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Winemaker Or Zookeeper?

Building a winery and vineyard next to a thriving wetland certainly makes for a scenic property but it requires a degree of comfort with sharing the space with some very assertive fauna. Everyone in the Valley Of The Moon has to contend with deer pillaging an unprotected vineyard. Even the wild turkeys that roam can be a threat when the grapes hang low enough. But I think we're the only ones on the block who have a family of geese to contend with. These are some self-righteous waterfowl. They know very well who was here first and that we are only welcome as long as it pleases them. Their favorite hangout is the middle of the only road that leads in and out of the property. I think that they like the warm asphalt on their downy behinds. When you drive up the road, just past the bridge there they are. Politely I wait for them to move to the side so I can get by, but I swear - they enjoy taking their sweet time. I've started to name them already. Tony is the clan leader and he's bossy but he always is looking out for his flock, making sure there's no danger. Ethel is the nice one. She lets me get closer than any of the others. We're all holding our breath at the winery, waiting for the appearance of the new goslings. We're getting a little worried though because we haven't seen any yet and it's possible some nefarious critter found their nest, which I believe is cleverly concealed on the island in the middle of the pond. There's plenty of other types of birds who call the marsh their home, including a beautiful and stately heron who likes to perch atop one of the giraffes.

But geese aren't the only creature we contend with. Our proximity to the pond makes the winery a favorite spot of a huge variety of frogs and toads who just love the cool damp environment of the cave. They seem very partial to the sump room as well (the first stage of our water processing cycle). In the cave one tiny little frog seems like it's croaking through a megaphone - it's always hard to believe when you find them that the little guys have such a load voice. You'd think that bat's would like the cave but in fact they are a menace in the barn where they like to nest in the high peak of the roof and just outside the lab. During the warm months lizards are everywhere but they don't make too trouble. And of course, because we are surrounded by forest and a marsh bugs of all kinds can be found (they especially like taking up residence in my tent). The rain sure does make life abundant and the scenery vibrant. It's so beautiful! I hope you can come visit me and see it for yourself!

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