My wife Linda and I are living in the wild kingdom. Behind and beside our house is 10 acres of woods bordered by a lake, pond and brook, and across the road the woods run for 5 miles along the stream.

So it’s no surprise we have had every wild critter in our yard, and even in our house. Before we enclosed the foundation of our house, lots of animals got into our basement, including that skunk that blasted me right in the face.

One time I was walking up the steps taking me outdoors from the basement when I met a raccoon coming down the steps. We stared at each other and eventually he turned and climbed back out.

And of course, we had lots of mice in the house. One year I caught 38 mice in the house. Linda called Modern Pest. Since they took over, we’ve rarely had a mouse in the house.

And did I tell you about the snake in our kitchen? Linda hates snakes, and when I got home, she was standing in a chair while the snake slithered around the floor. Another time, she saw a snake near our walkway. She tried to hit it but missed, hitting a granite wall and breaking her wrist.

Bats used to get in our house a lot, and I’d hit and kill them. Because we live next to a stream, we’d get lots of snapping turtles which buried their eggs in Linda’s flower garden. I had a huge snapping turtle chase me out of our brook where I was fishing. And it followed me onto shore and chased me through the woods.

We did enjoy a seeing a lot of wild animals, but I did have to shoot a fox in our driveway and two woodchucks eating things in Linda’s garden. The fox was acting strangely so I shot it and it turned out to be rabid.

And one night while we were sleeping a bear bent over the poles holding Linda’s bird feeders and destroyed every feeder. We didn’t see it, but we have seen bears in our yard.

One time when I was deer hunting in the woods across the road, I was sitting on the ground leaning against a large oak tree when I spotted an ermine running back and forth about 50 yards away. It got closer and closer, and when it was about 10 yards away, it turned and ran right up my leg, stopping on my chest.

I was so shocked that all I could do was stare at it, and luckily, it decided I wasn’t a tree and it jumped off and ran away.

I’ll never forget the coyote that wondered around our front and back yards last year. We’ve had moose and lots of deer in our yard. The moose tend to hang out quite a while. Last November we had two does with two fawns wander across our yard, and if there is snow on the ground, our yard is full of deer tracks.

Up to our camp on the edge of Baxter Park, we saw lots of wildlife including deer, moose and bears, often right on our lawn.

Linda and I are avid birders, and every morning while I sit by our large kitchen window reading my KJ, I enjoy all the action at Linda’s bird feeders. We have nine gray squirrels that chase each other around while eating bird seed on the ground and in the feeders, and I’ve also counted as many as 11 Blue Jays, which are also not into sharing that birdseed.

Last spring we saw a rare orchard oriole. And we get lots of other birds too, including chickadees and a beautiful male cardinal. Once we became birders, it added a lot to our trips. I’ll never forget the exotic hoopoes we saw in Italy. Go online to see these amazing birds, which were right on our lawn in Italy.

Not all bird stories are good. One day a lady walked out of our woods carrying a loon that had swallowed a lead sinker. We got it Avian Haven, but the loon eventually died.

Yes, living the wild life is not always easy.

George Smith can be reached at 34 Blake Hill Road, Mount Vernon 04352, or [email protected]. Read more of Smith’s writings at

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