Like clockwork, every morning just before dawn and every evening as dusk descends upon our small homestead I tend to my anxious flock of chickens. Their place of residence lies in an old barn adjacent to our gardens a couple hundred yards from our house. I bring them food and fresh water in the morning and free them from the confines of their sleeping quarters. Evening brings with it a similar procedure as I safely tuck them in, away from the dangers that lurk undercover of darkness.
It was on just such an occasion a few months ago as I was walking out to feed the chickens and put them up for the night that I met a rather large but obviously young moose whom we now call Bob. I was startled the first time I literally ran into him as he appeared before me in the twilight with a dumb look of "what are you, and should I move" on his face. Lucky for me he was not in rut and had no interest in procuring a new mate, and slowly moved out of the way. I have learned from other encounters with wild animals that it is best to just stand your ground and allow the animal to move as they usually do, and so it was with Bob and every other moose that I have come across.
The trouble with Bob is that he wandered in but did not wander out, not for a few days anyhow... and then he came back. He comes back quite regularly and spends a night or two visiting. I do not mind as long as he stays away from our fruit trees and has so far. The only problem lies in the fact that I never know where Bob is going to show up. I always find him peering down on me from the bushes as I walk by and how many times have I almost tripped over him as he likes to lie down right outside our door or along the trail to the chicken house. It took a lot longer for me to get used to Bob then him to I, but I am finally at that point as he has posed no threat and been a most gracious guest in every aspect except for maybe his nocturnal wandering and sleeping habits. I just have to remember to ask myself upon leaving the house "where's Bob?"
Bob has lost a lot of his shiny dark coat and is not nearly the magnificent looking creature he was when we were first introduced, the winter has taken it's toll on him, but having made it this far I think that he will be just fine as we head into spring. Moose start losing their winter coats in the very early spring and often look a lot worse physically than they actually are...Other than his hair and a small cut under his right leg, that he refuses to let me tend, Bob looks pretty darn healthy. He has a good supply of snow for water and eats cedar and fir leaves as well as buds off of the brush to help see him through the lean months.
Living on the outskirts of the city and surrounded by timber and state forest land on two sides we are fortunate to experience a great deal of wildlife on our property. It is a normal procedure to be careful while opening our house door after dark as upon numerous occasions we have had various critters visit our porch in search of food. Skunks, raccoons, and stray cats most often but there has upon occasion been bear and elk in our yard as well. One of the most common creatures of the wild that we encounter only slightly less often than deer are moose. At least once a month a moose, often a mother and calf or a couple of two year olds hanging out together wander through our property, nibble on the bushes and then move off to places unknown. They often appear in the depths of winter on their never ending quest for food, a search that becomes more difficult every year as suburbia encroaches upon nature.
Something I hope everyone that decides to move into the country remembers is that we share this world with many other creatures and we must learn to work around and in conjunction with each other for the good of all. If only people could grasp this one lesson and learn to live in harmony with nature and each other. The animals are ready, now it's up to us.
The link below is a brief description on the life cycle of Bob, one of my most favorite animals.
Upon closer inspection (the making of the videos), I realize that my friend Bob is really a Bertha...hmmm.
Speaking of living with nature, here is a picture of a deer at my in-laws eating out of their squirrel proof but apparently not deer proof bird feeder.