OK folks, that is it, I have drawn a line and no more.  I tried to be nice, in my small devious way, but the cup got filled and it broke. I have finally had enough that I am going to take steps to correct a few things. Now, I like starting a story this way because there are so many folks wondering “Now what is he up to” If I haven’t seen you or talked to you lately, you are probably not the problem. Now, I said probably not,  so keep that in mind. I am almost surrounded with woodland and enjoy watching different critters come and go. They do not go by any rules what so ever. For 30 plus years I have fed a small herd of deer. They all have personalities that make it quite interesting. If you study them, you will find small differences so you will begin to name them. Many times during the winter, you will see a dominant one stand on her back legs and proceed to slap another not welcome at their table. I make many small piles of deer food so that while the two bullies fight, the young ones get something to eat. Every now and then, the bully will chase all but a couple favorites of hers away from the feeding area. But that is animal life, and I do not interfere. Last summer one doe brought her two babies out to eat my lawn. That’s ok, at times I do not mow and let them have at it. But the problem is they soon realized  as long as I sat in my chair looking out, they could eat their bellies full. As long as that old man stayed in the house, they knew they were safe. The young fella of this threesome got to be quite brave. He would almost eat just as soon as I spilled some feed. The problem began when I went back into the house. If all of the deer food was gone, he proceeded to do what he could to empty the bird feeders. I even moved two feeders right next to my door. That did not stop the young fella. He would watch the windows and if I moved toward the door, he was gone. I did what I could to discourage him. I even made special smaller feeding stations for the birds. He discovered he could get his nose in there and scoop the seed out with his tongue. I finally convinced the little brat to leave those feeders alone. All went well and then along comes the groundhog thinking he was a chipmunk. He was an ole eagle eye though. Any movement inside the house and he high tailed it back into the wood pile. He sure loved those sunflower seeds. ( it may be a she, but I use he less to type.) The grass is showing a little green and he is happy eating that.  Now, Mr. and Mrs. Duck are here. That is usually my first sign of spring. Every year one couple arrive and its nice to hear them hollering, announcing their return. So it is time to start with the cracked corn. I like watching the ducks. There are tiny little pushing battles to see who gets to go home with the lady. The fun starts when that lone male shows up to try and take the lady away. She just ignores both of them and gets her share of the food. When she decides to leave both of the suitors follow with high hopes of being the chosen one. There have been times when the male that came with her is not the one leaving with her. Almost like real life stuff huh?   But still this is the animal kingdom. We are now getting to the point I am getting COB. Yes quite cantankerous. Along comes two fat, and I mean fat raccoons. They have no sense of property and do what ever they please. They succeed in emptying anything that had a seed or two in it. I start by putting only small amount of seed in the feeders each morning. But they are still empty in the next morning. That is ok, the birds feed during the day and the coons clean up at night. I could live with that. Except one of the big fat racoon decide they did not like leaving. I think she is a female because of what happens next. At two o’clock one morning she climbs up the corner of the house and proceeds to tear a hole between the rafters. I have been out behind the barn a couple of times, and I knew exactly what was on her mind. She wants to be in a family way and is creating a nest. It just so happens she wants to be in my attic. To get to the attic, she has to tear a couple of boards off the house. Whereas I am a light sleeper, upon hearing the racket, I I quickly decide this needs investigating. I didn’t dress in my Sunday best because it was 2 am. If someone is watching my house at this time of day, fine. I had enough clothes on in case I had to take a ride to the hospital.  I say this, because I have known of bears being quite uppity this time of the year. But undaunted, cantankerous for sure, and a bit on the angry side, I go out to end the commotion. There she was, tucked in between two rafter tails with high hopes I didn’t see her. I may be partly blind to some things in life, but I can see a big ball of fir where it was not supposed to be. Luckily for me, I had left my limb saw right near by last fall and I convinced her to move on out of there. So, now again, I am going to need to do something different with the feeders. But spring is supposed to be here and I can just do a scatter the food on the ground. The little creatures will find the food. Now we are finally getting to the last straw dealing with nature. It is also Ladybug time. When the sun warms things up they come out in full force. Because I have a sun room with plenty of plants I tolerate them just a little. They do not follow house rules though. If they would stick to one area, all would be fine. But they do not because they can not read my rules. So I have to resort to plinking them away from specially designated areas. Specifically where I prepare my food. One morning after I had filled my coffee cup, one decided to go swimming. They didn’t ask or even give me a warning. I turned to get a snack and proceed to my computer. I sat down to take that first precious drink  and that was it.  I didn’t get to see just what it tasted like. Just as soon as those tiny little feet hit the tip of my tongue, it was patwuwee patwuee for sure. That’s it a cardinal rule has been broken. Do not mess with that first cup of coffee. In years past, I  have had flies go for a swim and the same action occurs. Spit, spit, spit, swear swear. But the morning when a cat decided to mark my cup as theirs and didn’t tell me quickly made me wonder why the coffee tasted so different. It was then I created an unbroken rule. You mess with my coffee and that is war. So, now it is time to live up to that cantankerous old man name. The vacuum cleaner has come out. You get anywhere near the kitchen area and you will disappear. It is kinda too bad that real life can’t be that easy to fix. Oh well, back into the woods I go.     Ken White mountainman  COB for sure now.

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