We Should Have Filed an Environmental Impact Report (EIR)

Posted: December 1, 2014 in Uncategorized

I’m not a biologist. Neither is Ken. Kazumi claims to know all about botany, but, frankly, we’re suspicious. Now, if Koga had made that claim, well, Koga…. but, here I present our findings of the biology of the area, post urban farm establishment.

We’ve lived in the same house on a corner next to the train tracks in Orange County, for almost 15 years. We’ve been farming for nearly 4 of those years. Prior to the last year or so, when we really got the farm going, we’d see the occasional animal. This is an urban area. We’re sort of near Santiago Creek, which runs all the way up into the hills and Irvine Park, but this is an urban area. Once, when I was leaving for some fieldwork at 430 AM, I saw a coyote. He was every bit as surprised to see me as I was to see him. I got into the car and he took off. Encounter done.

And, there are the parrots. Every morning and night, the parrots of Orange, fly overhead. They sit on the overhead wires. And rather noisily carry on. Otherwise, this area sports the occasional nightingale, and the regular birds seen in urban areas everywhere.

Now? Um, yeah. Biologists everywhere, take note.

We have birds. LOTS of birds. Way more birds than we’ve ever had around the house. They eat the chicken feed. The scratch. They fly in and out of the coop. They perch in our trees. They live in our bushes. They chitter. They chatter. They sit on the wires, the fence, the tables, and the rose bushes. They are eerily unafraid of us. I’ll look at these things, and say, “hey, I’m not freaking Snow White. Get out of here!” They are never impressed. Did I mention there are a lot of them?

We also now have squirrels. There seems to be more than one, but we only ever see one at a go. He chucks. His chuck a loud clicking sound that drives Kazumi, and every other dog on the street, particularly the dogs at the House of 1000 dogs, wild. It is a very distinctive sound. These squirrels, also, are not afraid of people. They run in the steet, on the sidewalk. Everywhere.

Oh. And there are the opossums. Yes, we now have opossums. Lots of them. Mostly small, but, they are on the roof, in the trees, in the backyard, in Akita Territory. We’ve had to kill a few, because the dogs have gotten the opossum and hurt it beyond repair. Sometimes we’ll see a opossum playing dead that is still around the next AM. So, maybe not playing opossum. As I really like opossums and think they are pretty darn cool, this is always distressing. Before the farm? No opossums, except the occasional, very occasional passerby using our fence as a throughfare.

Two years ago, the hawks moved in. There are two of them. We see them circling overhead, kiiyyaaaa! Red tails. They’ll sit on the overhead electrical wires and hunt in the ‘hood. Probably have an eye on all those birds.

This summer, I found owl pellets on the roof. I must admit, I was rather stoked. We have owls somewhere nearby. We have not seen them yet. I’d sure like to, though.

And, of course, there are the raccoons. The Wild Roving Band of Wild Raccoons Who are Wild. We first started seeing real raccoon activity last winter. They were gone most of the summer, but now, that winter looms, they are back. On our roof. On the evil neighbor’s roof. In the backyard, picking fights with Kazumi. Not a good scene, that.

And then, tonight, the latest entry into the menagerie that calls this urban mess home- a skunk. Yep. Tonight, the entire house was filled with the overwhelming scent of SKUNK. I have never seen a skunk around here. Never smelled one either. N-E-V-E-R. But, tonight? Oh, my, SKUNK. My eyes were watering. I was not sure, at first, what I was smelling, but it seeped into the house. Definitely, not weed. SKUNK. I suggested opening the house, to which Ken replied, “its coming from out there! I’m not opening the windows!” He had a point. I went outside and it was worse. Impressive animals, skunks.

Coyote has not been back, just yet. I also have not yet seen a bobcat or mountain lion. I’m frankly hoping that we’re simply too urban for a lion, but honestly, we’ve inadvertently changed the environment around here. And who knows what is next? I suppose, a lion would not be that much of a surprise. Not really.

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