Twice last week I arrived home from work to the squeals of the neighbor kids wanting to go to the farm for a fun-filled evening of four-wheeling adventures and a bonfire.
I must admit, it was kind of nice to come home to something other than an empty yard and a quiet house.
My back yard has seemingly turned into the neighborhood gathering place. We have rounds of croquet, a half-circle of outdoor furniture in which to sit and talk and, when the mood strikes, a wide-open space to play dodge ball.
Still, it apparently isn’t as fun as the farm — and that proved to be the case when we finally took our little road trip south of town Saturday evening.
Our adventure began with a four-wheeler ride out to the back pasture. Around the bend, through the gate and a sharp turn in front of the turtle pond later, we arrived at our destination. We scared up a small cluster of birds and then searched the calm waters for any signs of turtle heads. The girls and I found one, and appreciated the beauty of the developing fall colors.
Then, it was back through the gate, around the bend and down the hill to follow along the Ocheyedan Creek. I stopped the four-wheeler, turned it off and told the girls to stay quiet — we were on a search for wildlife.
We giggled at a little critter that jumped straight up from the creek and plopped back in the water, and then kept super quiet as we watched a muskrat swim toward us.
Unlike most times, this muskrat seemed to not have a care in the world that he was being watched by humans. He even climbed out of the water on the opposite side of the creek to snoop around a small pile of reeds.
All the while, the girls sat on the four-wheeler in awe. While one pondered its age, the other asked if it could come and attack us. I shrugged in response to both questions, and then stood up on the four-wheeler to take some photos. Even the nearby movements didn’t seem to bother the furry critter.
We watched the muskrat swim down the creek toward Peterson slough, then fired up the four-wheeler and took off for our next exploration — a full view of the slough and the many ducks that were enjoying an evening on the water.
As the sun slipped further toward the horizon, we decided it was time to get back to the farm yard. The girls chatted about the bunny, the turtle, the muskrat, the frogs and the wood ducks as we made our way along the water way and, just when they thought their adventure couldn’t get any better, a nice 8-point buck leapt along the fence line and darted into a nearby cornfield.
They watched in awe, and I grinned from behind the steering wheel as I could hear them exclaim, “This is the best adventure ever!”