Interestingly enough, Aaron and I both have cousins that live near our new home. Mine is about 2 hours away and is my 2nd cousin. Aaron's is also a 2nd cousin and lives about 5 minutes away! Neither of us had ever met these relatives prior to moving here. We went to meet Aaron's cousin this weekend.
She and her husband are a very nice couple and have lived here for about 13 years. I am really awful because I can't recall their names? Debbie and Harry? Let's call them that. (Details, Michal! Pay attention to details!)
Deb and Harry live about 1000 ft higher then us. They have seen 3 mountain lions in the time they have lived up here. I guess the higher elevation makes a difference because my neighbors have been here for just as long and have not seen anything. Of course Debbie tossed an unfinished hamburger out off of her deck.
"For the foxes, " she said.
She also showed me a smudge on her sliding glass door that was left by the nose of a bear. They see bears quite a bit. (Hamburger maybe?) I had noticed a similar smudge on our front window. I figured maybe one of the kids pressed their forehead to it or something. I would have to see which side of the window it is on.
A very cool thing about this visit was that Debbie has scads of old photos of their family. I mean OLD! There were folks in Civil War uniforms and such. This sort of thing is always such a thrill for me! I used to work in the archives at TWU and had the privilege of transcribing oral histories, letters and diaries. There is so much to learn from these treasures!
The best part was seeing the family resemblance in my children and Aaron, even in these old, old photos. One particular gent was named O.E. Cox. He was sooo good looking! This fellow was Aaron's great grandfather. He was apparently a pretty cruel man, sadly. He had blue eyes! Not many of Aaron's relatives have blue eyes. Aaron had that in common with O.E. as well as his chin and nose. O.E. had a gorgeous set of lips! Aaron has a really nice bottom lip. Bless his heart. We don't know where his upper lip is. God forgot it.
When we got home I examined my smudge on the window. It was the right shape and I could see the nostrils... It's a bear! Maybe he came to see if I left the hummingbird feeder out. Aaron is not completely sold. He thinks the height of the smudge is not right. I kind of hope it is though! I would love to see a bear. I mean, I'd like to be in my house watching the bear from my window. That would be cool.
Another NatGeo moment I had this weekend was a scuffle a squirrel had with a hawk. This squirrel really bugs me. She is very noisy. Chatter titter chatter titter! She does this all the time and very loudly. She really likes to do it early in the morning or when I am just turning in for the night. I think she is scolding my cats and warning them to keep away from her nest. Her nest is high up in the tree that is right in front of our house. Sometimes, when I am heading out to get the boys at the bus stop, she will be sitting on the fence post eating flower seeds. I can get pretty close before she takes off, chirping and tittering, up into her nest. This is what we call squirrely behavior.
Anywhoo, I was in the house when I hear her freakin' out about something, accompanied by a whole new sound. Screeching. I look out of my window (which is about level with the nest) and there is a huge hawk perched on the edge of the nest with it's wings spread open. It is screeching and making all kinds of ruckus.
Oh my gosh! He's going to eat that squirrel!
I was all torn about it. On one hand it would be nice to not wake up and fall asleep to the squirrel alarm. On the other hand it sounded so scared and it would be a gruesome way to go! I couldn't look away because I had to see if the hawk was going to eat her there or carry her off in his talons. (Do chickens have sharp talons? - Napolean Dynamite)
The hawk was more of a scoundrel then I thought. He did not attack our squirrel but only bullied her out of her nest. I think he was hoping to find babies under her. He was a lazy hawk and did not want to wrestle with Squirrely. (She is rather plump.) He wanted an easy meal. It did not appear that there was anything for him to feast upon. It looked to me like he left with empty beak and claws. He missed out on Squirrely too because he scared her off.
The hawk took off (a magnificent sight) and Squirrely came out from hiding under the deck and ran up into her nest. I could hear her softly murmuring her little chatter titters. It was the saddest little sound! I just wanted to shimmy up the tree and tell her it was ok. I may leave a few nuts and seeds out for her today.
Right about the time this happened my neighbors invited me over for wine and paninnis. Best people ever! Gabe and I went and, when Drew and Aaron returned from the Broncos game they were at, they joined us as well. It was a lovely evening.
As night fell, Drew got all nervous again. He went out to the deck to bring his scooter in because he was afraid it would be eaten. Right after he came in I saw a grey tail swish by.
"Was that a cat?"
And so concluded another adventurous weekend here in the mountains of Colorado. I did not sleep well last night and have been up since 3 a.m. I have not heard a peep from Squirrely yet. Ha! I beat you this time!