November 18, 2018

What We Don’t Learn From The Natural World Around Us

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Two appropriate quotes attributed to Mark Twain that might stay in context with the following information are:

“I have been studying the traits and dispositions of the “lower animals” (so-called) and contrasting them with the traits and dispositions of man. I find the results humiliating to me.”

“Each race determines for itself what indecencies are. Nature knows no indecencies; man invents them.”

At my summer camp in Maine, I have a fair amount of wildlife that comes and goes and a lot that comes and doesn’t leave. Some of those that don’t leave present a bit of a problem.

I put out a couple of bird feeders because my wife and I enjoy seeing a variety of birds, some regular visitors and others very occasional. I also understand that this contributes to some of that wildlife that seems to much emulate the welfare recipient that would prefer to get free food than work for their own.

Putting out bird feeders in Maine can also attract really unwanted visitors from the forest. Black bears being one of them. I’ve not had black bears messing with my feeders but I’ve found a few droppings of scat within just a few feet of camp. I bring my feeders in at night.

The animals that present the biggest potential of nuisance are the squirrels. Gray squirrels and red squirrels come and go depending on the level of hunger and bravery. Some have figured out I will chase them off, and others don’t much care what I do. They will be back when they are ready.

It’s the chipmunks and ground squirrels that seem to be taking over. Seemingly they are quite unafraid of people. They are constantly cleaning up under the bird feeders, which I guess could be a good thing, but even as “cute” as some may think these creatures to be, they are a rodent and when winter time comes I don’t want them getting so comfortable they decide to winter in my camp or associated outbuildings.

As minor as that might seem to some, I value my property and if you’ve never had the pleasure of experiencing the damage and destruction squirrels and chipmunks can do to your house, it may not be all that minor.

There are “created indecencies” that present more of a problem than there should be. To many, they would tell me to take down my bird feeders. I know that but it will not cure completely the problem. Others might offer that I move out of the forest where my camp is and let the animals be. The lame adage being, “They were here first and I’m encroaching on them.”

Hogwash! What sat on the land New York City sits on before it became a concrete jungle? Give it rest already.

Going along with those “created indecencies,” even if I suggest “getting rid of” the chipmunks, ground, red, and gray squirrels, I would probably be threatened with my life and warned of jail sentences.

So, I try to find some sort of mediocre sharing of time and space and hope for the best when it comes to sharing my quarters with them. But there are limits to what I will put up with.

But there is a lesson to be learned here if only people would pay attention. But they don’t. Yes, there is much disappointment when comparing the “traits and dispositions” of the rodents around my camp with the animals that walk on two legs and are supposed to have the larger brains and intellect to rightfully put into place the pecking order from the man on down.

Unfortunately, this present coagulation of mislead members of society, have created their own ideas of what constitutes and indecency. Therefore, they demand that I must acquiesce to animals because they are of equal or greater importance in their existence and to hell with my property and/or my health.

Whether the human race ever fully understood the concept of the role of the man and the role of the animals, is debatable. For certain they have failed at this present time. But nature has it figured out.

While debating what I should do about the overabundance of rodents taking over my property, mostly out of fear of retribution from the animal lovers (of which they are more overabundant than the squirrels) a very natural thing happened.

I noticed one day that the chipmunks and squirrels were essentially gone – a least from immediately around my camp and buildings. What happened to them I did not know. Until…

A few days later as I came around the corner of my pump house, sunning himself in the corner of the building and the deck was a big ole garter snake looking quite fat and happy.

He jumped me at first, as you might imagine, but then I approached the snake a bit closer and began to make a pact with him. I said, “I’ll make a deal with you. I won’t bother you from being around my camp so long as you keep up the good work and keep those rodents out of here.”

The snake hung around for most the rest of the summer and then disappeared, probably eating himself out of house and home.

I have an open invitation I’ve extended to the snake as I am in need of him again.

This is all very simple.

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