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I braked for a turkey crossing the road the other day.  It was so sad.  I rather enjoy braking for deer as they are so beautiful to behold.  It’s so dangerous to hit a deer, but I actually considered hitting it the turkey.  Those noisy clumsy critters came on our property once and totally demolished a bird feeder.  One flew through a neighbor’s window and almost destroyed his kitchen before destroying itself.  He came home to find the mess.

I have flower gardens, so I don’t want turkeys.  I also don’t want deer eating my flowers, and that’s one reason we had a dog for many years.  She did a great job shooing them to the neighbors.  I apologized to them once in a while for that.  We had one dog, though, that was so mild-mannered that the deer would come up and eat his food. Wish we had a picture of it.

The creature at the top of my list of those not allowed is the red squirrel.  The grey squirrels are abundant, and my husband spends a great deal of time designing methods to keep them off the bird feeders.  Quite comical.  We even had those nocturnal flying squirrels once.  A red squirrel, though, is destructive.  They have gotten into our shed and shredded things as well as chewing up a seat in the boat.  Plus, they chatter.

I decided to follow Jesus’ example when He spoke to the fig tree and told it that no one would eat its fruit again. The next day it was dried up from its roots.  So, I started talking to the red squirrels.  I told them that they were to no longer live on my property, that it was not their home, that they needed to go somewhere else and have a happy life, but they were not to remain on my property.  I didn’t yell, I just spoke very firmly.  It took about five weeks, but they left.  The next year it only took two or three weeks with those that came.

I think we went a couple years with no sign of red squirrels.  Then two years ago, one came and he was sassy.  He would chatter at me when I was outside like he was telling me to get lost.  I calmly told him to leave as it is my property, not his.  I did throw a couple rocks at him — he was truly annoying.

About the same time a raccoon visited.  Now I rather like raccoons.  Years ago, my brother and a friend found two baby raccoons next to their mother who had been hit by a car.  Each took one home.  My brother named ours Yunior, and he would walk down the sidewalk between my brother’s feet.  Mom would not let Yunior in the house, but Grandma would.  Her house was old and had pipes outside the walls.  At the joints of the pipes there were drips so she kept a pan there to catch the water.  We would give Yunior crackers, and he would wash them in the pans.  We kept him in a doghouse with a cage outside its door.  My cousin and I would lay on the ground with our heads against the cage and let Yunior play with our hair.

My husband, however, was not quite so fond of raccoons and borrowed a live trap from a friend.  He put some bread in it and placed it behind our little pond, about 30 feet from our door.  The next morning, he woke me to tell me we got the raccoon.  I ran downstairs and opened the door to see it.  As it lifted his head, I was saying, “Oh aren’t you cute.  Wait, you are not cute.  Lee, it’s not a raccoon, it’s an opossum.”  We laughed and went out to see it.  By then it was trying to play dead, so we joked that we could no longer see it.  Lee loaded the cage into the car, drove to the other side of the peninsula and released it.  We were hoping that someone over there wasn’t catching critters and bringing them over by us and releasing them. The peninsula is only about five miles wide.

That night, Lee put some meat in the live trap and the next morning the young raccoon was in there.  Now, he was cute.  I love those little bandit faces and inquisitive eyes.  This time, I went with Lee to drop the little guy on the other side of the peninsula and hoped he would have a happy life.

So, mission accomplished.  Lee set the trap out where it had been, and we thought no more about it. The next morning our dog was going nuts out by the trap.  I went out and who would be there, but little Mr. Chattering Red Squirrel.  I tried to contain myself.  I said, “Hello, Mr. Red Squirrel.  I think we had a talk about this, that you needed to leave, so I’m glad you have accommodated us so nicely.  I hope that you have a long and happy life where we take you.  You could have left yourself, but, as I told you, this is not your home anymore.  I do apologize for throwing the rocks at you.  That was not my best moment.  But, having said that, it is time to say goodbye.”  Yes, Lee took him across the peninsula.  We wondered if we should have banded each animal to see if they came back, but we’ve had no opossums, raccoons, and thankfully, no red squirrels or turkeys since then.

Spring has sprung and I am looking forward to sitting out on my patio by our little pond and viewing only birds and grey squirrels.  I may have to exercise my faith and authority again, but in the meantime, I will be content to see raccoons, opossum, deer, turkeys, and red squirrels at places other than my property.  I will continue to talk to the animals.  They listen.  And, if need be, I will tell them where they cannot be.

Our voice of authority is a real voice.  It is, of course, for more important things in our life than just pesky animals, but animals provide great practice and some funny stories.  Read Mark 11 and learn how important what you say is.

If you’d like something to read while you’re watching out for those rascally critters in your own back yard, or for that young person in your life to read, check out Judy’s Historical/Young Adult book Lainey of the Door Islands.

Lainey of the Door Islands

by Judy DuCharme

Walk with Lainey into the world of Door County and its islands in the late 1800s, a time of shipwrecks, lighthouses, and strong individuals who never gave up. Lainey becomes one of those rugged individuals as she faces tragedy and hardship. Her aunt and uncle, the lighthouse keepers on tiny Pilot Island, demonstrate the toughness needed to survive, but Lainey takes it a step further with her spunk and grace and becomes a shining light to all those around her. With humor, faith, close friendships and the young man who interferes with her ability to function, Lainey of the Door Islands will capture your heart, and she’ll inspire you to know that no matter what happens, God has a plan to prosper and not to harm.

Buy link: Amazon

About the Author:

Judy DuCharme grew up with Lake Huron next to her back yard and has always loved the water. Following graduation from Michigan State University, she worked as an announcer at a Christian radio station. In 1984, she, her husband, daughter, and son moved to Door County. After teaching 5th Grade at Gibraltar School for 22 years, Judy followed the calling that tugged at her all her life to write. Lainey of the Door Islands is her 7th published book, and she is the recipient of numerous awards. The sequel to Lainey, Addy of the Door Islands, is under contract and is Judy’s current work in progress. Her children’s middle grades book, I Want a Water Buffalo for Christmas, will be released in the next few months. She also writes for Guideposts Magazine. If you visit Door County, you may find her hiking in the woods, jet skiing on the bay, worshipping at her church, teaching a Bible study, cheering for the Green Bay Packers, playing with her amazing grandson, or sitting outside enjoying the beauty around her.

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