Today has been one of those days we just knew something unusual was going on in the realm of nature surrounding us.  There is an entire world of animals and birds living just outside our fence.  We are aware of most of them and enjoy seeing the deer grazing in the meadow and occasionally a moose or raccoon or porcupine passes through… We don’t bother them, and they (for the most part… darn those turkeys and skunks!) don’t bother us and we pretty much co-exist in harmony… (except when the deer start eating my garden in the fall — I do get mad about that!) But some days, like today, we can just sense that something out-of-the-ordinary is going on.  There is a quietness in the woods and the horses are all jittery and on edge.  The dogs bark unusually often and stay constantly on alert.   These are the days I worry about Jo.  Our neighbor just told us yesterday that another cougar (mountain lion) was spotted crossing the road onto our property down at the bottom of the field.  I get nervous because they say that for every lion you see, there are at least ten others times it saw you without your knowledge!  Plus, the beautiful meadow behind our place that is green much of the year, now looks like this:

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Perfect for a lion to hide in… So, I was on alert, too, this morning and kept a wary eye on Jo as we worked outside.  When Peter came home for lunch, I decided to take the binoculars out to see if I could figure out what exactly was going on, and low and behold, it turned out to be our “friendly neighbohood” bear up in the same tree as the last story I posted (she must like that particular tree!) I grabbed the camera again, hoping to get better pics this time, and Peter came out toward the tree with me.  She started to climb down again, but then just stopped near the ground, looking at us:

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Then she dropped to the ground in the thick brush so we couldn’t really see her any more. All of a sudden, Peter said, “look!  she’s got cubs!”  And, sure enough, up in the tree were two of the cutest little cubs ever!!  They looked just like teddy bears peering out from behind the trunk.  Peter wanted to get closer, but I told him he was out of his mind.  After all, messing with a mama bear is on my top ten “do not do under any circumstances” list!   We could hear her making low growling noises talking to them.  So I snapped a couple pictures from where we stood and then we went back to the house…  They climbed down shortly after and disappeared too.   But, oh my goodness, they were so adorable!!   I keep looking out the back windows hoping to see them again, but I’m sure she decided to move them away from the crazy people with the camera! 

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(I wish I had a better telephoto lens for my camera (*sigh*) —  You can’t see them very well in this picture.  (The second cub is sitting farther up in the tree above the branches.)

So, at least I now know what was causing all the commotion this morning.  And it wasn’t a mountain lion.  Still, I’ll be relieved to hear when the lion has been caught or has moved on.  We always try to be extra careful when we know there’s a cougar around. 

We really do love our woods, though…  scary wildlife and all.  A friend and I went for a walk out back into the forest the other day (before the cougar warning!) because I wanted to show her the building site we’ve scoped out for the larger house we’d like to build someday when this one gets too small for all our kids! 🙂  Its such a pretty spot right on a natural ridge:

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We hiked around a while,  just exploring.  Jo loved it.  I loved it, too.  Its so good to take time to just enjoy life spontaneously like this. 

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That is our adventurous cat with Jo.  We always laugh at Mercy because she is more like a dog than a cat and is always bound and determined to follow us on walks, even though she ends up so hot and tired.  (We usually end up having to carry her home!

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Ah, good times … right out the back door!  Thanks, Dot… we’ll do it again the next time you stay with us!

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