Try A Little Kindness!

What a lazy weekend it started off being today!  FD and I had a busy day helping out friends on Friday, and did not get to bed until sometime after midnight.  After being awakened by the phone ringing around 7:30 this morning, and getting up briefly to let the dogs out to do their morning business, I went back to bed and dozed some more.  Finally, at 10:30 I noticed FD had coffee brewing.  I got up too.

What was this strange critter FD had in his hands? Was it a small bird with a very strange mutation to its head?
What was this strange critter FD had in his hands? Was it a small bird with a very strange mutation to its head?

While I worked at preparing a simple breakfast of open-faced, egg sandwiches for us, FD stood out on the back porch, looking down below the slope to the canyon, where we often see Daisy deer and so many of the other woodland critters that frequent our place.  Mornings are a wonderful time to sit back and relax in the cool breeze, while observing the hummingbirds that visit the coral honeysuckle vine blooming all around the porch rails. Often, there are grand battles where hummingbirds duel over territorial rights to the abundant honeysuckle and the two nectar feeders we keep at the back porch. At times, the fierce battles can even get a bit dangerous for a human bystander!  Hummingbirds move like little jets, intent on defending their airspace and their nectar!

When I stepped out to let FD know breakfast would be ready in just a few minutes, I took note of how he stood, with coffee cup in hand, gazing out into the morning sun. He looked so relaxed and calm.  I turned back to the kitchen, wondering why I always had to hit the ground running?  Why could I not just “chill out” for a bit with my own coffee before rushing into the day?  I did not ponder the thought too long, however, as I wanted to time everything just right, rather than overcook the eggs and spoil a perfect breakfast!

As I dished up FD’s plate, he walked in the back door with something in one hand.  He explained that he had seen a pair of Mississippi Kites, flying lower than usual, apparently attacking some sort of bird in the air.  After narrowly avoiding a strike, or two, or three, the victim dove into tall grasses near a fence line.  The kites did not pursue the fallen object, but did continue their flight above. Stepping off the porch, FD meandered down to the weeds to see if he could find whatever it was the kites had been after.

Oh my! Those bat eyes look a bit imitating, and those teeth do not look friendly at all!!
Oh my! Those bat eyes look a bit intimidating, and those teeth do not look friendly at all!!

In his hand was a small, but very alert, little bat.  FD explained the bat was so well camouflaged that he almost did not see it.  He had discovered it laying on its back, perhaps defending itself, or maybe it simply needed to rest.  FD gently picked it up, careful to grasp it from behind, keeping two fingers to each side of its head, so that it could not turn to bite him.  FD has a special “whispering” way with animals.  It is as if he knows how to calm them, and how to handle them respectfully, and the animal seems to understand this as well.

Of course, I took a couple of photographs to show the small size of our new little friend.  Its teeny, tiny teeth looked very sharp, and its beady, little eyes made this bat look just a bit intimidating!  FD and I both agreed he probably just needed to recuperate a while on the back porch, and perhaps he would fly off of his own accord whenever he was rested and ready.  As it turned out, we did not have to wait very long at all!  As soon as FD released the little bat, he flew off as bats do – zig-zagging and flippity-dooing through the air and on into the woodland trees.  What a beautiful sight to see!  I bid him farewell, hoping he could manage to stay away from the Mississippi Kites, raptors who often prey on insects and small mammals in our part of the country.

Thinking back on the morning’s event, I wondered how many times FD or I happened to be in the right place at the right time to rescue an animal, or step forth to help a friend in need.  Sometimes it required very little to get an animal back on its feet, such as an offer of just a bit of respite from the heat, cold, or to relieve the animal’s exhaustion. Now and then a friend might just need a little help, or an hour or two of our time. I thought about other situations in life, where we might be observant enough to recognize an opportunity to step forth and offer a simple act of kindness.  How many times do we see an elderly person struggling to shop in a store?  Do we offer to help them get what they need? What about times where someone might be picked on, taunted, or bullied? How often do we step forth to stop the activity or encourage better treatment?  Numerous situations and observations in my life came to mind, where someone had come forth to help and assist me.

