I have mentioned in previous news columns that I get a lot of thinking time while deer hunting in the tree stand. Well, I have not been in the tree stand yet (that will change with the first part of November here now), so my thinking time has had to come from other sources. That can happen on road trips. Recently I took a ride down memory lane, but I didn't venture out on a busy highway, or even a dusty country road. This trip was taken without cranking up my car. The reason for this is simple: This cherished trek never extended beyond the confines of my yard.
You see, this trip took place while seated on my riding mower - the next best thinking place for me it seems. It was during what I hope was my last mowing of the season, but I might have one more leaf mulching trip. During this warm October afternoon, I found my mind flooded with the sights and sounds of a treasure trove of memorable events that have taken place right in my yard.
For three decades, my wife BJ and I have been working to make our yard more beautiful and wildlife friendly. So naturally, we have enjoyed the sights and sounds of deer, raccoons, squirrels, pheasants and bluebirds to name just a few of the animals that came to mind as I would mow past the trees and shrubs around the perimeter of our acre.
As I rolled past the backyard bird feeders, I remembered the many species of birds feeding there on cold winter mornings. Particularly the times when the goldfinches were so numerous that they had to take numbers and perch in the adjacent flowers stalks and deck furniture waiting for their turns to use the overburdened feeders. The oriole feeder is empty now but I thought about how many hours of enjoyment it brought just this spring as the hungry pair quickly devoured the orange halves we would place there sometimes twice a day.
As I circled the backyard pond, memories of singing toads came to mind and how my daughter, Shannon, would do a perfect imitation of the trill to which she would promptly be joined by several of the real thing. My mind also wandered back to the time spent years ago when, together with my sons, Seth & Sean, we dug the holes and hauled the rocks that would eventually become the ponds and connecting stream we enjoy today.
The backyard pond received more attention when Sean was tending it. And then, I thought ahead to the new pond that will surely be constructed in Sean's own yard as soon as my grandson is old enough to help him.
And then I'll wager his riding lawnmower times will become memory trips, too.