Posts Tagged ‘Animals’

Bananas for Safari Park MonkeysIn the checkout line at the supermarket there was a fellow ahead of me who was buying a big pile of bananas.  The strange thing is I noticed the bananas before I did the guy. (Is this just another sign of aging?)

Anyway, I was thinking, “He must love bananas.

  • Maybe he has a big family.
  • Maybe he is a camp counselor buying snacks for the kiddies.
  • Maybe he wants to make banana bread?”

I was still lost in imagining what he would possibly do with all those bananas when he turned back toward me and smiled.

Safari Park Guy

Cute Safari Park Guy

And there was an emblem on his shirt that said, “Safari Park.”

Aha!  Mystery solved.  This was a representative of the Virginia Safari Park, a magical place near me and just a few miles north of Virginia’s Natural Bridge.  Safari Park is where my  grandgirls (all grown up now) still demand to go every time they visit.

“Are the bananas for the monkeys?” I boldly asked the Safari Park man.

“Yes, and the giraffes love them too.”

“Do you mind if I take a picture of all those bananas?  Oh, and a picture of you too? I want to write a blog post about the park.”

“Of course, he said, “And thank you.”

If you are interested in going to the Virginia Safari Park, my young friend told me they will be open until Thanksgiving.

Virginia Safari Park is a 180-acre drive-thru adventure featuring 1,000 free roaming animals. Drive along 3 miles of road in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley.  With the Blue Ridge Mountains as your backdrop, animals of all sizes, shapes and colors approach your vehicle in search of a tasty bucket of feed. Their website is http://www.virginiasafaripark.com .

Safari Park 07

My youngest grandgirl, Mackenzie, all grown up now but still loves the Virginia Safari Park.


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o-NEIGHBOURHOOD-WATCH-SIGNS-TORONTO-570There were two hummingbird feeders on our deck this week.   Now there is one.

A Dine Until Dark Curfew has been imposed on the little hummers and the one remaining feeder is taken inside when the sun goes down.

What happened?

A mystery intruder  visited and vandalized our peaceful Virginia home.

If you are interested in solving mysteries, here are the clues:

  1. A favorite old hummingbird feeder  was lying in three pieces on our deck,
  2. amid a wide swath of sticky sugar water, 
  3. replete with large animal footprints, and
  4. unidentified animal scat on the deck stairs.

“What critter (or person) could it be?”we wondered.

Bill thought it was a raccoon.  I thought a bear. Can you tell by these observations the differences in our personalities and outlooks on life?

I Googled SCAT and found some that looked like ours (NO, NOT HUMAN).  Oddly, there are actual animal “poop charts” so you can compare and identify droppings!  Somehow I find this offensive to my sensitive senses.


Bear Scat

Anyway, that was as far as I got researching when an email came in from our immediate next door neighbors warning they had seen a mama bear and her two cubs in their back yard!

bear watch

Mystery SOLVED!  IT WAS DEFINITELY A BEAR!!!  AND A VIRGINIA BLACK BEAR WITH TWIN CUBS!!!  Well, what did I expect when we chose to live in the country – civilization?

Then a second email came  and a third.  The word is out and we have a NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH with friends sending email alerts!

  • “We saw a mama bear and two cubs in our back yard this morning.  If you think this is information that should be shared with the neighbors, would you pass it on?”  
  • “Yep! We had some work being done at our house a few weeks ago and they videoed two cubs and the mom on our property.”
  • “Also I saw them crossing the hunt road, heading up the hill into the woods between the pond and the riding ring, just like last summer. My mare has indicated their closeness to our place too. I have not viewed them there personally yet (but, she doesn’t fib).”
It is certainly comforting to know there is a Three Bears Neighborhood Watch, but having the trio on my deck borders on disconcerting!
I have a plan though.,
The trick is stay close to the front door, or the back door, or the car door.
Or if the bear gets inside – to barricade in the bathroom with my cell phone!
So much for summer walks in the woods.


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Free Donkey-Desktop-Wallpaper Image

Living in a rural part of the Commonwealth of Virginia means I am bound to meet unexpected creatures.  The last few weeks have featured a donkey and a Mama Bear and her twin cubs.


Country Living Tip:  Even a donkey has to learn to love himself.

My neighbors have a cattle company.  Sometimes we see big herds of cows roaming their pastures and sometimes not.

But there is a comical looking donkey who is almost always in evidence and is always totally alone in a big empty pasture.  He paces up and down a long fence line hoping to join a herd of cows or a few cows, or even just one cow.

He seems desperately lonely.

When there happen to be cows in the pasture adjoining his, you can sense his happiness.   If the cows lie down near his fence, he will lie down on his side too and he spends time “talking” to newcomers through the fence until they tire of him and go off to chew grass.

I want to stop and tell him it is o.k. to be alone and that he can learn to love himself and enjoy his own company.

I have even stopped to visit but he is elusive – too busy concentrating  and wearing out a path along the fence line.  Maybe he there to guard the herd.  Or maybe he is too aggressive with the “girls” to share the same pasture but I wish he had some friends.

More on Guard Donkeys From Agri-Facts:  Many donkeys dislike and are aggressive towards dogs, coyotes and foxes and provide indirect protection for domestic animals. Donkeys have exceptional hearing, keen noses and excellent vision. They use these senses to detect intruders and bray, bare their teeth, chase, and attempt to kick and bite dogs and coyotes. Some donkeys will also chase deer, bears, strange livestock, humans and other intruders in a similar fashion.  



