Living in the mountains is ideal; Tehachapi mountains are a choice location. We, along with friends and neighbors, enjoy the graceful beauty of the many forms of wildlife. We watch with curious pleasure the deer, the skunks, the raccoons, the squirrels, and the array of birds. We tremble at the stories of an occasional bear, and are on the alert for the mountain lions and gray and red fox.

For the frequent passersby who stop to stare, and who share our interest in wildlife, please forgive our brown lawn, stripped plants, and the absence of foliage or flowers.

Our home is located at the intersection of Indian Wells Drive and Carriage Drive. Our yard is the avenue used by the deer as they travel from Point A to Point B, wherever that is, and by those that lounge in our yard during the day. We frequently count up to 20 in the yard at any given time. They aren't afraid of our fierce little dog, and they appear not to be that scared of people. They don't charge for photos as they seem to pose for photographers.

For all the good things, there are reasons for concern. As the sun rises in the morning, and sets in the evening, it blinds the driver of speeding vehicles. The speeder could come upon the creatures without warning, cause extreme bodily injury, destroy the vehicle, and kill the animals.

The mountain lions are ever on the alert for their next meal. Our frequent lion visitor paces across the limbs of a tree behind our house, and jumps from limb to limb waiting for a chance to attack. Fear for our safety, and our dog, is paramount. Very recently, a neighbor was watching as a lion suddenly jumped a high fence and killed her little dog. Sailing back over the fence, it left with her precious pet. Her call to authorities was similar to ours as we ask for help. We have always been told to call a certain authority to report a problem. More than once, we have been told to call another number, and then another until we come back to the first number called.

While living in the mountains is wonderful, those of us who live at the above location can only warn fast drivers to slow down! We caution to double check the limbs of trees for fox and lions, and guard small animals with constant supervision. The fox enjoy watching from the tree out front, as well as the shade beneath the evergreen shrub. Yes, the skunk smell is nauseous; however, thanks to them, they are front line protection as they spray the predator before we know it is there.

LaNelle Thompson, Tehachapi