There are a lot of things I like about Missouri, having lived here for almost three years. It’s a pretty state. I live in the foothills of the Ozarks; I like rolling land, I like rock, I like hardwood forests and rivers. Many of the things I loved about Kentucky are present in Missouri.
Bluebirds have babies in the gourd out front. When I went out with Bambi the other morning, I heard lots of noise. Buddy was in the tree, right above the gourd, and the parent bluebirds were not happy. He came when I called him, and everybody settled down.
I learned that Mr. Nobody refers to me, in his head, as Dr. Doolittle. He went to remove a leaf from the driveway and found it was a bat. So he came to get me. I grabbed the camera, took some pictures, and eventually, the red bat flew away under its own power. Red bats don’t hibernate in caves, like others do, I learned later. I know nothing about bats, other than they freak me out a little, and they are beneficial to the earth. I have no idea why this one was taking a nap on the driveway.It makes me smile, though, to be thought of as Dr. Doolittle. If I could have a superpower, it would be to be able to experience life through other species bodies. I spend some time thinking about what it must be like to be any number of creatures I see around the property.
Frequently, I get surprised by toads and frogs. I was doing some spring cleaning and this guy jumped out.
Not very big, almost iridescent. Lovely creature.
Another nice surprise has been the number of butterfly visitors we’ve had. Monarchs are very early this year, almost beating the emergence of the milkweed they depend upon to lay their eggs. This is the only plant their caterpillars will eat.
The little white dots on the leaves are eggs.
These are very young caterpillars. It makes me so happy to see them.
Milkweed is emerging in other spots around the property, and I’ve added some. I’ve seen a variety of butterflies….some in the swallowtail family, some red admirals, and some very small butterflies that I can’t yet identify. They do tend to move quickly!
Hearing the wood thrush in the woods. I’ve never seen one, but their sound is one of my favorites. I’m also hopeful that a pileated woodie has taken up residence nearby. Been hearing and seeing one recently. Turkeys are around as well (and I hope they take cover on the property during hunting season). Hummingbirds are back.
Then you have the disturbing encounters. Once again, I was outside with Bambi, this time in the back, where I’ve been converting lawn into habitat for critters. Well, I’m getting what I wanted. I could hear the leaves moving, then I saw the leaves moving, then I saw this.
The toad was a goner. The western ribbon snake had a meal. I watched some of it. It took less time than when I watched an alligator eat a bird the size of a duck.
I like toads and frogs, so this bothered me some. Had it been a rodent of some kind, I probably would have had a different reaction. Still, as much as I don’t like snakes (or bats), they play a role on earth.
There are lots of things I don’t like about Missouri.
Today, for instance. Buddy lives outside (he has the barn at night, with water, food, and heat lamps for cold). I put bug repellent on him religiously, once a month. But I still find ticks on him. They seem to really like his neck and his anus. I can tweeze the neck ticks by myself, no problem. When they are on his butt, though, that requires the help of Mr. Nobody.
Mr. Nobody is the material handler in our marriage. He lugs, hauls, packs. Today, he put on long pants, long sleeves, and gloves and held Buddy while I tweezed three big ticks off the Budderbutt. I hate to lose any karmic points, but I admit, I love to light those boogers up!
And, it might be time to admit that Missouri isn’t the most welcoming place I’ve ever lived. I only have Michigan, Florida, and Kentucky (kind of) to compare it to, as in, I’ve spent some concentrated time in those places. Missouri would be at the bottom of the list in the people category. People here are not particularly warm and welcoming. They tend not to do what they say they are going to do (my measure for trustworthiness). It’s a pretty backward state politically, and it’s therefore a poor one. Politicians here are openly corrupt. My “representative” in Congress, Jason Smith, owned, with his mother, a puppy mill (his mother still owns it). Missouri is a huge puppy mill state, and Jason made sure it would stay that way when he lead the fight to repeal Proposition B, as a member of the Missouri State Legislature. Prop B would have imposed some regulations upon breeders. Not onerous ones, really. People who love animals, those that breed responsibly, are already exceeding what Prop B required. No, having clean cages, allowing dogs to have time outside of those cages, and so forth, was too much. No conflict of interest there.
People who rail most against regulations are generally the ones who need it most. Greedy, amoral, cowardly, disgusting people. And why is it that they are all “christians”? Oh yeah, that whole dominion thing….the biblical equivalent to might makes right. God said, you own the earth, go forth and fuck it up. Lotta that thinking ’round these parts.
As someone living with a dog that was used as a breeder, I can only look at puppy millers with hatred. I despise them.
I exchanged a suburban lifestyle for a rural one on purpose and I have few regrets. People, though, can’t be avoided, even though I give it a good try.