Where The Wild Things Are…

My house is in a residential area but the upper backyard is part of a natural animal corridor. I set up a wildlife camera to capture video of coyotes, raccoons, possums, and even the occasional bobcat and mountain lion.

We have owls and hawks too, and every so often I’ll find a bunny or a rat that tells the story of predator versus prey.

Last night was different…

I was watching Red Rock on Amazon Prime because there’s literally nothing else — it’s a show about Irish cops and feuding families — when I heard a scream outside. It was a sustained and distinctive sound of distress and I’m sure it wasn’t a human and I’m sure it wasn’t a cat. I’ve heard the scream of a bobcat too, and it wasn’t that, either. (That sounds like a shrill woman.)

I think it was a rabbit because they also scream when they’ve been hunted by a predator and I have a lot of bunnies around here. A couple days ago I counted five of them on the lawn at the same time.

“The sound of a rabbit screaming will send chills down your spine for two reasons. First, it sounds eerily close to a terrified child. Second, rabbits only scream when a predator is chasing them down or they are dying. It is never a false alarm when a rabbit screams.”https://www.thesprucepets.com/sounds-that-rabbits-make-1835745

All the nearby dogs started to bark like crazy and there was the sound of a scuffle. I turned on the deck lights and got out my spotlight but saw nothing.

This morning I went out to search for any signs of an injured animal or fur or any indication about what had taken place, but I didn’t find a thing. As sad as it is, we must learn to co-exist with wild creatures. They have to eat, too, and bunnies and rats make up most of their diet. This was first their home and we need to respect them. Learn more at Project Coyote.

Later on, I’ll do a more thorough search but right now I’m on my own hunt for the perfect gifts for a little girl who will be two in a couple of weeks. If only Chanel had a kids line of organic lotions and potions!

Princess Rosebud’s Empowered Solo Vacation: Part Two

After the mostly tranquil train ride (except for one poorly parented relentlessly screamingfordonuts toddler who seemed not to be bothered by her screeching while staring at their smartphones), I was met at the train station in sunny Santa Barbara by Professor Angel Boy and we stopped for lunch at an organic foods cafe.

We made an unscheduled detour because he wanted to check out the surf at Morro Bay, and because it’s always really all about him, that’s what we did.

Driving up the coast to Morro Bay.
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I’m not much of a seagull lover, but this guy was too photogenic to ignore.campingmay22seagullmorrobayAfter a brief surf session, we continued to Montana de Oro State Park, six miles southwest of Morro Bay and seven miles south of Los Osos on Pecho Road.

It’s fairly rural and rustic, but SO beautiful. We set up camp and were able to manage a late afternoon hike.

With the sun low in the sky; clouds and fog actively moving over the tops of the mountains, it was serene and enervating at the same time.

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Crossing a small creek.campingmaymontanawater

Lichen.

campingmaymontanalichen2Pretty yellow flowers.
campingmaymontanaflowersAh-MAY-zing view.campingMay23oroA mole peeking out of his hole.
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Quail are everywhere and for a while, their melodic conversations were the only sounds we heard. These guys were walking around directly outside my tent.

Later that evening, after a relaxing fire and glass of wine, we heard the unmistakable scream/growl of a bobcat across the canyon.

At that moment, life was perfection. The only way it could have been better was if tugboat man wasn’t oceans away and not able to enjoy our holiday.

Little did we know that in a few short hours, in sharp contrast to this beauty and tranquility, we would endure the WORST EVER camping experience of our lives.

As we settled down to a good night’s sleep under a star-filled sky, a group of approximately twenty college students set up their camp nearby and proceeded to drink and yell and party LOUDLY until 4:30 a.m. in spite of the 10pm-7am quiet time rules.

Apparently, nobody, including us, got up to inform the camp host or the rangers of this HELL we had to endure, but we all complained to him the next day.

Just awful.

However, at approximately 3:30 a.m. just as we were dozing, or trying to, during the bacchanal, three fat raccoons furiously attempted to tear apart the locked food cabinet next to our picnic table. My son had to get up and shoo them away, and as he put the food in the car, one of them tried to sneak in.

Amazing.

It was an eventful night.

Right after THAT little adventure, a bobcat screamed so close we thought it was within feet of where we were sleeping, and figured that he had an altercation with those raccoons.

No one slept much after that, because we wanted to stay awake in case we could see him walk by.

No luck with the bobcat sighting, but as I unzipped my tent in the morning, see who was looking at me? An beautiful gray fox. These aren’t the best pics because I was in such a hurry to snap them before he ran off.

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What an astonishing gift to sort of make up for the rude frat boys.

So far, quite an adventure, don’t you agree?

Part Three: A Ten-Mile Hike