Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wild Unbridled Excitement

I awoke this morning expecting this to be an exciting day.  My new stove was going to be delivered and I was cleaning in places that haven't seen me for years.  I just happened to glance out the kitchen window above the sink.  I saw movement along the edge of the  grass where it meets the goldenrod. My immediate thought was a Bobcat.  I have never see one outside of zoos.  Unable to contain my excitement I called Ed, but of course the animal was gone before he arrived.  Ed came and while I was explaining where I thought had seen a Bobcat, two Bobcats appeared.  Ed and I both got to see them and there was no question.  Picture a big house cat only with a much heavier body.  These cats were light golden brown with spots and black markings.  Their tails were short and wide, sort of rectangular in shape with more black markings.  No house cat tail would look like that even if it was cut short. They looked to us like youngsters.  They quickly disappeared into the path in the tall goldenrod just to the right of the bluebird house.  Apparently they are seldom seen so we were very lucky indeed to see two such beautiful creatures.  As of now we have no Bobcat photos.  We will watch our chance.  Perhaps it is wishful thinking to think we can get a picture.  We will be very lucky just to see them again.  We have quite a buffet of rabbits, mice, moles, voles and chipmunks around the garden.  We wish them good hunting.

My new stove was delivered and I am thrilled .  It will be even more exciting when the gas company comes tomorrow to install it and I can use it.  For now, Ed will be carrying the camera on his walks.  Since the animals moved from the pine trees to our field lawn, it is possible that they are using the old fox den there for shelter.  Maybe we won't see the Bobcats again but snapping a great photograph of them would be so exciting!

Our usual dusting of overnight snow recorded the presence of our resident bobcat cubs searching for breakfast.  Four toes and a pad point to feline tracks.  It seems that their fifth toe is higher and to the side of the paw.  It may approach an opposable thumb in actual function.  The thinness of the fine dry snow cover made finding clear prints difficult.  Steps taken in the vegetation lacked definition.  Underlying stones confused many of the tracks left in the driveway.  Only one photo was clear enough to be usable but one was all that we needed.

Bobcats are described as common but wary and elusive.  For that reason they are seldom seen and pictures of wild specimens are not common.  An abandoned fox den at the base of a pine tree might be serving as temporary quarters for these cubs.  A stealthy check on the den yesterday revealed nothing but I am persistent.  Had I remembered to take the camera on my walk to the mailbox, I would have found nothing at the den since the cubs had already gone to work.  My chances of finding them home are better when the afternoon trip to get the mail is made.  They tend to rest during the middle of the day.  I've started doing some of that myself.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Way Too Early

For each of the past two mornings we have found new snowfall covering the ground when we finally crawled out of bed.  The first picture was actually taken yesterday as was the new header photo.  Bright sunlight quickly melted all of the snow that it could reach.  Snow in the shadows slowly gave way to residual warmth in the ground.  We plan on being able to work in the gardens until the end of November.  Perhaps we are finished now.

Stone walls and fresh snowfall always make great photo subjects.  Time is limited to see this image as the stones quickly grab and hold the heat from sunlight.  The snow covering this wall will be the first to melt.

A wire cage prevents the deer that are seeking refuge from the hunters by moving near our house from eating our kale.  Early hard frost burned some of the leaves but the lower ones are still great to eat.  A village friend went to her garden to cut and freeze her parsley but found that the animals had already eaten it to the ground.

The walk to the mailbox was quiet and filled with beauty.  This snowfall was small enough to clear itself from the lane with no action required of me.  The real advantage to that is not placing my plow in contact with the still soft driveway surface.  It is better to leave the gravel where it is and hope that the road will freeze solid before the first plow.

A drive to Utica was made with no snow incidents seen.  Early snow catches some unaware but all were safe here today.  A particular hazard exists where the road is in the shadow of pine trees.  Denied the warmth from sunlight, ice sometimes is encountered there while the rest of the road is clear.  Skin ice was seen on a pond today but the roads were apparently clear.

Today was the first day of gun season for hunting deer.  With fresh tracking snow I expected the deck to be stacked heavily in favor of the hunters.  Not a single deer carcass strapped to a fender or tossed in the back of a pickup truck was seen during my three hours on the road today.  ATV tracks crisscrossed my fields but none included blood stains.  The deer are numerous here but the goldenrod grew so high this year that they can move about without being easily seen.  I do not hunt but do see the need to reduce the numbers of wild animals.  One man has permission to hunt on our land and his history here is good.  We will join the deer that seek protection near our home and stay close by ourselves.