Each time FD gently touched the top of our bat friend's head, the mouth snapped open quickly! I suppose if barring teeth is your only defense, it could be effective - it certainly seemed to be in this little fella's case!
Each time FD gently stroked the top of our bat friend’s head, its mouth snapped open quickly! I suppose if barring of teeth was one’s only defense, it could be effective – it certainly seemed to be in this little fella’s case!

I hoped today, that our little bat friend was glad to have a human interject at maybe just the right moment.  What if we had not slept in so late, and what if FD had not been enjoying his quiet time on the back porch at just the right moment?  Would our batty little friend have been a raptor’s lunch by this time?  It is not for me to question the timing of so many things in life… but I do wonder how many opportunities we are given to step forth, and offer a little bit of kindness – and how many of those we miss?

© Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…


55 thoughts on “Try A Little Kindness!

  1. Oh I love your little bat! Their teeth are indeed very sharp and bites can be painful, so it’s good that FD knew what he was doing. Thanks for rescuing the little guy. Maybe he’ll eat some mosquitoes from your yard as a “thank you”.

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    1. Isn’t he a cutie, Kim? We see bats in the evenings throughout the summer months. I do not know just where they hang out during the daytime, but it would be interesting to know. I sure wish they would cause the mosquito population to decline. It’s horrible right now with all of the rain we’ve had!

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      1. We put up a bat roosting box near our house several years ago but haven’t seen any evidence that they’re using it. But I’m thinking it’s in too much shade for their liking. Wish I could hold one like that though.

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        1. I don’t think FD had ever held a bat either, Kim. I think I would have gotten some kind of gloves. I’m not as keen on handling wild critters as FD is! Even Daisy could kick like the dickens, and I was very wary of those long legs and their ability to strike! Still, it’s a very cool experience to handle wild creatures. This little fella sure was cute!

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    1. Oh, Charlie… I bet you put forth a little kindness too! What a wonderful world it would be if we all made the effort to be kind when presented with an opportunity!

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  2. I found a bat in our back yard in California once. Mine was MUCH bigger than this one and was laying on the ground sick. I was too afraid of getting rabies from it to help it out, and called animal control. I now understand that the disease that bats get is not rabies but something that mimics the symptoms in bats. 😦

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    1. Well, at least you called animal control, Lynda. We have an excellent wildlife rescue about an hour away called, Wildcare. If this little fella had been injured very badly, we would have driven him to Wildcare of Oklahoma for treatment. We make regular donations to this place… it is our way of helping wildlife when we do not have the skills, knowledge or means to help rehabilitate a critter here on our place.

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      1. I am slowly learning, Lori, but I really need to locate the local wildlife rescue people in my area. Recently, a couple took in two abandoned racoons and the authorities found out. The people were FINED and the racoons were put down. 😦

        I heard more about this on the news and now understand that they were also not caring for them in a nature wise way. A SAD situation for all concerned! I do hope there will be someone up on the mountain who is an animal rehabilitation provider. 🙂

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        1. Lynda, I have heard similar stories. Oklahoma has several non-profit rescues, and I do know the game wardens in our county are more helpful than some in other counties. Most of the calls I get do not require me to do much of anything. Most people simply need a little advice to help the animal heal on its own. Sometimes I direct them to a rescue or someone who handles special cases (there are several raptor rehabilitators in our area). It is a sad day when the legal system lets us all down. And, it is a sad thing also, that many people want to think of these orphaned or injured animals as pets. They are wild and they should be returned to the wild. We have been fortunate. All of our little charges were only too glad to get out there and discover the world!!

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  3. Your home sounds like heaven. I’d forgotten that there are humming birds in the States. I used to love watching them, when I lived in Maryland. I ‘saved’ a sick baby bat, when I was a child! I’m always astonished by people who don’t like animals or are scared of them. Happy Mother’s Day 🙂

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    1. Oh, thank you Henrietta!! I often wonder that people are afraid simply because they’re not educated about a certain species. I was afraid of all snakes at one time. Living here, they were EVERYwhere and I had to learn to appreciate their gift in the ecosystem. I still don’t like to be surprised by one, but I am no longer afraid of them. In fact, a couple of years back I had a garden snake that frequented my squash plants! I missed his presence when he left in the late summer!

