Wildlife in Suburbia

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Please welcome Kelly Cochran, author of Buying Time: An Aspen Moore Novel, the first in her humorous mystery series. Buying Time was a finalist in the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Award and is currently, a quarter-finalist in the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. Kelly is a lover of all animals and has even been known to have her husband capture and release spiders to the outdoors.

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My entire life I’ve lived in the suburbs. I’ve never had to wake up in the morning to feed the chickens, slop the hogs, or clean out the horse stalls, and therefore, I’ve never lived on acres of land that are a natural habitat for wildlife.  Animals, in the suburbs, include the neighbor’s dog, the robin on the perfectly manicured front lawn, or the relentless squirrel frantically digging to find the nut he was sure he’d buried under the mulch.

The only similarity between me, the suburban dweller, and those who live in rural settings with acres of land, is the wish to keep development to a minimum. So, when my suburban home, located only eight miles from the St. Louis city line, became a condominium complex for groundhogs, we protested and took action to stop the over-development of our community.

Gregory-1A call to a critter control company that relocates animals ended with traps being set in the front and back of our home. In the end, one raccoon, and two groundhogs were caught. One of those groundhogs was Gregory, who’d been a part of our lives for several years, even making it into our Christmas letter twice. I was sad to see him go, but the man said he would take all of them to a 300 acre property far from our home and release them. What animal wouldn’t love acres and acres to roam? The next time I saw the man he informed me that Gregory was now in a better place. Well, I’m not sure about you, but in my youth, when a person told you that someone was in a better place, they didn’t mean a 300 acre piece of land. I could only hope that Gregory was indeed living out the rest of his life on those 300 acres.

Two years later, I noticed leaves left over from the fall had been disturbed at the corner of our porch. My husband said it was just the wind. I didn’t give it another thought until the next day as I headed out the front door to the get the mail and I came across Eenie, Meenie, Miney, Moe, and Bob.

babies-1Although I thought the groundhog babies were adorable, my husband said they had to go. We kept an eye out for momma, but she never showed. Luckily the man we use to trim our trees said he’d take them to his house and keep them in one of his rabbit hutches until they were old enough to release in another location. Over a period of a week, we enticed them with cantaloupe and were able to trap a few. The others we ended up grabbing with our hands (gloved of course). By that time, the crew had grown to include a brother named Charley and two other unnamed siblings. Total count: Eight!

 

The truth is, even though I didn’t want our suburban lifestyle overrun with wild animals, I missed those little babies in our front yard….until I looked out at the pool in our back yard!

ducks-1

 

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Aspen Moore has a new life in a new city, complete with a new career. As a personal concierge, she sells her time to those who don’t have enough. One of the perks of her business is focusing on other people’s lives so she doesn’t have to face the demons in her own.

When Aspen’s most loyal customer dies and his suicide looks eerily like murder, she anonymously tips off the police so she won’t expose a secret she desperately needs to keep. But, murder and mayhem are a bothersome duo and she soon finds herself caught in a web of chaos.

A string of crimes, long enough to make a real detective sweat, threaten her livelihood and ultimately her life. Aspen’s only hope to untangle the mess before they cause permanent damage is to track down who’s responsible. Pursuing the truth means solving the mystery of a decade-old land deal, while juggling a quirky DJ and his dog, an eccentric paraplegic, a curious set of twins, and a flirtatious neighbor with spy gadgets.

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Buying Time is a quarter finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest.  Read the excerpt, see the fine reviewers’ comments that helped Buying Time advance in the contest, and leave your own review of the excerpt!  http://www.amazon.com/Buying-Time-2014-ABNA-Entry-ebook/dp/B00JOU31MG 

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Buying Time available at Amazon
www.kellycochran.com
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Twitter: @KellyLCochran
The Series: www.aspenmoore.com

 

Categories: animals, critter control, ducks, groundhogs, humorous mystery, Mystery, suspense, Uncategorized, Wildlife in suburbia, woodchucks | Tags: , , , , , | 16 Comments

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16 thoughts on “Wildlife in Suburbia

  1. Fun post. Life in the subs is great although I can do without the snakes that enjoy our pool, but I love watching the couple of burrowing owls with their babies.

