There are the jackrabbits that play Frogger on the lane each night.
And the geese who sweep past each sunrise and sunset.
The baby frogs who get lost in the barrel cave each Spring,
and the chorus of their parents that sing with joy for every rain shower.
There's the flock of wild turkeys that ironically prefer a gewurztraminer snack,
and one of their kind that flew into a transformer and shut down the power for a whole day.
There's the enormous gopher snake that nested near the tasting room door, and the swarm of salamanders that crossed the threshhold and cornered the hilariously terrified manager.
The bobcat that waltzed past dozens of guests, undetected.
The rattler I stepped on.
And whatever clawed the hell out of that tree stump I walk past often in the dark.
The Great Horned Owl that hoots twice in the time it takes me to walk to my car each night. And the spectacular Barn Owl that once flew through my headlights.
The murmuration of starlings, the Raven we named Jacob, and the lonely Great Blue Heron that inexplicably reminds me of Michael Caine.
The raccoon in the attic, the mice in the cellar, and the various trophies left on the stoop by the winery cat.
The doe I saw leap clear over a 'deer fence' as tall as I am, only to catch her trailing back hoof in barbed wire at the top.
The beautiful, thin coyote that disappeared before I could be sure if he was hurt.
The trio of vultures sitting on row posts just above the ground fog, their wings spread to dry in the rising sun.
But one of the most memorable of all these wildlife encounters on Rhinefarm happened just tonight, as I left the winery office, and opened the door into the dark night.
And a startled bat flew straight at my face.