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Pat’s Bits and Pieces – Spring, and the wildlife returns

PatWell it is looking like spring out there. The snow is receding fast, the yard is demanding attention – and needs raking and the roads are a mess again with potholes on the pavement and ankle deep mud holes on the dirt roads.

I know we will still get some winter snow this month, after all Old Man Winter is dragging his heels in, and not very anxious about leaving, but there are more and more warm days and some of our grass is actually showing green shoots.

Has anyone noticed any early spring blooms yet?

The wildlife that has been holed up somewhere waiting out the winter months is back too. This week we lost an almost new suet feeder. The last one was destroyed by a resident family of raccoons, so we went out and bought a sturdier version, hooked it up to the feeder with a chain and congratulated ourselves that we had outsmarted the nocturnal visitors for sure this time.

Jack woke up to a banging sound as the raccoon was dragging the whole contraption away a night or two ago.

We think that rascal may have dragged it under the deck to have a little extra time to figure out how to get at the suet cakes inside those locked wire baskets…

We have also noticed fresh piles of dirt in the places where the snow has melted away, a sure sign that our moles are back again too. With 4 ½ acres here, we have never figured out an economical way to get rid of those little underground pests.

We have tried poison in the tunnels and Jack even bought smoke bombs once and spent an entire afternoon sitting outside with a gun to shoot them when they came up for air. Guess what, they never popped up a single little head, but he did get a bit of sunburn for all his trouble.

Now we just rake and stomp the hills down and reseed the bare spots.

They aren’t the only ones who like our yard either. At night, the skunks in the neighborhood come around looking for those delicious grubs too. We find holes here and there throughout the yard where they have been digging, and sometimes an odor lingers in the air in the morning…

A family of deer has also taken up residence in the back yard at night. When Jack got home after work last night he said they were all out there lying in a group. Guess they like the new green grass too.

I have even seen them in the yard when I am outside sitting in the sun occasionally. They don’t seem to be very worried about me and just watch to make sure I stay close to the house.

We sure have been having some nice days out there. As I write this I am sorely tempted to slip outside and just sit in the sunshine for a bit. You have to enjoy the nice days when you can after all.

When I can get away from the computer, I have been watching all of the activity at the feeders. The goldfinches are turning yellow again and we have a ton of them frantically looking for a bite to eat.

Jack keeps filling them and they keep emptying those feeders, now almost on a daily basis.

I have even seen an otter in the yard and although no mallard couples have been in the river, we have seen a Canadian goose floating around and this week a black and white duck. I looked through my bird book, but didn’t find a picture like him in there. Now I am wondering what kind he is. Jack thinks he is a wood duck.

I have a picture, if Mike has room this week, maybe one of you can help me out with what kind he – or she is.

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