The fourteen inches of snow we got last weekend are now just a memory. What I see today is about two inches of wet slush with a combination of rain and wet snow falling outside, temperature of 32 degrees. The way my little intermittent brook is flowing today we must have gotten well over an inch of rainfall yesterday. The outlet of my pond is flowing a full tube this afternoon with mink tracks in the snow around the open water.
I pulled all my pine Marten traps last Thursday and only got two this season. With the beechnut crop as good as it was, these little critters are hard to attract to any bait when they have nuts to eat. I didn’t see an influx of mice around the garage even with the big nut crop. I did have some chipmunks and a few gray and black squirrels move through my feeder area but not as bad as I thought it was going to be.
The Blue jays must have run out of nuts as their population around the feeders has gone up in the last week and some of those Jays, I think they were just getting a bite to eat and getting out of town. A couple other birds were just one day wonders, two Purple Finch and today I had a pair of Tufted Titmouse. Neither of these were banded so this is a different pair than I had a month ago. The Carolina Wren has been here on and off for a week now and you must be watching as it is only on the suet cake for a short time. One suet cake is on the backside of a tree so it might be there and I’m not seeing it. The Black Capped Chickadee population has grown and many of the ones I banded have moved south.
I’ve been checking Fifth Lake almost every day and the Hooded Merganser flock has grown to over twenty in the last week. The lake was nearly frozen over a couple days, but the inlet end has open water. This warm spell has it all open again and today there were a few Mallards mixed in with the Mergansers along the shoreline.
We went down to Trenton Trees on Saturday and got our Christmas tree after the rain washed all the snow off them. It is a nice tree and I got it up and mostly decorated the next day. The smell of fresh balsam in the house is nice. Growing up we mostly had to buy a tree as there weren’t very many growing in the wild around Ballston Spa. I spotted one once while hunting behind the house. I told my mother that I was going to get that tree. So, I went out with my little bow saw to capture this tree. There was some snow on the ground which would help me drag this tree home. As I got closer to the site, I saw drag marks in the snow and when I got there the tree was gone. So, Dad had to get a tree again that year. When I went to our little church that Sunday there was my tree all decorated up front by the piano. My neighbor Steve Barns had also had his eye on that tree and cut it for the church.
I remember going out with my mother and grandmother picking running pine in the woods out back. We would put it in burlap bags that grain came in to bring it home. We had metal wire hoops that we would string this on and make wreaths for the front door or hang in the house with a big red bow and few red berries on it. We even sold a few that we made.
The march of the toy soldiers has started, with a few in the windows and some on the stairs. Others that just came out of the hidey hole are still in repose on the bed upstairs. They will take their place in the next couple days guarding the house through this Christmas season. Some need some Elmers glue to put on some of their piece’s parts for another year so they can protect this place.
Snodeo is coming this weekend without much promise for any snow during this week. I think they will be waiting for a while looking at the forecast before they get out on the trails.
Other events are a free big opening at View Arts in Old Forge on Friday night the 8th at 5pm of three gallery shows that will be up most of the winter. A program at the Old Forge Library Tuesday night the 12th at 5PM, Folk Singers Cosby Gibson and Tom Stauble singing a variety of songs for the season.
Regular Big Game Season has ended, but there is a special 7 -day season in some WMU for Bow and Muzzleloading hunters. Check your Hunting Regulations Book for these units open until the 10th.
The forecast for snow doesn’t look good until the end of the month with rain and snow predicted for twelve different days, but that’s another story. See ya.
Photo above: Nutcrackers in Waiting