Paths

I mowed for the first time this spring a couple of weeks ago. Presumably it was time to mow since the curb grass that the city planted when they repaved the road was edging towards a foot tall, the neighbor to the right had given his lawn a crew cut primarily so he could use his leaf blower WHENEVER POSSIBLE, and my much saner neighbor on the left had mowed at a reasonable length.

As I came around the side of the house to edge along the fence, I discovered well worn paths in the grass. We had an incredibly mild winter so the grass was rarely buried in snow and the critter population must have kept moving throughout the season. One path hugged the flower bed by the house and scooted under the gate. Two other paths came from different angles through the sane neighbor’s yard to converge at a point under the fence.

Given the warming spring weather and the full moon, I decided to put the game camera out, two days and nights on each path, to see who was wearing away the grass.

Unfortunately, I need to play with the camera settings or maybe invest in a new SD card because my night photos are whiting out and my day time photos have taken on a strange pinkish tint. From the night photos, I was able to discern a cat ear, some skunk stripes and maybe a opossum.

The day time photos featured some random birds landing in the right spot and plenty of squirrel action including my favorite.  I love this majestic beast stalking through the grass for a close up. WGI_0047

Sheds delivered!

Spring break found me once again getting ready to tromp around the BF’s acreage in search of dead stuff or leftover bits of living stuff: sheds…deer antlers, y’all.

The look on the BF’s face at selfie time: “Damn it. NOT this happy shit AGAIN. Sonofabitch.” He’s so excited!!

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We saw evidence of deer in our adventures. Plenty of trails, hoof prints, rubs and poo, but no bony remnants. In fact, we didn’t even run across any other bits and pieces of any creatures!

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Evidence of deer

I peed three times on deer trails so I definitely left evidence of my presence. I assume the deer conversation will be something like, “Who is this magnificent creature who drinks so much coffee?”

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My “yea, I peed in your woods!” face.

Our finds revolved around interesting fungus more than anything else.

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According to FitBit 2.8 miles and 25 floors later, we were tired, cold and empty-handed. The day ended with convincing the local Domino’s to sell the BF a “take and bake” pizza. This is what happens when you live so far from civilization that pizza places won’t deliver and it is more efficient to cook it yourself given the drive time.

However while pizza places won’t always deliver, sometimes other entities will.

The lack of finds was disappointing, but it was a good walk in the woods, something that I don’t get to do often. Yet two days later, I got a text from MomBert that the neighbor’s dogs had made a special delivery to my sister’s yard.

A shed! In the sense that this particular deer shed its entire skull.

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My sister wanted the skull out of the yard before my nephew saw it. Otherwise he would want to hang it in his room. That kid knows how to decorate.

The skull is a bit juicy and smelly yet so it is currently wired to MomBert’s fence. Hopefully nature will clean out the tasty tidbits without dismantling anything.

New Year’s Resolutions: Berries! Adventures!

*Eat more berries!

*Have more adventures!

The berry eating falls under the traditional “eating better” resolution. Blueberries are my steel cut oatmeal life. However getting those berries may sometimes call for adventure.

While visiting the wild suburbs after Christmas, my hostess started screaming that there was a possum in the tree out front. It was only lunch time. A daylight possum seemed weird!

It was there chowing down on berries and studiously ignoring us, even when five “responsible” adults, an infant, and five children piled out on the porch to get within about three feet of the tree.

As a group, we unanimously backed away when the possum finally made solid eye contact.

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Do not disturb my berry time!

A neighbor witnessing our idiocy, yelled over that the possum really liked that tree and had been there before. I’ve since read that while mostly nocturnal, it’s not unusual to see a possum during daylight hours especially in cold weather and when food is scarce.

(I also learned that “possum” actually refers to Australian marsupials, but is used as a North American colloquialism. We actually have “opossums.“)

Science aside, we decided that the possum was on a walk of shame back to her den, but stopped to eat her feelings. The look on her face that we backed away from was just self-loathing and fucked up mascara.

It turns out that we did not put a damper on her sense of adventure or need for berries because she was back the next day. I love that this possum looks like an extra from The Dark Crystal, and that you can see her tiny, creepy, little finger/toes in this picture.

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Who’s got a pretty pink nose?! Opossum kisses!

A Morning Visitor

My song birds and squirrels are not happy, but, man, it is so cool when the big birds stop by. This has only happened a couple of times before, and all the little ones head for cover immediately.

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This morning I saw the hawk (Cooper’s Hawk?? I’m bad at identifying.)cruise in from across the street and swoop over the top of the house. I ran from the kitchen window to the back of the house, grabbing my camera on the way. Oh, Nature, how you distract me.

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After taking dozens of pictures from the cover of the back windows, I decided that he? she? wasn’t going anywhere soon since my yard was a buffet of tiny furs and feathers.

I slipped out the garage door and approached from the side of the house.

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Yea, I’m not as sneaky as I think.

As a predator in the city, I’ll assume that my visitor is very used to people and was not particularly concerned about me and my camera.

This was the best motion shot I got as he flew to the other side of the fence. I was too zoomed in to catch much more.

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Re-positioned at another angle on the fence, he continued to scope the flower bed for movement. I crept to about five feet from the bird when he pounced on a Junco who had made the mistake of moving. I squeaked and took a lot of blurry photos of the fence to capture the impact of large wings thrashing in my butterfly bush. I’m fairly certain the Junco made it out.

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If you’re better at hawk identification than I am, please let me know about my visitor.