I've been sitting on these pictures for weeks and weeks - I took a trip to Michigan late this summer to visit some family, and here are a few things we spotted as we took a reminscent stroll around the property. Needless to say my aunt and uncle's grandchildren love to go visit them there.
This is a peacock, eating my aunt's black-eyed Susans, much to my aunt's chagrin. A flock of about 30 of them freely wanders the property.
All the grand-daughters have big bunches of the tail feathers at home, and I, too, was sent home with a gorgeous sheaf of them (garnering me lots of attention at the Detroit airport). One of the peacocks likes to cross the road to visit the neighbor, who feeds him. (Why else would a peacock cross the road?) Though they mostly wander around independently, I'm told that when dusk falls they all wander back together and congregate in the big tree by the barn, where they roost for the evening. That's just where they like to be, come nightfall.
"What's that?" I asked my cousin, startled by the big white thing scuttling into the underbrush.
"Oh, just an albino peacock," she said dismissively. Then she noticed it had chicks with it, and took a little more interest.
Behind the house is a little ornamental fish pond that has, over the years, become a wonderland of amphibian life. (Once, years ago, it had a frog with a turquoise head living in it. We kids liked to imagine submitting pictures of it to National Geographic, or Ripley's Believe it or not - surely such a specimin deserved special attention.) A favorite activity of the grandchildren is frog-catching, though they also have the option of heading down to a bigger pond where the bluegills and sunfish are poised to gobble at their breadcrumb-loaded fishing lines.
This fellow was christened "Tiny Tim," which I suspect was not an intentional play on the name of its captor's rather tall father. Only one name really goes with "tiny," after all. He (the frog) was humanely ensconsed in a Tupperware of pond water until his later release.
The crown jewel of my uncle's Great Lakes menagerie would have to be the polar bear. Sorry, "Lost" fans, it is no longer living, but it still packs a nice punch for the unsuspecting. The barn is filled with taxidermied creatures, some purchased that way, some personally captured by the guys in the family, but this one, I believe, was procured from a local car dealership. The hair on its nose is worn away from years of fond petting from the children of prospective car buyers; otherwise, he is still quite majestic, if a little yellowed, and makes an excellent backdrop for family Christmas photos.
Look at my cousin, posing there in her running gear. She's not afraid! Albino peacocks, stuffed polar bears, whatever. It's all in a day's work on the farm.