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    1. Oh, yes! What a wonderful idea! There are so many opportunities to help both animals and people. We just need to open our eyes and be willing to lend a hand!

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  4. FD most certainly has a way with nature’s creatures, big and small. I’m glad he knew how to handle the little guy; I’m quite sure I would have found ANY other way to protect him than to pick him up, LOL.

    I miss those beautiful and serene mornings, sitting on your back porch, sipping coffee. I hope to experience that again sometime soon. Your description was so perfect, I felt like I was right there with you! Great post, I truly enjoyed!!

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    1. And dontchaknow, that coffee pot would be filled to the brim, for a nice, long morning of sipping cups of steaming jo! Of course, the little dive-bombing hummingbirds are always a delight, and you just never know when a marauding deer might show up! Ah, this place is heaven most of the time… and we are always happy to share it with you. You will be back one of these days… or perhaps we will make it up to your neck of the woods, in the northern part of the Midwest!!

      Hmm, for a little girl who used to be unafraid and fearless of our chickens growing up, how could you be wary of a teeny, tiny little bat? LOL

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  5. As usual a captivating story. You have that talent for choosing just the right words. I must admit that I would be fearful of bats but I am glad that there are folks like FD that know how to handle them and keep away from those razor sharp teeth. I see them at dusk and they are fine when flitting about eating insects but I would not touch one.

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    1. I am a lot like you, Louis. I’m not sure I’d know how to handle one, so I would probably wear gloves, or fetch FD to help! Thank you for so many compliments about my writing. It means so much to get positive feedback!

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  6. This is good tale to remind us all that a little bit of kindness can go a long way. What a lovely little bat! 🙂

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    1. Isn’t he a sweetie… all fierce and tough for his size? There are all sorts of interesting little creatures out there. This little fellow really inspired me yesterday!

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  7. I know I’ve said it before, but I so admire your lifestyle and love reading your stories. They in themselves are so soothing. I too love watching the hummingbirds, but was so sad to see a dead one on our balcony the other day. It didn’t appear to have any physical trauma, and we were amazed how light in weight it was. I’m such a wimp…it still makes me sad when I think about it.

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    1. Oh, Cindy, I am a wimp also when it comes to most wildlife (and pets too). We feel helpless so many times because we are not of their world and do not know how to help and assist. We aren’t able to communicate with them as humans do. I just go with the feeling that God/Universe understands my good intentions, love and caring for these living beings. When we rehabilitate an orphan or the injured, I do a lot of praying for guidance. And in death, I know that these little critters are/were surrounded by love when they passed from this world. We do what we can… because we love!

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  8. I love this post :). You are absolutely right about stepping up and being counted and helping animals and other people out. I guess it’s all about how we choose to live our lives and what we want to do in the process. We all have a beginning and an end, it’s only what’s in the middle that we get to choose. I, like you, choose kindness 🙂

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    1. I know it, Phil! This little fella sure was ferocious looking, but I think deep down he was probably thankful to find a friend to help him out of a snag with those Mississippi Kites!

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  9. The largest colony of Mexican freetail bats in the world is here in Texas – they live in Bracken Cave. They also happen to hang out under bridges in cities like Austin. There are rumors they head down to 6th street to take in the music, but I can’t swear to that.

    When I was in Liberia, I learned that, indeed, fruit bat tastes rather like chicken! Those bats eat nothing but fruit, and their meat is very good. I confess I was a little put off when I found the wing in my soup bowl, but hey! I was hungry and there surely wasn’t a fast food joint on the corner!

    As for kindness – even people need it, and even people in far off lands offer it. I was nearly in tears the other night when I found this video from Russia on another site. Apparently there are so many dash cams in that country because there are so many people, so many accidents and so many people willing to sue! Still, the video is wonderful.

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    1. That certainly was a lovely video… made me a bit emotional. I especially love to see pets rescued, and elderly people assisted.

      I did not realize that about Bracken Cave. In fact, my father-in-law was just speaking of that place this weekend. I think we have bats in some caves here in Oklahoma as well. I do not know where our local bats congregate, but we do see them every evening, off in the canyon, at the back porch.

      Thank you so much for this informative comment!

