Monday, January 6, 2014

A Really Cold New Year - 2014

The cold this winter seems to be getting off to a frigid extreme. Sometimes temperatures falling below zero. Hypothermia can be extremely dangerous for animals and humans alike. Their health and well-being depend on shelter and food. Wild critters trying to survive in this hostile environment only want food and shelter that is their God-given right. Same goes for homeless persons walking from shelter to shelter; living in their cars, or camping outside in these temperatures.
Homeless people are particularly hit hard during this frigid weather. We see them walking up and down the highway going from one shelter to another. About a twenty mile walk or longer between these shelters can seem like walking forever. However, I for one am extremely grateful that there are shelters that help feed and provide warm places for these travelers. Not to mention the families that are living out of their car or elsewhere without the benefit of food and proper shelter. I am also grateful for schools that help make sure children, that would go hungry, if not for the food given them at school, are fed and cared about.

I'm grateful for wild critters with their beauty and gracefulness living in what is left of the forest and parks. Animals of all kinds are coming more and more into our yards and communities foraging for food. For instance, there are two opossums living in very close proximity to my dwelling. One big and one little come around at night to eat the food we leave for them. They are ugly little creatures, but we just can't let them starve. Two stray, feral, adult cats eat from the same bowl as the opossums. One is a big, beautiful tuxedo cat, probably male I figure because my female kitty watches him very closely from the window sill. The other cat is a very large white and gray creature. They all come up on the porch at difference times, everyday, to eat the dry or wet food we place outside for them. In addition to these animals, we have a few deer that love to nest under the pine tree near the edge of our yard. No, we don't dare feed them. I would feed them, if there were so many hunters in the immediate area that would love the kill them for meat. Probably it’s the same for the opossums. All of them seem to have to play hide and seek from the hunters that fire shot guns nearby on the power line at anything that crawls or moves. It’s sad that these helpless animals are hunted for food, when the stores are full of meat that's affordable in most cases to purchase. My daughter's house has wild animals coming around looking for food. She lives in a park-like setting where these animals seem to be thriving fairly well.
A few black bear can be heard when one stands out on her porch early in the morning. Sometimes her chickens become jeopardized by opossums, snakes and raccoons, not to mention her blood hound that is very found of chicken meat. Her yard is a haven for wildlife as it backs up to a park and stream. They don't feed the animals nor encourage them to wander through the yard, they share the woods with all the animals living in harmony and getting along quite well. They leave the animals alone and vice versa.

In Montross when we lived near the water, there were fourteen generations of swans that lived there and reproduced each year. They still would come up to the dock to take bread or crackers from our hands during the cold and frigid winters. The geese followed suit and there were battles between them often to get to the cracked corn and bread. They would see my husband's car coming up the driveway and they all would head towards him cackling and squawking.

Animal habitats are compromised by housing developments and people hunting them. Thus making the search for food and shelter almost impossible to find. Thus, many critters rely on human handouts to survive. I know animals have been foraging for food a lot longer than I've been alive - but it does seem to be getting harder for them. With the cold and snow, it is amazing
How they continue to live and breed and many of them survive. Take care and keep the faith. Remember to love all of Gods' creatures - human and animal alike.