The Wildlife in My Wild Life – Photo Essay

Since I live in Colorado, I’m always on the lookout for wildlife. I’ve spotted them on hikes, while skiing, or through a car window. Prehistoric porcupines, bear, elk, common deer, bighorn sheep, you name it. But this year, my wild life has gotten wilder. Several otherwise elusive creatures have made appearances in the most unlikely of places: My home.

Bullsnakes have made their way into my home twice. A newborn made its way through a light fixture since I found it on top of my flat file. It became a pet for the winter. The kids released it the following summer. The other must have pushed its way through the doggie door. I thought it was one of the rubber snakes from downstairs carried by our Bichon, Roxy. Nope! I put it in an aquarium until the weather warmed up and then let it go. The one in the picture was full grown (about four feet long) when I found in the garage. I picked it up and released it into the garden.

bull snake in yard

Several families of owls love to perch on and around my house. As the sun sets every night, I can hear a couple hoo-hooting to each other.

owl hanging out on roof

Two weeks ago, something hit a window. I rushed to my back door to see. A baby owl sat on the stoop. I waited until he flew away to be sure he didn’t become dinner for one of several hungry predators who lurk in our yard at night.

Last week, I heard the most annoying screeching sound. When the dog went nuts, I ran to the window. A huge owl stood on a planter screeching, “Good morning.” Ha! Worst sound ever.

Click to see the video –

While in Europe after a disastrous water leak from a demon washing machine, our wood floor guy, Nick took pictures of a lynx! Yes, this is our deck.

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According to my neighbor, two bobcats hung out at the front door while we were gone. Make yourself at home, why don’t ya? Of course, I never saw them after returning from our trip. Gah!

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In April, an enormous gold “housecat” walked around the pond. Later, I found out a young cougar has made our neighborhood its hangout. Unlike the lynx in the photo above, its tail is long. It’s a yearling and still pretty small, but the doggie door is shut until further notice. Poor Roxy.

Remember Roxy and the Coywolf? I don’t trust that she’s learned her lesson. She got lucky when that beast laughed and released her from its jaws in 2015. This time too.

Roxy in the window

As I’m typing this, I’m at a desk in the window being totally distracted by the backyard view. You never know what might take a shortcut through our property…

Our family had an unexpected visit last Sunday up in Breckenridge. I’ve seen them at Brainard Lake, at the bottom of Peak 7, but not in my neighborhood!

My husband, Danny, rushed toward me as I walked out of the kitchen. He had an insane look on his face. My first thought was whatever he would say next would be completely sarcastic. “There’s a moose in the driveway!” he screamed. Yes. SCREAMED!

Stained glass windows flank the front door. I saw a massive black shadow beyond. Instead of running for my camera, I rushed downstairs and shouted to my son who talked with his girlfriend on the phone.

He ran upstairs and used Facetime to show her the incredible sight. Right outside our picture window stood a full-grown male moose complete with wicked cool antlers. A yearling grazed nearby. We trapped the dogs in the basement to keep them from frightening the pair.

When my wild life meets wildlife

Click to see the video –

After taking a few photos, we caught our breath. Minutes later, another shadow graced our front doorway. The cow brought up the rear of the little family.

Incredible!

As the sun sinks lower in the sky, I’m still waiting for my glimpse of the elusive wildcats. It’s 4:30 and owls have begun their hooting chant. Another just landed on our roof. The raccoons will scout and a pack of coyotes may send out an eerie cry.

I love where I live. There’s plenty of room for all of us.

Click for more of my Wild Ride.

Related posts:

What was she thinking?

The Moose is Loose!

Not in My Neighborhood!

Taking It to New Heights – A snake encounter…

Have you seen any unusual wildlife? Has your life gotten wilder lately?

Now Everyone Can Sing Happy Birthday!

In 1893, Patty and Mildred Hill composed the Good Morning Song and sang it to Patty’s kindergarten class. In 1922, the sisters published the Everyday Song Book containing the Good Morning and Birthday Song. The Summy Company bought the rights in 1935. For the next eighty years royalties have been collected for singing the popular tune. When Warner/Chappell bought the song in 1988, singing it in movies, restaurants, or any other paying venue, could cost up to $10,000. That’s why you seldom hear the song sung in movies. Restaurants like Red Robin composed their own Happy Birthday song to stay out of trouble. Customers could sing it in restaurants, but not the staff.

Happy Birthday Song

On September 22nd, after years of disputing the rights to the song, Continue reading

Boccone Dolce, Sewing Machines, Tallboys and Mom

This Mother’s Day, I look back at simpler times and honor my own mother who set the bar pretty high. She is still there to listen to me. When I visit, she pulls out her well-worn cookbooks and concocts gourmet meals. The last time, she made boccone dolce, a layered dessert of meringue and chocolatey goodness. I know!

mom patty and i2I’m not sure I could have survived the drama of elementary or high school without my mom. After skipping home from school, she would greet me with a smile, something warm from the oven, and the question, “How was school today?” I would plop down at the half-moon counter my dad installed in our small kitchen and snatch a warm cookie, its chocolate chips still melted, and would proceed to recount the trivial events of my young life. I always had a lot to say, as you can imagine, but she would listen and hand out Continue reading

Getting My Creepy On!

