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Nature’s Best By Elma Chapman - Get A Dog

I was the host at Maple Wood the first Sunday in November and it was a beautiful fall afternoon. I noticed something: almost everyone who came for a walk was escorted by a canine companion. They were all well-behaved, on a leash, and I saw some of the people carrying little plastic bags, so both they and their dogs are welcome in the park. You are less likely to see any wildlife when accompanied by your dog, but if you just want to enjoy being outside on a fall day—and that day the colors were still spectacular—a walk with a dog is just the thing.

Some people have to be nudged off the couch, and dogs are not hesitant to do just that. Getting a dog will likely mean more time outside for you, and that’s a good thing. Fresh air, noticing the natural beauty, and sharing it with a best friend is good for you both physically and mentally.

I’m happy to report that since moving I have seen almost all the same birds that I had at my feeders in Howe. It’s a real plus that we live adjacent to a park with a forest and a river and a few vernal ponds. We had two deer checking out the bird feeders, too. Unfortunately I’ve also seen a cat checking out the feeders.

Since the leaves have come down I’ve been entertained by the antics of the squirrels. There are a lot of them, and they occasionally raid the feeders, too. They are most entertaining when two or three of them get together and race around the trunks or leap from branch to branch, some of which just barely hold their weight. It looks kind of like squirrel bungee jumping.

Apparently there are quite a few raccoons that visit, too, but I haven’t seen any of them. A neighbor a few doors down puts out dog food on her deck for the raccoons (she doesn’t even have a dog!), so they’re pretty well fed and that may be why I haven’t seen them. My cousin in Louisiana feeds raccoons, too, and she frequently gets skunks that come to partake of the raccoons’ feast. They are pretty, but they do have that one noticeable drawback!

I occasionally hear geese flying over. There’s no lake close by that I know of, but there is a pond in the park, so maybe that’s where they’re headed, or maybe they have just been out gleaning in the farmers’ fields nearby.

With Thanksgiving being Thursday, I’m guessing the paper will have only one edition and space will be limited, so I’ll end it here with a wish for everyone to have a safe and happy Thanksgiving. And when you’re more stuffed than the turkey, remember that a walk in the woods will do more for your digestion and attitude than a nap. Gobble, gobble!