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 Texas : Features : Columns : "It's All Trew"

With all these critters,
I never really feel lonesome

by Delbert Trew
Delbert Trew
We live way out in the country with the closest neighbor living at Alanreed about four miles to the east. Do we feel alone, or do we get lonesome? Not in the least and here's why.

Although not avid bird watchers, we do notice the changing patterns of bird arrivals and departures on the ranch. Our 6-by-6-foot picture window is our screen to nature. We are aware and can prove that feeding wild birds in our yard almost eliminates mosquitoes, flies, elm beetles and gnats. This same chow made available to wild turkeys has almost eliminated grasshoppers on the premises.

When our resident wild turkey flock comes to feed each day, the bugs flee in terror. This, plus the continuing comedy, live and different, that is presented is well worth the cost of the feed.

We have three old turkey "Jakes" who are like old men past their prime, who evidently like "Wheel of Fortune" as they peck on our picture window each evening at that time. Now, that might be a Trew story.

The huge prairie fires of 2006 pretty well eliminated our quail. However, a new breed of Eurasian dove has begun proliferating in their place. Once or twice a year a flock of bluebirds pass through resting on their journey south or north. The beautiful monarch butterflies often fill our trees and canyons on their journey south to Mexico or back again to the north.

A resident cardinal and his mate watch from tree tops until I scatter morning feed. He often sits on my pickup mirror and scolds his reflection in the glass while pooping on my pickup. I imagine we have seen every species of bird at one time or another.

Almost every morning trip to the coffee shop in Alanreed, I meet a waiting jackrabbit who races me for a few hundred yards before peeling off into the prairie. A huge red-tailed hawk always sits atop one of two power line poles on each side of my cattle guard, his neck twisting in a 180-degree circle as I pass by.

I usually meet three crows on their morning cruise down Interstate 40 looking for road kill or a tidbit of food thrown out by the travelers. I have to drive slow before dawn to allow the deer to cross the highway and jump the fence. When I arrive at the coffee shop and feed quarters into the Amarillo Globe-News paper machine, the resident roadrunner or his mate are standing by watching for any night bug or insect disturbed by my presence. They moved to town last year where they now make a good living under the flood lights of the coffee shop.

Our ranch motion lights around the house are turned on frequently at night as raccoons, opossum, skunk and an occasional deer inspecting the leavings of the daily bird feeding. An armadillo usually leaves his signs of grub hunting where our water storage tank overflows. Once in awhile we see the teeth marks of a porcupine, and in the fall our lawns show the remains of wild plum seeds, hackberry seeds, apricot and pear crops left by our night visitors.

With all this daily activity of birds and wild critters we have no time to be lonesome or the least bit bored. We are truly blessed.

Delbert Trew
"It's All Trew" April 14, 2009 Column
E-mail: trewblue@centramedia.net.
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