Like many writers working at home, I spend a lot of time staring out my office window or lounging on my deck. Sometimes I'm looking for inspiration; at other times, I'm just taking a mental break, but the result is that I feel I've come to know each and every one of the critters inhabiting this same little patch of Earth with me. There is, for example, Mr. Groundhog, who is huge and cute and a little strange. (He makes little barking sounds at me.) Still, I admit I've grown fond of him, and I was concerned when I did not see him for a few weeks. The good news is he is back again, weird noises and all. There are four rabbits this year, each identifiable by size, coloring, and dining preference. (The largest one prefers the wild clover that is taking over our lawn; the littlest one has a taste for my flowers). A nesting pair of red-winged blackbirds has decided, after scolding me for several months, that maybe I'm not so bad after all (although they still chase after my husband, if he ventures within thirty feet of their nest). These same red-winged blackbirds seem to tolerate a pair of sweet-looking doves and the occasional robin but will drive off anything else from "their" tree, especially a clueless, yearling mockingbird who seems to get on everyone's nerves. Five or six deer, none of them bigger than a golden retriever, watch and wait until dusk before they venture out into the open, their eyes large and glowing from within the thicket they call home. I know some people would call me a bunny-hugger, but I think the critters have as much a right to be here as I do.