Monday, November 27, 2006

Animal Visitors

Yesterday was another good day to work outside. I managed to get some more dead trees cut up and brought three loads of brush back here to the flower farm. An inquisitive traveler stopped by and wanted to know why I didn't stack up all the brush and burn it in place but I'm trying to keep the land pretty much the way it is right now.

In between refueling the saw, sharpening the chain and piling alder, I took a few breaks to continue with my mental inventory of the flora and fauna of this piece of property. I have noted signs of more animals than I have actually seen so far but it is clear that this is an important piece of land to a many animals.

The field has a number of woodchuck holes while the river banks and stone wall have fox dens with obvious activity. There is bear and raccoon scat on the river bank and mink tracks are common. Saturday morning before the sun got too high, the deer trails from the preceding night were obvious across the field. I have seen a couple sets of coyote tracks on a river bank and there is sign of beaver activity from perhaps 5 years ago. Only one red squirrel hollered at me from a young butternut tree but I suspect there are more there some place. It's nice to have such an assortment of animals around although the deer and woodchucks will have to be dealt with at some point which is why I'll probably resort to a fence. I should receive the final survey tomorrow or the next day so I'll be able to map out the fencing strategy.

I located three different piles of deer bones representing animals which either didn't make it through previous winters or which were injured by cars along the adjacent highway and made it as far as the river to lay down. If you look closely at the picture above, you will notice the bone scrapings from the smaller critters of the forests and meadow lands who work secretly and almost unnoticed. Their sharp, ever-growing teeth can gnaw through calcium rich bones in short order.

Yes, yesterday was a very nice day to think about animal visitors and enjoy yet another spring-like day as December approaches.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond, where chickadees frequent the flat feeder and bluejays compete for pieces of last evening's left over pop corn.

Gardening wishes,

George Africa