life in and around NYC is insane

Monday, May 7, 2012

All creatures, great and small

The house we live in was built in 1968.  My parents are the original owners, we watched the house being built in the summer of 1968, and moved in that November.

There was a lot of building going on back then, what had been a sleepy little community grew into a busy suburb.

They say thst Levittown was built on potato fields.  My community was carved out of the woods.

The elementary school around the corner from our house, where my sisters and I, and later my daughters, were all students. . .its mascot is a stag.  I am told that when the school was built in 1964, deer would come out of the woods and walk right up to the classroom windows.  Alas, the deer moved out when we moved in.

But there are still remnants of the woodlands. 

The houses on my side of the street were built on long, rectagular lots, and the rear portion of each lot was left in its natural state.  In 1968  our lot abutted undeveloped woodlands.  We were told that the State of New York planned to build a roadway through those woodlands, and the wooded area of our yard would serve as a sort of a barrier between us and the road.  We also knew that another builder was planning a development on the other side of the projected roadway.

Well, the other development was built, but the state abandoned plans for the road.  So what's left is a long, thin strip of woods, 18 acres that for various reasons cannot be developed.  I can hear ny neighbors on the next street if they're partying in their yard, but I cannot see them except in winter, when the trees are bare.

We have lots of small animals living back there -- squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits.  I've seen lots of different birds, and even bats.  The raccoons come up onto our back deck, and I've seen a fox once or twice.

And there was this one time some ducks decided to take a swim in our pool.  Though thankfully the Canadian geese tend to hang out by the school.  When I was a kid we used to find toads living in the grass, but it's been a long time since I've seen them.

And of course there are bugs.  Mosquitos, wasps, bees.  Ants and spiders and slugs.  I've heard cicadas and crickets. Fireflies, of course. Then there were the years of the gypsy moth caterpiller - they were like an invading army.

But I'd never seen a butterfly.  Until yesterday, that is.  Two beautiful black and orange butterflies fluttering across the lawn.

They were incredible.  Wish I could have captured them with my camera.

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