod, their petals gone, ready to sleep till Spring's warming song—
The green boughs of Spruce and white trunks of Birch and the smart Red fox who has come to search.
The grass here hides the voles who play, but are eaten for breakfast when they run astray.
This subtle place where the woods starts to roam is the foxes' playground and the meadow voles' home.
Where the Sumac is yellow and the grass turns brown, life goes on when the fox comes around.
All art ©2013 Organic Valley