Desiccated leaves, dismembered from branches, rot in the dying light and crunch like brittle bones under my boots. The wind whispers ghostly verses of songs sung long ago. Halloween is approaching. It’s time to get your creepy on.

“How do I do that?” you may ask. Sometimes eating candy corn and slaying a few pumpkins isn’t enough. Summerlike weather may defy the season or you feel like you’re too old for the holiday.

Watch thriller movies.

Freaky movies like Single White Female starring Bridget Fonda, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Steven Weber will get you in the mood. I twitched for hours afterward while sending quick glances over my shoulder. I half expected my husband, Danny, to come home with my identical haircut and color. It’s one of those movies where you want to shout, “Get out of the house, NOW! NO! DON’T GO DOWN IN THE BASEMENT! NOOOO!”

BONUS – It’s a great cardio work out without breaking a sweat.

single white female

Decorate indoors. 

Before I became obsessed with writing, I collected antiques on the weekends. Found objects are perfect for creepy Halloween decor. Old framed photos, black containers, and silver candlesticks highlight the season. Don’t polish the silver! The tarnish adds to the effect. I know. You’re welcome.

creepy Halloween decor

Sticky spider webs are not for me. I don’t want to find them months later. Instead, I use cheesecloth, cut the edges and rip holes by shredding it with my fingers. Continue reading

We’ll Be Waiting for You…

Why do I love Halloween? As an artist, this holiday serves as a canvas for my creative imagination. Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage.” My stage is a little creepier than most.

haunted kitchen

This year’s setting evokes a dark theme. With bold strokes, my home has transformed into a haunted castle where vampires lurk and bats swoop down in hoards at unsuspecting guests. The bats have multiplied since last year. Continue reading

If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother

The relationship with our mothers is the most powerful bond we’ll experience. They have the ability to lift us up from the ground or to put us in our place. It doesn’t matter how old we are, we as children still seek approval. Nothing makes our hearts sing more than the words, “You can do anything,” or, “I am so proud of you.”

Europe and Courtney and Grandma 001 (2) …Or, “You’re in time out!”

There are many kinds of love. A mother’s love is our first love. It is the first human connection we make. Without it, many children end up with lifelong emotional attachment issues. I think I was attached to my mother’s hip. One of my earliest memories is being carried up the stairs. She held a bag of groceries in one arm and with the other, she squished me.

Being a mother comes with an assortment of hats to wear. A few of them fit more comfortably than others. We will outgrow some of them, but most are worn with pride.

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Shameless even back in the day!

(With Kelly and a bearded Danny)

I feel lucky to be a mom. I am very lucky my own mother is still alive and thriving.

There is no one who knows us better, knows what we are capable of and our limitations, but life surprises us all the time. Sometimes we exceed our own expectations and then Mom is there to celebrate with us.

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On the top of the Guinness Brewery in Dublin

The most wonderful gift is unconditional love. No matter what happens, nothing will destroy the bond I have with my mother or my children. It gives me strength when going through life’s challenges.

She always points me in the right direction.

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Lost in Ireland

When feeling like I may have overreacted or made a mistake, there is nothing like a mother who says, “That could happen to anyone. Forget about it now.” With gentle hands Mothers smooth our hair and wipe our tears even if it is from miles away through a phone call.

Sometimes Moms know when we are hurting and call us before we call them. How do they do that? There is a connection unlike any other.

We learn how to weather all kinds of storms through the help of our mothers.

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Cliffs of Moor parking lot

They oftentimes give us new perspective and something to ponder.

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Hanging out with statues in Menton, France

I can spot a new parent in line at the grocery store. They are the ones swaying back and forth from one leg to the other while waiting. This is a condition developed while trying to get newborns to fall asleep. It is what I call RBWSS: Rocking Baby While Standing Syndrome.

Moms pass along all kinds of traits and habits.

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This shot could have been taken hundreds of times while driving through Europe. “Backseat drivers…” 

As a mom, I know we sometimes make mistakes. We are only human.

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Overheated or what? This shot was taken of Kelly indoors!

I remember feeling like my mother was the fairest in all the land. She still is!

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Happy Mother’s Day! 

All photos by Susie Lindau

Several were taken in Europe in August of 2001.

Do you have fond memories of your mother?

The Secret to Living a Long and Happy Life

mom and dad1This is a photograph of my parents at their breakfast table. After being married for 56 years and weathering all kinds of storms, they sit quietly and enjoy each other’s company.

My father celebrated his 87th birthday two weeks ago and my mother will be 83 on Saturday. I took this photograph while back in Wisconsin.

Every day they dress and set the table for breakfast. It always includes my mom’s homemade bread made seven loaves at a time. She expresses her love for her family through the meals she serves.

When my dad went on a salt and vitamin K-free diet, at first it was a challenge for my gourmet mom. She had to think outside the box and can, literally. While I was there, she whipped out her splattered, but loved cookbooks and concocted dinners worthy of a fine restaurant: Salmon doused in a fresh tomato ragout and pork chops with apples and cinnamon. Stir-fried fresh vegetables and meatloaf with peppers and onions. More vegetables filled that loaf than meat!

My dad is an artist and still paints. While visiting, I had him sign all of his work. Some dated back to the early 1950’s. His artwork chronicles the passage of a long life from the depictions of his farm while growing up during the depression in Holy Hill outside of Milwaukee, to many of my family while living in Madison and the latest of his beloved Collie. Continue reading