Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Nature Comes To My Door

I have made no secret of the fact that I live in the suburbs; an often derided concrete mess of strip malls, Walmarts, uninspired housing designs, and synagogues of every possible denomination. It isn't the most beautiful place in the world to call home, but I love it and feel quite comfortable here. My kids, of course, made a beeline for the urban jungle that is midtown Toronto just as fast as their re-gentrified legs, paychecks, and public transit would take them. Way too cool for the 'burbs, Mom!

I have often lamented at the fast-paced urbanization of my little "City Above Toronto". Where there used to be farmer's markets, there are now condos. Where there used to be horseback riding locales, there are now condos and big box outlets. Where there used to be green space and forestry, there are now condos, big box outlets, and traffic congestion. And...don't forget the toll-activated highway that runs through all of it. This rapid development has meant that indigenous wildlife has been uprooted and displaced. We often see deer roaming the shoulders of the 407. We spy foxes wandering our neighbourhood streets at night. Raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks, and skunk settle in our garages, pools and attics and make messes of our properties. This is the norm for life above the city. We have usurped and stripped them of their homes, so we are left trying to coexist and make peace with the critters. Sometimes we succeed and sometimes we don't. (Squirrels beware!) But, never before have I seen anything quite like the duck family that seems to have made my deck their personal obstetrics ward.

Our mallard friends are frequent visitors. I wrote back in March about how they spent Good Friday paddling happily for hours  in the cover of our yet-to-be-opened-for-the-season pool. They took off that day, and we hadn't seen them again since. We just figured that they were nesting somewhere near the pond that is about a stone's throw from our house. At least that is what we thought until yesterday.

On Saturday, The Husband and I finally decided to get around to completing our spring planting. We had been procrastinating terribly due to some personal issues, but the small boxes on the deck were crying out for some attention, and we purchased some geraniums to brighten up the railings. I spent an hour this past Shabbat lovingly caring for the plants and was immediately cheered by the vibrant flowers. And then...Sunday arrived. We were up early, awakened by the rain. The Husband went downstairs first and called up that I should come and see what those f***ing squirrels had done to my freshly planted blooms.

I went out in the rain, cleaned up the mess, and started to replant when I noticed this....

All I could think of was that now the f***ing squirrels were stealing eggs from unsuspecting ducks or chickens, and hiding them in my flower boxes. I carefully removed the egg (yes the guilt is coming!) and replanted the flowers. All was right with the world again.....until......


We saw this.

And this....

And then again today this....

And now this...

Just to clarify. This box is two steps from my back door. We are that close.

Needless to say, I feel like a murderer. I have taken to calling it my culling of the flock or, if you prefer, a selective abortion. Please don't send the pro-life crazies to my door. It was an honest mistake, I swear.

We have decided to see where all of this quackery leads. We will leave Mama Mallard alone to tend her young. After all, it is her home too. (According to some diligent online research by The Husband, mallards can lay one egg a day for up to 9 days. I am not certain that my flower box is big enough but we shall see.) I figure that since we bipods have continually infringed on their environment, it is the least that we can do.

A post script. For those of you calling on me to apologize to the f***ing squirrels for accusation without evidence.....it will be a cold day in hell when I do that. Those nasty creatures are responsible for so much mayhem on my property that I cannot  find that kind of forgiveness within me. I still say that while they may not have created this situation, they have created dozens more. I am certain that one day when I descend to the lowest levels of the hot place to spend my eternity, a f***ing squirrel will be there, eating through the cord of the one electrical fan issued to me. It is my destiny. So please understand that they will now and forever be labelled as f***ing squirrels.

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