So I live on a farm, but not an “Old MacDonald Had a . . . ” kind; nope, this is an estate. There’s no other way to describe it – big house, lots of barns and out buildings, big open fields and lots of forest. So we don’t have the usual animals – no cows or chickens or pigs. But we do have animals, and they make life here exciting. Sometimes in the midst of all this research and reading and thinking, animals lighten things up – especially when you’re a member of my family.

Here are the top five animals stories from down here on the farm.

#5 – The Turtle
My friend Sarah and I were so excited one July when we found our turtle. You see, here on the farm there are turtle races – complete with a full betting scheme – each Fourth of July, so around that time of year, we all watch the roads and ponds for our turtle. This particular year, Sarah and I found this turtle, and we knew we had a winner. We put him in the floor board of the truck and he scuttled like a mad man. There’s no way we could lose.

It was the start of the race. All the turtles were in the ring (i.e. a string circle on the lawn). The whistle was blown . . . and he was off – straight into the dirt. We had found a master digger – a mud turtle. Since the winner had to cross the string finish line, well, our guy might have won, but we didn’t have our ground penetrating radar to be sure.

#4 – The Tick
Not long after we moved here, Dad took my cousin and her husband for a walk in the low grounds by the river. The field had been bush-hogged, mostly, but the sides of the road were still tall with grass. My cousin (who shall remain nameless for reasons that will become obvious shortly) was walking against the grass when she looked down and saw . . . hundreds of ticks climbing up her clothes.

Right there, in the middle of 280 acres of field, she stripped down to her skivvies and ran for the shower. Such tiny insects; such mighty power.

#3 – The Bear
For several weeks, Mom and Dad had been hearing a bear around the house. He kept coming to the space below their window; they could see the scratch marks on the tree there. One night, the bear appeared, and they heard it below. Dad jumped out of bed, grabbed the shot gun, and headed out to scare the bear away. No one wants a bear near their house, right?

Oh, and did I neglect to mention that Dad sleeps nude, and as such, he visited the bear, who had fortunately moved on before Dad reached him? The next morning, however, they found a nice pile of bear scat on the deck. Although I have never asked, I expect Dad now dresses before chasing wild animals into the night.

#2 – The bobcat.
One day Dad was mowing those same tick-filled low grounds when he heard something crying. He looked back to see he had accidentally clipped the foot of a bobcat cub as he mowed. (I’ll give you a minute to be sad before I continue the story . . . . ready?) After waiting all day to see if the mother cat would come back (apparently, he did learn some lessons from his bear encounter), he scooped up the cat cub, slipped him into a domestic cat carrier, and drove him out West to the wildlife rescue center.

When he arrived, the vets looked in the carrier and said, “It’s actually a bobcat cub.”

“I told you that’s what it was,” Dad said.

“Sorry, sir. The previous times people have brought us bobcat cubs the carriers have actually held pomeranians.”

#5 – The Gorilla.
One day, Mom was driving down the 2.5 mile driveway when a furry black back crossed her path. She got home and told Dad, “I saw a gorilla cross the driveway.”

“A gorilla?”

“Okay, maybe it was a chimpanzee.”

“Honey, could it have been a a bear?”

“Yeah, I guess it could have been a bear.”

Apparently, the people who carry in pomeranians aren’t the only ones who can misidentify wild animals.

Gorilla Black Bear – Clearly, there is a resemblance.