I put a camera on a tree about 20 feet from the corner of the house. I have, as many of you know, been involved in a war with the beavers. They are winning. At the same corner of the house was a huge twenty year old lilac. WAS. Not anymore. I didn't know that beavers would a) come that close to the house b) eat lilac. Now, I know. The second thing that is close to the side of the house, is the woodpile. Beavers had been dismantling the part with the freshly sawed birch logs. I'd found several pieces floating in the pond (before it froze) with all the bark eaten. Curious little buggers. I wanted to catch them in the act. HA!
Here's what I got. That ain't no beaver. This is early evening, I was probably on the other side of the wall, at the sink, in front of the window, unable to see out into the dark...
The three lights in the background are reflections off my parked car. Note, that is 6:08 pm. We'd only just come inside. I think. I've always told Chris that the bears are around, not to worry, just make a little noise so they can tell where we are. Yep. I bet they always know where we are.
This was back in November, but I have been so busy, I never checked the camera, until today. Imagine my surprise.
The November woods has pared down. We're nearing the season of bare bones and clear light.
This morning I was shown a wood I hadn't walked before. It was criss crossed with beautiful old stone walls. An overgrown cemetery was just visible. If it hadn't been pointed out to me, I could easily have walked through it. The last burial was in 1896. The headstone was still polished, the only one legible. Most of the stones had fallen, some were never more than standing stone markers. The property owner had refused to have the old burial ground listed, so it remains untended. I wonder how many of these are scattered about, once tended, loved, now forgotten.
Have you ever noticed that just knowing it's Halloween changes things? The way the woods look? feel? how about the night? The usual becomes, well.. unusual. I can tell you things looked a little strange around here today.
How many of these are there??
Are they a 'who' or a 'what'?
huh? (Maybe there are daleks, disguised.)
I've been cleaning up the plants that were summering under the trees to bring in for the winter. Look who was hiding in one of the bromiliads.
Thought you might like to see some of what's blooming' at my house.
Outside, we have buckets of cheerful pansies. Indoors, the garden is glorious! .. and if you could smell the jasmine... heavenly!
this post has been days in the making..
Last Saturday, I thought I'd post this as a "weekending' post. Later, when I hadn't gotten around to it, I figured I'd plug it into a "walk with me wednesday' post. It is neither. Seems like there ought to a day to mark the first bike ride of the spring.
The weather was SO warm and beautiful (and partly overcast), that we decided to throw all of our previous plans out the window, load the bikes onto the back of the van and head to our nearest bike trail.
The Blackstone River Bikeway, part of the RI State Park system, is a nearly 12 mile trail that runs for a time along an old towpath paralleling both a canal and the river. It travels through history, passing by archaeological ruins of several New England milltowns. For an urban trail, there is a remarkable amount of wildlife. I've seen deer, beaver and muskrat, blue heron, ducks and geese. This weekend it was turtles. They were everywhere!
When we crossed the marsh, we stopped to watch the largest fresh water turtle I've ever seen. It had a shell nearly two feet long! While we watched, it caught dinner, a bird!!!! I still can't believe it. I was very happy to be way up high on the boardwalk. That's one bit of water I don't want to wade in.
Sorry, no pictures. I tried. For the longest time we thought it was a submerged tire. Then it swam. I had only the camera in my phone. Though most of the turtles we saw, and at one place we counted 19, were the painted variety, the big ones must have been snappers.
It was an all too short ride, round trip about 12 miles. Still, perfect.
New Englanders, GET OUT YOUR FEEDERS!
This was not the Wednesday post I had planned. That changed this morning, when I saw these migration maps..
They are sure signs that the hummers are on their way. Soon. We did get a hard freeze two nights ago. Lots of the flowering trees were damaged. It is anyone's guess when the huimmers will show. But, just in case... GET YOUR FEEDERS OUT!
Just when I was about to check off winter for 2012, we turned the February page back on the calendar and somehow, by displaying March, kick started what remains of winter. (omg, I can hear it.. she's put up more turkey pictures!)
It has gone SO fast.. January was spectacular for hikling in the woods. No snow. Most of you know this. Eventually, I'll populate posts with some of the pictures from those afternoons, poking around in my sneakers, in January, in New England. The last weekend in January, there was the annnual (it has gotten to be annual for me..) spinning retreat in Wareham, MA. All play, relaxation, spinning, walking and eating. Without the usual ice and snow cover, I was able to expand my walks into the woodlands abutting the salt marshes. It was a good change. Most days, I was getting the year end stuff done for the business(es), dyeing yarn, skeining yarn, labeling yarn and doing what it takes to get ready for shows. There were two coming up in February, the Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival and the NETA Spa in Maine. Both, FUN! Believe me, getting ready took most of my time. The days sped on by. We are so easily entertained. Mornings start with turkeys, and afternoons end about the same way. As I type this, there must be over 40 birds pecking at what's left of the seed that I threw out for them an hour or so ago.
The cats don't mind the turkeys and the turkeys are much to busy minding each other to care about a couple cats. With all the warm weather, it was getting a bit randy with the rafter, lots of displayed tail feathers, red reds, hot headed arguments, and a general one upmanship of the toms. The snow seems to have slowed it down. Winter, remember?
Time to post this. There's a bit of action I want to watch. It is getting darker and the 'boys club' has arrived ( a group of 12 toms, all huge and very beautiful, the head council, whatever). What they say, goes.
Maybe I should have titled this post How I Spent My Winter, or Easily Amused. But hey.. millions watch the Decorah eagles.
ps. I could have shown you show pics...
pps. Ocellata is a turkey colorway offered in Super Sock 416.
On a dark, snowy New Year's eve afternoon, ten (or so) years ago, two friends and I hiked into the woods. It seemed a good idea at the time. Small flakes were begining to fall, dusting the path and looking very seasonal. A perfect way to end the year. I knew the main trail well and we moved along it quickly. We were out for a walk, with the need to explore. When we passed a small trail to left we decided to take it, just to see where it went. Within a short time, the snow began in earnest. The trail, what there was of it, was still evident and we felt we could easily follow our steps back the way we came. No worries, at least for two of us. We continued. The snow fell harder and fast, and before very long there were inches of snow mounting on top of the now obliterated trail. Visibility was failing. We continued, now with a slight feeling of adventure. We'd hiked together many times in the snow, often on snow shoes. No matter the weather, it was shaping up to be a perfect afternoon. Anyone who walks in the woods in this part of New England knows that trails are often more evident with snow cover than in the summer when covered by new growth. I say again, we were not worried. Besides, this is hardly wilderness. Walk in any direction for an hour and surely you will cross a road. My story ends well. Our tracks were obliterated by the sudden and heavy snow that afternoon. We managed to find our way back to the main trail, and home to a warm fire. But.. since that time, I've never been quite sure which trail we took.
..and that brings me to yesterday.
I decided to try another side trail, just to see if maybe it was the one. See the little black arrow heading off to the left? It isn't easy to see. Maybe with snow. As I walked, the trail widened. It was beautiful, passing several areas of high ledges and winding around small hills. I passed a pile of fox scat, then another, this one with vomit next to it. ( I know, I really am going somewhere with this.) Animals like using trails in the same way we do. It makes the going easier. Why they have to leave scat in the middle of the trail instead of conveniently off to the side.. oh well. I walked the trail to the end, then turned around. On the way back, I passed a rather larger pile of scat that I hadn't seen a half hour earlier. Coyote, for sure. But then I started thinking. Really, would I know the difference between a dog and a coyote? Probably depends on what they had for dinner. Then it came to me.. I had my phone. Was there an app for scat?
I laughed all the way home.