Today, I walked down to the boats for the first time since it snowed the first couple inches. I suppose the snow is about a foot or so deep now but I managed to chisel my husband out of the house to pack trails a few days ago, so I had a packed trail to walk on. I needed to go down and get the last of the gas out of the big boat's tanks - yeah, we're almost out.
Walking is my time for thinking, and since today was blog day, that's what I was thinking about. Where did my thoughts go? Winter of course. I love winter as any of you who have read my previous posts surely have guessed. Winter is quiet. Winter is clean and white, though by no means sterile.
Along the way I saw mouse tracks, I saw where a squirrel had crossed the trail definitely more than once as he jumped down from one tree, ran across the trail and up another tree, and then back, maybe three or four times. And I saw moose tracks.
Though life has become easier for me, life for them likely has not. The squirrel screwed up and put his stash in a tree he didn't live in, or maybe it was his intention, but did he forget that the trail is there? He couldn't have; it is where it has always been ever since we've moved here.
Maybe the mouse's life has become easier though. He no longer has to worry so much about aerial predators though Gizmo still dives after where she thinks they might be.
The moose, though, is different from them all. No food stores. No cozy hidy-hole. No comforting, if cold, buffer from the outside world. Moose need to keep moving, to keep eating. I thought to compare them to the buffalo who are also designed by nature to handle deep snow. In contrast though, where the buffalo was made to shove through the snow with powerful shoulders, the moose was designed with long legs, maybe some shoving still gets done but mostly they are designed to 'part the way' or step over it.
Life is really hard for moose babies. They are born small when compared to their mothers. Really short from chest to butt and yet oddly long from shoulder to ground. This thought reminded me of a Shetland pony colt born to the pony my dad got me for Christmas when I was a kid. It was such a tiny thing; I simply had to measure it. Amazingly enough that little guy was exactly two foot square - from chest to butt and from shoulder to ground - two feet each way. I will never forget that. A baby moose isn't much bigger really. Maybe a few inches longer in the body, and maybe twice that in length. They grow fast during that first summer, but come winter, they must be able to keep up with momma. And momma? Well momma doesn't always take the easiest route just because she has a little one around.
When the snow gets deep, moose trails can be found most anywhere. They are quite stubborn creatures, taking little thought as to where they are going or the best way to get there. Line of sight will do. This way. That way. This bush or that. Across the river, fine - away they go, frozen, not frozen, it doesn't seem to matter. When the snow gets really deep, chest deep on an adult moose, they will start to hang to snowmachine trails - they aren't entirely stupid - and late in winter, they will contest their rights to the trail if pushed too hard.
This winter, I'll be missing much of that. I like the wildlife. Sometimes I see an otter playing in the snow as he travels from wherever to wherever. Occasionally I see a coyote, but Gizmo doesn't allow them to get close, plus I think they avoid the place because of her, and perhaps our, scents and sounds.
Ravens are the funniest of my winter guests. Once was the time one particular raven would come and play with our dog, but Gizmo doesn't play well, so he doesn't come by so much anymore. Haha - that's a funny story. Remind me to tell you about it in my next post.
See ya then.
Ack - I just thought of another one. Remind me to tell you about the otter that decided to stay under the house for a few days.