Almost Made It

Our mailbox is a curbside mailbox and, as a result, gets knocked down on a regular basis by snowplows. After having our mailbox taken out two years in a row, we got a PO box at the local post office and now have most of our mail delivered there.

After the city had replaced our mailbox several years in a row, they must have talked to the snowplow drivers because the snowplow drivers now leave plenty of room between their plows and our mailbox. We haven’t had any snowplow mishaps with our mailbox for a few years now.

But the good can’t be allowed to stand. Last fall, I came home to discover our mailbox had been hit and knocked askew. After carefully inspecting the damage, I determined that some jackass backing out of our driveway had probably backed into it. It is a daily occurrence in which a driver pulls into our driveway to turn their car around to go the other direction. I’ve watched many of these lost souls and it is clear to me that they are more than just lost. Indeed, they are barely in control of their vehicles and that operating them in a safe manner is a great challenge for them.

After I had straightened out the mailbox, we had no incidents for half a year. I was beginning to hope the mailbox would survive winter when one last snowstorm came. It was one of those rare April snowstorms we seem to get every ten years or so. The night of the snowstorm, some jackass lost control of his vehicle going up the street. By up, I mean that the street inclines towards the west. Since we are on the south side of the street, this jackass, who was either drunk or driving a vehicle with bald tires or both, crossed over into the oncoming lane and drove up onto the curb and took out our mailbox.

A picture of tire tracks in the snow on our curb
The path the car took on the sidewalk. The black triangle at the top of the image is our mailbox.

The reason I suspect the driver was drunk was that it takes a lot of effort to lose control of a car on our street such that it crosses over into an oncoming lane of traffic, hops the curb, all while going up a hill! And, on top of that, the driver got out of their car, walked up our driveway and around to the side of our garage to relieve his bladder!

A picture of boot prints in the snow.
Boot prints in the snow on our driveway. They lead to the side of the garage where the driver pissed on our garage.

Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus)

While looking through photographs captured by my game camera, I was surprised to see that it had photographed an Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) rabbit early one morning before sun rise.

A picture of an Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) rabbit
An Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) rabbit hopping through our yard.
A picture of an Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) rabbit.
An Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) eating seed.
A picture of an An Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) rabbit
The Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) rabbit leaving after eating seed.

Spring Flooding

My recent post about ducks hanging out in our backyard during the Spring reminded me of when an unusual amount of water flowed through the drainage area at the bottom of our property.

There is a small drainage area between our property and the neighbors. In a normal spring, there is a small flow of water. However, in 2013, there was a markedly larger flow.

A picture of water path the neighbor's fence
Water flowing past the neighbors fence.

The water pooled in our backyard.

A picture of the flooded area at the bottom of our property
Our flooded backyard.

A picture of our flooded backyard
Our flooded backyard.

And it pooled in our neighbor’s backyard.

A picture of our neighbor's flooded backyard.
Our neighbor’s flooded backyard.

The water encroached on the neighbor’s garage. Their backyard was very soggy that spring.

A picture of our neighbor's flooded backyard.
Our neighbor’s flooded backyard.

Although I have no photos, the mallards could frequently be seen paddling around in pond that had formed in ours and the neighbors’ yards.

Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos)

Every Spring, a pair of mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) visit our yard. They hang out in our yard for several weeks before moving on to where ever they go. They can usually be found at the bottom of the hill in our backyard, where usually there is flowing water. Occasionally, however, they come up the hill, closer to our house.

I took this photo in 2012 when a drake and a hen mallard ambled along the sidewalk between our house and garage.

A picture of two mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) walking down our side walk
A drake and hen mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) walking on the sidewalk between our house and garage.

Two years later, I took this photo of a drake mallard hanging out on the roof of our garage.

A picture of a drake mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) on the roof of our garage.
A drake mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) on the roof of our garage.

Whitey the Squirrel

The summer of 2013, we shared our yard with an white Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) that we called Whitey. White and black squirrels are morphs of the Eastern Gray Squirrel. Unless they have pink eyes, white squirrels are not albino.

A picture of a white Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) eating a nut
A white Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) eating a nut.

Whitey had balance issues. He never seemed capable of running in a straight line. As he ran, he would veer to the right. He would then stop, correct his direction, and start running again, only to veer to the right. He also had issues staying upright on his hindquarters while eating. He often tipped over.

A picture of a white Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) digging for nuts.
A white Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) digging for nuts.

His being white was a marked disadvantage when it came to escaping predators. The local hawks often hunted him. We did our best to protect him by chasing off the hawks by throwing rocks at them. Unfortunately, Whitey lived with us only a year before he disappeared. I suspect a hawk got him despite our efforts to protect him.

A picture of a white Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) digging around under shrubs
A white Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) digging around under shrubs.

We often found Whitey eating and digging under the shrubs next to our side patio.

A picture of a white Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)
A white Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis).
A picture of a white Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)
A white Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) hanging out with a Tiki.

Lizzie and the Game Camera

I recently bought a game camera, a ruggedized motion-activated camera used by hunters and wildlife watchers. I plan to use it to record the comings and goings of the birds using one of our nest boxes. Since the nest boxes are not yet being used, I’ve been using it to record activity of our back steps. I was hoping it would record the activities of squirrels visiting the feeding stations but all it seems to record is Lizzie coming and going.

A picture of Lizzie playing in the backyard.
Lizzie playing in the backyard, probably chasing a snowball.

Early one morning, Lizzie walked out the back door and knocked the camera off the steps. The camera captured her looking down over the steps at the camera.

A picture of Lizzie looking down at the knocked over camera
Lizzie looking down from the steps at the camera she just knocked over.