From My Front Porch to the Great Plains

Most mornings you can find me on my front porch. Even when I leave for work at 6:20, I steal a few minutes on my porch with a cup of coffee, watching the day dawn and listening to the birds greet the new morning.

Every day I become more and more amazed, enthralled, and captivated by the variety of birds and creatures God gave us. For instance, just from our porch I have seen the following this Spring/Summer.

Early one morning, two raccoons marched down the road and climbed the maple tree, as if they own it. Maybe they do.

Two groundhogs burst out from under my porch in the middle of some kind of altercation. When I yelped—yes, yelped—they turned tail and ran back under opposite ends of the porch. I guess they decided it was better to get along under-ground than to deal with that crazy human on the front porch.

Squirrels. Lots of squirrels, which my husband calls tree rats. There is one who likes to pretend he is a high-wire performer and jump from the tree in our front yard to the tree across the road. He’s made it every time, so far. We have rabbits that hop around the yard and into the gardens, if given a chance, and the occasional deer or three.

Then there are the cats. A neighbor has some cats that made some more cats and you get the idea. They are semi-feral, but deign to approach our porch for the little bit of kitty food we put out to entice them to visit our property often, and at length. You see, there are also mice, and it sure helps to have cats prowling around the exterior of your home.

The most recent cat visitor to our porch is a kitten. We’ve named it Tippy—short for Tippy-toes—because it has perfect white toes on his front feet which contrast with his brown black coat. I admit it. We’ve named them all. It’s easier to say, “Patch was out on the porch this morning,” than, “that white cat with yellow patches was out on the porch.” So we have Bob—his tail somehow got cut off—and Tom. They are both big male cats and they rarely eat from our porch but do roam our yard. There is Patch and Spice, Clove and Cinnamon, Cinder and Stretch, and now Tippy. And Sandy, the feisty runt of his litter. Bruce calls them skitty kitties, and the little one is “the itty bitty skitty kitty.” We like rhyme.

The other day Clove tried to come up on the porch with a big old mouse in her mouth. I guess she was showing me that she was earning her keep. I shooed her away. I saw her a couple of days later with another one. I cheered her on, while assuring her I didn’t need to see the results of her exploits.

And finally my favorite, the birds. Our neighborhood sounds like an aviary, especially in the morning. At first light they start warming up. Cardinals, wrens, blue jays, tufted titmice, chickadees, crows, doves, towhees, hummingbirds, and wood peckers.

One recent morning I sat on my porch and thought about the joy the birds bring to me, and how they glorify God with their beautiful song. I couldn’t help but remember the little chorus I used to teach the children:

           

The birds upon the treetops sing their song,

            The angels chant the chorus all day long,

            The flowers in the garden blend their hue,

            So, why shouldn’t I, Why shouldn’t you.

            Praise Him too?

 

In two weeks, Bruce and I will take off in our motor home for an 11 week tour of the Great Plains. The purpose is two-fold. First, we will be visiting all of my paternal aunts and uncles, as well as Mom’s sister and brother. But, secondly, we will follow in the steps of the Double Cousins from the Double Cousins Mysteries. We plan to visit every town in which a Double Cousins mystery was set.

So far I have eleven events scheduled and I’m expecting a few more before it is all said and done. You are welcome to follow along virtually through my Double Cousins Mysteries (Ages 7-13) Facebook page.

If you are interested in the itinerary, go to my website’s home page and you will find it there. In addition, like and follow the Double Cousins Facebook page so you don’t miss any of the fun!

I have a feeling I might miss my front porch a bit while I’m gone. However, I am thrilled at the thought of all of the unique Great Plains creatures and creation I will see instead!