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      1. If you locate Bracken Cave, and then pinpoint it on radar, you can see the bats leave the cave around sunset during the summer. Their radar signature is generally a circular “bloom” that spreads out from the cave and then disappears as they disperse into the night.

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        1. How cool is that? I just looked at a couple of websites regarding Bracken Cave. I think it may be worth a little trip just to experience that! Thanks so much for the information!

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  10. Awwwww that creeps me out and makes me feel all fuzzy at the same time. ❤ I LOVE your close-ups, they're insane. You really have a knack for photography.

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    1. Oh, thank you! I have some great lenses than help make photography easy. I do love getting close-ups, especially when there is fine detail like those piercing, tiny teeth. They looked smaller than any needles I’ve ever seen! Just amazing!

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  11. South Carolina is a big producer of mosquitoes so we LOVE to see the bats around. Sometimes at dusk, you can just make out their shapes as they dive about overhead. I’m glad your little guy recovered quickly and was able to travel on. He really was cute in a batty kind of way. I loved the big ears.

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    1. I know!! I just loved his ferociousness! We watch the bats most evenings from the back porch. There aren’t a lot of them, and I often wonder where they come from. Perhaps someday I’ll stumble upon the area they sleep and “hang out”!

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    1. Oh, FD has many stories to tell. He and another passerby, once stopped along a highway when they saw a coyote ambling along blindly with a plastic pickle jar on it’s head. FD took the head area and the other man the rear. It took a few pulls but they freed the coyote from the pickle container. FD said the coyote wasn’t afraid. It simply trusted. It looked back at them a couple of times as it took off to a field. Another time FD found an injured female, red-tailed hawk at a power substation. He put a jacket over it and emptied out a tool box to put it in temporarily. He hauled it around all day on his route, making calls to find a rehabilitation facility to take it to. He has always had a gentle way with animals, rubbing them gently to calm them. They do not seem to fear him.

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  12. Oh Lori, How completely and utterly wonderful to be so close to a small, insectivorous bat. What an impressive set of miniature teeth! I am glad the bat made a quick recovery and was soon on its way.

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    1. Yes, Margaret, those little teeth looked very sharp! And every time FD touched the top of his head, this little fellow bared his teeth in his best intimidating pose! He was such a delight to see and observe up close. I too, was glad he didn’t take long to recover. It’s always a wonderful thing to release a wild thing… back to the woods where they belong!

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  13. A guess that bat’s mother thinks it’s cute. If eeek was part of my language I’d use it here. Your point about kindness is well taken. At the end of the day, and the beginning too, it’s pretty much all I have to offer, so I do, without hesitation.

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    1. I have seen just a few bats in my life. I find them interesting and kind of cute. I never really feared them… but then I’ve never had a “close” encounter either! FD had this one safely kept in his hands. I am not so sure I would have been able to handle it at all! Those teeth look very sharp!! I hope your kids never bring one home!!

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  14. I’m late to this party, Lori, sorry. Great, great, great story. And the reminder about kindness. It’s amazing how little it takes to make someone’s day.

    I’ve never seen a bat that color. Did you look him up?

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    1. No Sandy, I didn’t look him up at the time. That’s just not like me! I usually research everything before I post, but you know how it is this time of year!! I’m outside with my hands in the dirt… and of course Daisy has been visiting! Now that you’ve prompted me to investigate, Oklahoma has 23 different species of bat. I believe this fella was an evening bat, as best I can tell.

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  15. I would like to express my sadness about the damage caused by the terrible storm that hit you. I hope you and your family are all safe, my dear friend. God bless you! I’m waiting for news from you..

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    1. Thank you my sweet friend. Everything is fine here… and we saw Daisy deer last night, so we know she is doing well also. We are about an hour from the Moore, OK area. All of our state is feeling great sadness about the deaths and loss. That same area suffered a similar catastrophic tornado back in 1999. It is difficult to understand why these things happen. The people of Oklahoma are resilient and tough though. They will create goodness from this.

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  16. Big sigh of release reading you! I am glad that you and your family are feeling good. All our thoughts are with you and people of Oklahoma. Big hugs!

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  17. A big sigh of release by reading you ,my friend. I’m glad to hear that you feel good. Be sure that all our thoughts are for you and the people of Oklahoma. Big hugs!

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