This 12" Bees and Fields block is the 17th block of my Starwood Sampler Quilt, designed to tell the story of my home and community. I made it as a block of the month with my quilting group, the Persian Pickles. This is one of the extra blocks I made for my king-sized quilt. I found the pattern free on-line at: http://www.quilterscache.com/B/BeesandFieldsBlock.html
Living next to the national forest has given us opportunities for many close encounters with wild animals. In 2000 after his freshman year in college, our son Sean wrote a wonderfully entertaining story describing these experiences. Enjoy!
Close Encounters of the Wild Kind
Once when my family and I were returning from a vacation in Estes Park, we came around a bend in the road somewhere in the mountains and were greeted by about thirty cars strewn all over the road and facing every direction. It was not an accident, we soon realized. It was more like, well, curiosity slowing. Something, some animal, was on the side of the road and every tourist with a camera had stopped to see it. We all excitedly wondered aloud at what it could be. A bear? A cougar? Something strange and rare, for sure. Something ill-tempered and with big teeth!
Dad rolled around another bend, and the fierce creature with which we were all enraptured came into sight. It was a deer. One very small, very plain deer. We looked at each other, perplexed, had a good laugh and went on our way.
Ah, the jaded life we live. We weren’t overly excited to see the deer, because we could just as easily see one in our backyard tomorrow. You see, this is the beauty of living next to the national forest. You are, quite literally, at one with nature – whether nature has feathers, a bushy tail, a stinger, or a sixteen-point rack
It is a common occurrence to look out the living room window and think you are seeing the neighbor’s golden retriever. Then the animal raises its head up to its full five feet and Bambi looks at you quizzically. Other creatures have found the plot of nature directly south and west of our living room to be a comforting habitat.
What foresight my parents demonstrated in planning for a glass door in our living room, leading out to the back deck. A young fox (apparently fearless in his adolescence) found it entertaining to sit on the deck outside the door and watch television. “Wonder Years” was one of his favorites. He always sat in the same place – right outside the glass door – and he always came when the TV was on. Whether it was the flashing lights or the witty comedy that attracted him remains a mystery. Maybe he just wanted to hang out.
He came so often that we gave him a name. Filbert the Fox still joins us to watch our living room TV set. He even brought friends this spring. Several other foxes (I suspect they are female and most likely interested in Filbert. He doesn’t come around as often.) have made their appearance recently, in the daytime, no less. And while it is daring for a fox to be out during the day, there are some animals that are not bothered by any such distinction. In the daytime, nighttime, in fact anytime, we have animals between our walls. Small, stinging animals. Stand too close to the south wall in my brother’s room and you will hear the constant bustling activity of thousands upon thousands of bees. The bees have been in the wall for years. We have tried to rid ourselves of them. A bee man came once, dressed to kill and armed with a trap to take bees where bees belong. They soon returned, though, and the only remaining option is to take out the wall connecting both my brothers’ rooms, remove every trace of honey and the bugs that make it, and hope that they find another home.
To be continued . . .
Though they are now our cohabitants, the bees have not made the most unwanted or unexpected wild appearance in our humble abode. I don’t remember most of the times I sat on the toilet. But I remember the one when I heard something scratching in the wall. I had just sat down when what sounded like fingernails began scratching frantically on the wall behind me. “Strange,” I thought, “this scratching, hardly a regular occurrence.”
And in one of the more intelligent or perhaps instinctual moments of my life, I stood up and put the lid down. Not more than a second later, the fingernails and the thing attached to them were in the bowl, thrashing and slamming the porcelain for all it was worth. I was paralyzed with fear, and perhaps the realization of what the animal would be thrashing if I had not chosen flight.
To be continued . . .