Monday, November 07, 2011

No drama

My weekend wish for no weather drama was granted. The weather was calm in every aspect, which gave me the chance to more fully observe the season than is possible in the middle of a snowstorm with no electricity. Today’s photo looks to me like a quintessential November evening—thick clouds in an overcast sky, geese in the forefront and the remnants of fall’s brilliant autumn display turning to duller, deeper shades in the background.

Over the weekend I was raided by raccoons again for the first time since early spring. In the few moments it took me to stagger our of bed in the middle of the night, awakened by Baby Dog’s frantic barking, one very large raccoon managed to destroy not one but both of the new bird feeders I’d gotten for this year. It’s because of raccoon predation that I virtually never have a bird feeder that lasts more than a single season. It’s not common to lose both of them within a few weeks of setting them out, though. One of them might be repairable or at least usable. The second has disappeared entirely. The next night an opossum showed up, no doubt disappointed that nothing was left to raid.

I always have resident Canada geese here on Roundtop, but ever since September, the number of them that appear to be residents is increasing. Roughly 17 live here full time. That’s 3 pairs of parents and the surviving number of goslings from the spring. In October that number grew to 36, and on Friday evening I counted 75. I don’t know where the other ones are coming from or why they suddenly prefer Roundtop’s ponds to wherever they came from. But they are here now and will likely remain until the pond is iced in.

The nights are cold enough now that skim ice forms in puddles or the chicken water, though the ice still disappears pretty quickly in the morning. So far, I haven’t seen ice on any of the ponds yet. I think even a slight breeze ripples the ponds too much for them to freeze when the temperature is only a few degrees below freezing.

For me, the quiet weather this past weekend was much appreciated. I have long understood that living where I do, as I do, puts me a lot closer to the vagaries of poor weather than more urban dwellers experience.  For the most part, I enjoy that closeness even when the weather is poor.  Having a town or a city shield someone from nature just makes it easier for them to feel that nature is something "other," something apart from their everyday life.  I never want to feel that way.  Our earth needs more understanding about its mechanics, not less.  That said, for once I was glad the weekend didn't provide me with anything extreme to experience. 


Scott said...

Carolyn, let me share my "raccoon proof" feeder arrangement with you--for what it's worth. I have mounted a wooden "hut-style" feeder on the top of a 5-1/2-foot piece of galvanized steel electrical wiring conduit. (You can get the folks at Home Depot to put a threading on the end of the conduit, and many bird feeding stores sell a metal flange that you can attach to a wooden feeder and then screw onto the threaded end of the conduit.) Below the mounted feeder, I've got two squirrel baffles attached to the metal conduit/pole. The whole arrangement is more than 10 feet from the closest tree. In my 23 years of using this set-up, I've never had a squirrel or raccoon successful breach the battlements (though I did have problems with flying squirrels for a while). The only times I've had to replace the feeder have been the two times that huge sycamore limbs have come crashing down, crushing the feeder. Good luck!

Carolyn H said...

Scott: I wish I could do something like you have, but that wouldn't work for me. The feeders are on my back deck so I can see them. And I don't have any place on my property where the nearest tree is more than 10 feet away. (sigh)

Cicero Sings said...

No drama is good. Love the colours in the picture.