We are in winter's icy thrall. All the snow bunnies out there are ecstatic save for real rabbits who stand out against a white backdrop, like a whore in a church pew. Plowmen, snowmobilers and birds of prey, pleased as punch. I'll explain.. Hang on a moment. Please.
I'm getting lazy, I grab the snow shovel next to the breezeway entrance and shovel a path to the driveway apron. Then I can stand there in my cozy, warm slippers while watching the dog take a dump. This critter is worse than her owner. Looking out of the breezeway at four measly inches of snow, she hesitates. "I ain't walking in that stuff." In a fit of pique, she'll pee directly in front of the door. She's born to run, She loves to explore, but only if I'm along with her. If I say ,"Let's go for a walk," she'll fly off her chair and race to the back door. If I'm not getting my coat on, she turns her head to one side as if saying, wait just a moment, "You said "Let's go for a walk. I'm not going."
This is the same dog, who will knowingly walk into a flying shovelful of snow as I clear the garage apron. In her estimation, her face, ears and muzzle are delightfully covered in white. It's some kind of game, I dumbly reinforced from the puppy days. For this person, shoveling has become a onerous task. I split the short approach to the garage into two halves pretending I'm the equivalent of a human snowplow. I toss a full shovel of snow to the left. Mandy races left hoping to be buried under the flying snow drift. Alternate to the right, she races to the other side of the driveway. Finally, I lose patience. "Get back," I tell her. Then, as if considering the alternative, getting shut in the house, she'll run to the fence line and pretend chase cars and trucks on the highway.
As a pretense of going for a walk I slip on the cardigan Dawn knitted me. Satisfied that I'm not going to bail on a promised walk-a-thon, the dog waits for me by garage edge. I walk out to the end of the hedge lined sidewalk. She ambles out into the snow covered potato/corn patch.
|Potato/corn patch at lower left.|
Mandy finally does her business. As she inspects the deposit, a bald eagle flies not more than ten feet over her head. Whoa. That's unusual. Leave my dog alone, please. With a new snow cover, hunting for mice and rodents is exceptional for owls and raptors. Quite often in the past, Mandy and I would discover furry remains of an owl dinner scattered over the berm or in the back yard. Hoot and Great Horned owls roost in the pine woods above the corn field across the road. Bald eagles sit on tree perches over the river. The river meanders across the highway, loops to the east, takes a hard right to the south creating an unusual geographical picture of twisted river-north, east and south within a short distance distance of our place. It's wonderful habitat for all birds as well as wildlife. In the top picture, beaver have currently created a swath six feet wide, where they have deftly chewed small willows off at the base and drug the trees to homes along the river bank.
|The road to the outside.|