Sunday, July 17, 2011

the best of neighbors

Living next door to the cranberry bogs is close to one of the reasons I love living in my home. Not only do we not have to deal with crazy neighbors (unless coyotes and geese can be classified as crazy), we watch firsthand some of nature's great marvels. Discovery of the tracks of our wild neighbors in the soft sand of the uplands is like finding treasure. Witnessing the wonder that is the cranberry harvest and learning how a bog is made and farmed are incredibly eye-opening. Every single walk on "our" bogs is a joy for all of us. The kids ask to go for a walk on the bogs daily and most days we are happily able to indulge. Today we had a few of the kids friends over and late in the afternoon strolled over to see what was going on with our neighbors. After coming within a couple feet of a blue heron, catching miniature toads, getting up close and personal with our resident swans and making wishes on dandelions one of Katie's friends declared this to be her best day ever. I heartily agreed.

Living this close to nature also teaches us about life in the wild. It isn't always beautiful and sweet. It can be harsh. I posted a picture a while back of Romeo and Juliet and their brood of seven babies. Sadly, over the course of a couple weeks we noticed the number of babies dropping steadily. One day there were only five. A couple days later, just four. Then two. And now they have only the one little cygnet left. The kids have asked what happened and I answer them honestly. Life isn't always fair and happy. And even though we are sad all the babies didn't make it, we celebrate the one that has. This little guy seems to be holding his own as it's been just him for about two weeks now. Momma and Papa are very protective of their last little one and keep him close at hand but we were able to get close enough to get some pictures as they rested on the banks of the bog pond.

Momma Juliet standing close to baby and Papa on guard in the water.

I think they were getting a little nervous with our proximity because Papa hauled himself up and out of the water and began to march towards us.

He came slowly and steadily closer, stopping every few feet and stretching out his neck, it seems in warning. The bog workers had told us he can be vicious so we heeded Papa's warning and backed away.

Momma watched the drama never leaving baby's side. We are all rooting for Baby Swany and look forward to watching him grow. The kids have asked me when he will turn white and if he will stay here like his parents and how long the parents will take care of him if he doesn't. We are finding out the answers to these questions together.
These neighbors of ours may not welcome our company but we love them just the same.

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