Muskrat Love

IMG_9271.JPG

“I hear you knocking but you can’t come in!” . . . .

By coincidence, I was in the basement reorganizing jars of last year’s canned goods to make room for the current crop when I heard a “scritch-scratch” noise coming from the window well.  It was very difficult to see what was making such a commotion through 100-year-old window panes so stained you cannot see through the glass.   I could observe movement and a shadow running back and forth, but could not see what creature might be in such a frenzy.

I assumed we might have an eager pack rat trying to dig his way into the basement. We have had these pesky visitors before.  They make a terrific mess and their downright thievery of a variety of small objects which they tuck into their nests is a nuisance.  Dad had a solution and would go for his pistol.  Sometimes it took several loud, booming shots before he would emerge victorious with a dead packrat.  There are still bullet holes in the basement walls.

I went outside to get a closer look and there was a fat, furry little brown creature with a long tail scuttling around frantically trying to climb out of the window well.  It was too big to be a packrat, and I didn’t want to deal with it.   I called for help.

IMG_9276.JPG

“Out of the frying pan, into the fire!” . . . .

Michael brought the live trap and after some maneuvering, was able to capture what was clearly a muskrat.  But muskrats are water creatures.  What was it doing so far from the pond, half a mile away?

IMG_9278.JPG

“There must be some mistake!” . . . .

There was only one solution.  Take it to the pond and hope that is where it lives.  If not, it will perhaps find a new home more appropriate than a concrete window well.

IMG_9281 (2).JPG

“There is no place like home . . . there is no place like home!” . . . .

The muskrat took off down the bank of the pond as fast as its little feet would carry it.  It seemed pretty familiar with the terrain and didn’t hesitate to jump in the water.  It swam right to the den on the bank of the pond and disappeared from our view.

IMG_9285 (2).JPG

A happy ending . . . .

Little Musky is home at last, and we hope he or she decides to stay put.  We can only wonder what led it to our window well.  Lover’s quarrel?  Doing lunch?  Checking out the real estate?  Only Musky knows.

 

 

 

Daycare for Deer

We’re hungry! When is mom going to return? . . . .

These fawns are busy grazing and don’t seem to mind that they have been left in a “nursery” of sorts while the female deer, or does, are searching for food or a drink at the pond.  They seem to be faring quite well, in spite of a hot, dry summer with little rain to keep the grasses growing. Soon they will be browsing on leaves and tender branches from the trees and bushes in the area.  We hope there will be enough forage for these fawns to thrive and survive their first Wyoming winter!

Garden Toil Brings Rewards

The wonders of spring, ahhhh . . . .

Flower and vegetable gardens take an amazing amount of work, but when we lift our eyes to see what grows when we pour in a little love (and lots of water), it becomes clear what we were striving for. I transplanted this bleeding heart from my garden in Colorado many years ago, and it has never failed to bloom in its new home.  Since the deer have been fenced from the yard the flowers and shrubs have been thriving.  A seriously dry spring and early summer could lead to attempts by the deer to “have dinner on us!”  We’ll hope for the best.  A few highlights follow.

Everybody smile now, for the photoshoot! . . . .

Pansies were blooming in April and kept up this glorious color into July.  What precious colors and sweet faces!

We bloomed first! . . . .

A new bed of daffodils was planted, along with some other bulbs, in celebration of the fact that a fence just might work and the deer would have to look longingly from outside.

One of the “old faithfuls” that have grown here forever, this iris never fails to delight.

The Colorado state flower! . . . .

Columbines re-seed each year, and are so prolific they don’t make room for others in the garden if they aren’t carefully selected.  They are hardy, drought resistant and absolutely gorgeous.

What are all these ants doing in my hair? . . . .

Peonies are favorites, and the fragrance of their fresh-cut blooms fill the house with their sweet scent.  They all seem to bloom at once, and a few ants arrive along with a bouquet, but it is worth the wait each year to enjoy them, if only for a short time.

My purple is better than your purple! . . . .

The tall spires of delphinium in the background vie with the lovely lavender blooms in the foreground.  This colorful bounty has been drawing bumblebees and butterflies to the garden, and makes it hard to consider cutting them for arrangements.  Time to get out the watering can, look for spent blossoms to deadhead, pull a few weeds, and do the work required to enjoy this bounty of flowers.

Bill the Prairie Dog

How nice to make your acquaintance . . . .

Bill the prairie dog is fat and sleek from all that lush grass.  He lives under the neighbor’s deck near our cabin in the mountains, and was quite`curious about our activities when we opened up for the season.  He seemed unafraid and a little shy, but the kind of guy you could grow to love (if he didn’t dig burrows in the lawn and bring all his friends and raise his  pups at a rapid pace and eat all that grass . . . . . . .).

Just Bill . . . .

Deerly Beloved

Anyone brave enough to try the garden fence? . . . .

Our deerly friends abound after a dry spring with little rain.  They gaze down on the green expanse of lawn, shrubs and garden with great interest, and we are thankful for the new fence that keeps them at bay.  We do welcome their presence–just not inside the yard!   They are shedding their winter coats and look thin and scruffy, but will be sleek and fat in no time.  Does, or female deer, will be giving birth in June and will keep their fawns hidden from view for most of the summer.  We try to walk carefully around the secluded areas they choose each summer to sequester their babies.

deer herding guinea fowl who won’t get “out of my way” . . . .

A loud squawking of guinea fowl erupted outside the office window and a hilarious encounter of a young buck deer and the guineas turned into a rout.  The young deer seemed curious and tried to approach the guineas by reaching his head down to examine them closer.  They did not appear to like this intrusion, but held their ground and clamored for him to leave.  He snorted, humped his back, jumped into the air, and shook his stubby little horns at them in a macho display that had little effect.  Then, apparently disgusted and with his pride in tatters, he attempted to depart but found his path blocked by two of the guineas who simply refused to be hurried along.  Guinea girls are not to be messed with!

lunch among the ruins . . . .

Snapping a shot of the deer grazing among the old relics was hard to resist.  They pass through the area on the way to the pond for a drink of water each day, usually stopping to nibble a few leaves from the lilac or chokecherry bushes.