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Tracking through the snow at the farmette


It's been mild for a couple of days, although at the moment it's gently snowing - like Mother Nature decided to sprinkle confetti on the landscape. All is peaceful and quiet on a Sunday morning, with only the sound of Bea pushing her food bowl around trying to get the last of the crumbs from breakfast. Yesterday I started noticing the animal tracks through the snow - in fact, in places, our yard is like the Grand Central Station of wild furry and feathered friends. So I whipped out the smartphone and took a stroll, snapping pics on my afternoon jaunt around the property. Here's the result.

The local feral cats are made of pretty sturdy stuff - venturing out into snow that's about four to seven inches deep. Obviously someone was on a mission to get somewhere. My bet is on the big orange and white male that Hobbes encountered - to his regret- a couple of years ago. That resulted in a bite on the butt and an abcess that weeped green pus and took weeks to clear up. Yum.

Anyway, I digress. The point is that the outdoor felines aren't afraid of getting their paws (and legs!) cold and wet, if there's a mouse or a bird that might be worth chewing on. Hobbes, on the other hand, walks out the side door, gingerly takes about five steps, and looks back at me as if to say, 'Why did you put this white crap here?' Then scurries in to the warmth of the fireplace.

Most of the time, rather than striking out in the wide, wild stretches of the pure white stuff, the animals stick close to the walls of our outbuildings. The side and back of the woodworking shop kind of looks like a critter highway with a mess of paw prints from any number of rodents, felines, dogs and whatever else is still roaming around and not hibernating.

Under the bird feeder, of course there was a lot of pretty little prints of the chickadees, juncos and sparrows' claws. Here's one that was particularly clear and large. Probably a squawking blue jay or a screeing starling.

We've also had the pleasure of seeing two or three different kinds of woodpeckers this year - including the pileated, downy and even a red-bellied one - which doesn't actually have a red belly - just a beautiful flaming stripe that goes over its head and halfway down its back. Unfortunately, I haven't been quick enough with the camera to catch them chowing down at the suet cage.

While I was wandering around the back pasture, I noticed tracks that I couldn't identify. They were a bit covered by snow, but I thought it may be some kind of game bird - bigger than the song birds, for sure, and even bigger than the crows, I think. But not as gigantic as the wild turkeys that we catch a glimpse of once in a while. I guess it will remain a mystery...

Finally, I thought I'd take a picture of the human tracks...which I think I had better start making if I want get done all that I need to accomplish today. Until next time!


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