Setting at my home office computer with a glance out the window can be very rewarding as we chill out and spend less time outside. This morning I watched a blue jay hop down the top of the stone wall that bounds my lot from the neighbors old pasture. I kept a pony and horse in that field for years. The blue jay suddenly paused, looked down, and pulled out what looks like the remains of a pizza crust from within the rocky warren. Yes we did have pizza yesterday and as always I did toss out the edges for the birds. So maybe this one was not hidden for weeks but any reading about blue jays will tell you that they can remember where they hid food months before. Wish I had a blue jay's memory.
Funny how a stone wall is such an super highway. If I'm off hiking or hunting in the woods I have always paid close attention on approaching a stone wall. Lots of animals hide in them and because of that lots of other animals hunt them. Yes I have seen weasels poring in and out of a stone wall. There is always the remains of something along the walls of what critters have been feeding on in the area. Mushrooms to acorns and maybe the cob from a local farmers corn crop. What's on the menu locally is simply advertised there.
I did get up to my camp in Maine this week for a few days of deer hunting as I have done for close to a half century now. My son in law and I woke up Tuesday morning to a surprise inch or two of snow. It was mostly gone by mid afternoon. How brilliant it makes the woods. As I sat Tuesday late morning it was the length of the shadows cast on that white carpet that awed me the most. Gee why at near mid day did the tree shadows stretch atop the new fallen snow nearly as tall as the tree that cast them. Yes the Earth tilt away from the sun was clearly measurable by the lengths of these shadows. Darkness crept into these same woods by just after four thirty as well.
That's one thing about slowing down and getting into the woods to deer hunt. Yes you are looking for a deer, but you see so much else! Sure you could be hiking through the woods and see these same things. But who does? Hunting slows you way down. I mean lots of stops to analyze everything within your view to see if you might actually be looking at a deer. Generally you'd be lucky if you spot an ear or flicking tail. But in "deer woods" everything is noticed. While yes you may be deer hunting, the fact is, you are actually studying the woods. So you notice the little things and then you play them out in your mind and fit them into the bigger picture. So you end up "knowing" the woods. Who lives there. What are they feeding on. Why they travel where they do. And who is doing what and likely why. So while attempting to figure out the riddle of the deer who live there you end up learning about lots of the other things that live there and why these woods are like they are.
The towering white pine trees out my window are still laden with pine cones. Acorns are abundant here locally and they where in Maine. This portends for a good winter for lots of wildlife who are lucky enough to be where the acorns are abundant. All the fields remain very green. I am seeing flocks of geese feeding on these fields of green. This week I also saw a flock of snow buntings and juncos. So now the winter birds are arriving in numbers.