Thursday, January 07, 2016

Tell Tale

If you lived here in this kitchen and looked out the window to the old heifer pasture a thousand times a day, you might think that not much happens there.

Oh, deer and turkeys are spotted now and then, crows, Red-tailed Hawks, sometimes even a Bald Eagle. However, it usually seems pretty quiet and dull.

A frosty bit of dampness and a little leftover snow tells a far different tale.

I took a short walk yesterday, just up past the old trucks (this was made possible by the cows being in the barn now. I don't like to go out alone in the field with them. Sometimes the friendly attention of a creature that weights three-quarters of a ton can be a bit overwhelming and all).

 I saw the tracks of mice and shrews and foxes, coyotes, deer, rabbits, red and grey squirrels, an opossum, and birds of many sizes. Stories were written in the white and blue and a coyote slipped and slid down the hill...interrupted in his trotting by ice.

There a fox took the easiest way down to the  frozen stream probably hunting the tiny creatures who left tracks smaller than a pencil might make if you poked it in the snow.

In another spot a bit of drama, large deer tracks skidding down the hill, overlaid by coyote tracks the whole way. Did the deer escape? Who knows? At least it made it over the creek and up into the field behind the barn. Someone has forgotten to turn the electric fencer off...I can hear it clicking from the hop there is no way I am crossing the trail to track the tale any farther.

I didn't see a single actual mammal and only two birds, a Downy Woodpecker and a White-breasted Nuthatch. However, it was easy to see that the woods and field are busy places when no one is looking. If the snow stays crusty like it is now...not too likely with warm weather and freezing rain coming in, I will be walking out there often.

Oh, and I did see a Ram.


lisa said...

I love the ram ;) Sounds like a lovely walk. Wish we had a better place to walk. Pretty boring here on my farm. Not much to see or explore.

Notthatkindoffarmer said...

Sounds an excellent day!
I am delighted to read this article..thank you for sharing your beautiful experience.
keep on sharing!!

Jan said...

That is quite a cast of characters you share your land with. I loved this post.

Linda said...

At least you're not alone out there...even if you can't see them. The Bossman saw moose tracks yesterday but all I saw were mouse tracks.

threecollie said...

Lisa, I am sorry to say that the old truck is about done for. It is so weathered that I had to look to find it any more. It is never dull out there though

Notthaatkind, thanks it was fun and a good way to stave off cabin fever

Jan, thanks, we do have a lot of critters out there, but I was surprised at the sheer number of tracks. They were everywhere!

Linda, no, there is plenty of wildlife out there. I am not sure I want to see moose tracks other than moose tracks ice cream, but we do go looking for them up in the mountains.

Terry and Linda said...

I like to take walks and read the signs in the snow.


Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Yes, isn't it amazing to see the tracks of critters we never manage to lay our eyes on? Who would know they dwelt so near to us if we didn't go out walking through the snow? In the woods I haunt, I never seen any animal larger than a Red Squirrel, but two days after snowfall the evidence is clear: Fishers, mink, coyotes, foxes, bobcats, deer, voles, mice, and sometimes the wingprints of owls or eagles swooping down to snag the mice.

Cathy said...

Beautiful, beautiful post. Captures the wonder and mystery that so few of us are in contact with anymore.
Ah! I see Jacqueline said it before I did. And better :)

threecollie said...

Linda, our snow is all gone now, but I guess we are getting more today.

Jacqueline, I always wish I had Alan with me when I go track reading. He is much better than I at it. Sometimes I find Great Horned Owl feathers in the rose bushes where one has gone after a rabbit or mouse. Wish I would actually see or hear one for the farm count, but it always so noisy here from the roads that it is hard to hear them. The boss sees owls, but he can't identify what kind, alas.

Cathy, thanks, it was great fun to be able to walk on the smooth crust of the icy snow and not be stumbling through cow footprints as is the usual thing in winter. All gone now, alas.