Country Living Tip:  Keep aromatic refuse under cover and  inside your house!

The Three Bears Story Illustration by Arthur Rackham Wikipedia

The Three Bears Story
Illustration by Arthur Rackham

The mother bear and her twin cubs who delighted us with their presence last week, have not visibly returned.  But we noticed they broke down part of our pasture fence.  I was surprised that bears can climb through a board fence just like humans do, but they evidently feel no pain as they encounter obstacles.

I hope Mama and her cubs don’t plan to check out the interior of our house though!  If they do, Plan #1 is to barricade myself in the bathroom with the cell phone permanently set to dial 911.  Can anyone help with ideas for Plan #2?

A True Local Bear Story and more advice:  “If you think you have seen a bear, you have.”

Friends of ours had fish for dinner one night and made the mistake of leaving the remains outside in the garbage.  A passing bear thought he smelled something nourishing.  He tipped over the garbage can and hit the jackpot.

“Surely there is more  fish where that came from!” he thought.

And our friends were stranded inside all night, with the bear banging on walls and trying to break in. Talk about sleep deprivation!

Daylight brought the animal control people out to their house to set up a bear sized “Have a Heart” trap with a whole canned ham for bait.  But the bear had given up and left, so he missed all that yummy ham.

Maybe it was his wife and kids who passed by our place though.  They reminded me of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

From Wikipedia:  The Story of the Three Bears is one of the most popular fairy tales in the English language that was first recorded in narrative form by British author and poet Robert Southey and first published in a volume of his writings in 1827.


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Come Closer - Please!

Come Closer – Please!

Weekly Photo Challenge:  One

Every good photograph needs a focal point.  It is the thing that draws the viewer’s eye and tells the story. 

This week, in a post created specifically for this challenge, show us ONE.

Rosa the Beautiful

Every time I pass by the neighbor’s house, I wave at Rosa.  Sometimes I even stop to roll down the window and say, “Hi” and chat a while.

Rosa is a horse.

She always looks me straight in the eyes and practically begs for company. 

There she is – one lone horse watching the road, waiting.  I can’t resist!

Most times I slow down and wave but sometimes I stop to chat and she listens very carefully.  She always looks me right in the eyes.  We have hardly met up close but there is this strange, unexplainable one to one connection between me and that horse.  It’s as if we have known each other before.

People might say I’m daft to be stopping the car to talk to a horse. 

But there’s this one to one thing going on that always makes me feel happier either coming or going.

I think she waits for me and the visit makes Rosa feel happier too.


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I am awed by the unexpected connections sometimes formed between human beings and the creatures of the wild.

This came to me in an email and it cries out for sharing.  Obviously the warden was not only brave but compassionate.  The creature knew it, and a temporary bond was formed, based on trust.

The Gutsy Game Warden

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My Dear Family,

I took this picture of Rozie on Thanksgiving Day.  Isn’t she beautiful?  As you know, she is probably very old  – maybe 13 or 14 years by all our guesses.  But sometimes, when she has her ears up, she looks young again (wish that worked for me).  I often wonder what she was like  as a puppy though.  As you know, she was  a rescue dog – rescued by our beloved Judi, so Rozie’s  history’s a mystery.

The Games Dogs Play

When Rozie first came to us four years ago, she was still pretty rambunctious (me too).   She was fast on her feet (me too) and would disappear down steep hills (not me) into the woods.  The thought of losing her would leave me panicked and calling her name over and over until I gave up, ready to cry, too hoarse to continue yelling and well –  distraught.

What if she can’t get back up the hill?

What if she broke her leg?

What if she is lost?

What if she ran into a bear?

What if  I can’t get down there to her?

But, as soon as I stopped hollering, the rascal would nonchalantly stroll into view.  I think she was deliberately playing Hide and Seek!

Nowadays she knows her limitations.  She seems to understand that an uphill climb would be problematical since her legs are weak.  We are a well matched pair! But sometimes I know she is wistfully contemplating another escape just for the fun of it.

Peculiar Habits

Bill calls her “Rose” and I had to laugh last week when he asked her, “Are you ready to get your nails done for Thanksgiving Rose?”  He was taking her for a doggie manicure.  When her nails get too long she bites them.  I never met a dog who did that.

I never met a dog like this one anyway.   She is a creature of rather peculiar habits:

  • Her teeth chatter (loudly) when she is frightened.  Ever hear a dog’s teeth chatter?  Very strange.
  • She also has the ability to whisper-bark.   That means she can bark at  low decibel levels so as not to awaken us in the middle of the night.
  • And she pants for attention.
  • Oh, and by the way, the anti-depressants are working and she hasn’t tried to jump off the deck lately.  We are watching her carefully for wild mood swings or erratic behavior.

I did want to tell you she may be losing her hearing, and that’s a blessing.  Thunderstorms and gunshots were once terrifying events, but she is either finally ignoring them or does not hear them anymore.  It was hunting season in our part of Virginia on Thanksgiving Day and  there were multiple shots.  Rozie was oblivious.  What a relief that must be for her.  And what a relief for us not to deal with teeth chattering panic attacks (hers, not ours).

All in all, I’m delighted to report that Rozie is healthy, happy, and well loved.

And by the way, we are too.

Love and hugs from us and Rozie to you.

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