    • Thanks Rayne! Yes, we too have snakes. Our puppy actually was bit by a copperhead last year. I’d love to be able to see burrowing baby owls. I know we have owls because we can hear them, but have never really seen them.

  2. Second try at posting (forgot my password–again!).
    As a fellow suburbanite, I also find our wildlife entertaining–the squirrels chasing each other or loudly talking to each other all the while their tails are flipping for emphasis; chipmunks scampering across our patio and through the garden. But, like you, I also find them challenging–like when the raccoons decide to get into the 25 lb bad of bird feed and urinate on it after eating their fill! I’m pretty sure they feel the same about us–we’re a source of food and entertainment, but we’re also potentially dangerous critters!

    • LOL. Pam, you have some naughty little raccoons. When we first moved into this home, I decided it would be a great idea to feed the squirrels. Until one day, I looked out at the driveway and there was the “king” squirrel on top of the feeder, scooping the corn nuggets and tossing them onto the driveway where at least 25 other squirrels were cheering him on! I now let the squirrels forage on their own among the oak trees.

  3. Kim

    What a great description of wildlife in the burbs. Those little gophers are adorable. A fun read. Thank you!

  4. What a fun read! I do live in a rural place, so I’m used to snakes and gophers, but not much can get me used to the occasional skunk. I scream every time I run across one, and guess what happens after that? Ha!

    The books sounds great! Wishing you huge sales!

    • Skunks! That was my biggest fear – skunks playing house under our porch. Luckily they chose the neighbors house! Lani – LOL – don’t scream around those skunks unless you’re carrying tomato juice! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Hi Kelly, I live in what a friend of mine terms “inconvenient suburbia.” The turkeys wake me every morning and the deer come for happy hour in early evening. I forgot to close the garage door one night and a raccoon who was almost my height was as surprised as I was when I turned on the light. And one never expects a bear to go walking in the burbs but we had a surprise visitor. A California brown bear decided to go trick or treating on Halloween:-) I hope your nocturnal visitors stay friendly! And congratulations on becoming a quarter-finalist. Wonderful news.

  6. I’m a real “city” girl, and really enjoyed “getting away” from it all with this post. Thanks.

  7. When we were on our small acreage–surrounded by larger places–we had plenty of wildlife visiting, including a mountain lion. Now we’re in semi-rural suburbia with open fields nearby, and we still are plagued by skunks. Every night during the summer one wanders through our yard. We blocked the hole in the fence, so he dug under instead. Apparently we’re a part of his regular patrol and man, does he stink!

    Fun post!

    • Mountain lions!!!! I have some friends that live in a suburb in Colorado and I’ve seen photos of bears near their home! The closest we’ve come to anything I would consider dangerous rather than just a nuisance would be Coyotes, though I haven’t seen many lately.

  8. Raccoons and skunks for us. Also many chipmunks, but we don’t bother to try to control them. We are making every attempt to deter them from living in our crawl spaces! We have a woods behind the house and hear coyotes on some nights. It’s beautiful, but we are sharing the space.

    • Oh Kaye… I love the chipmunks running across our driveway…although my husband has to laugh because I find myself calling them chinchillas when I know darn well they are chipmunks (just one of the many wonders of working your way to the senior discounts). We don’t control our chipmunks, but the groundhogs can be incredibly destructive. They actually burrowed from on side of our pool, under the concrete deck all the way to the other side and did the same thing on our large porch.

      We used to see more coyote when we had a lot of wild turkeys, but the population of both seems to have declined.

      Thanks for sharing!

  9. Thanks so much to Kelly and everyone who commented. A fun blog.

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