12/16/2013 10:49:00 AM Publisher's Column
Our wild neighbors seem to be enjoying the winter
Our deer seem to be enjoying the winter.
I know they aren't really our deer but it is awful easy to claim them as they spend so much time in our yard and provide so much entertainment. It is hard to imagine that they get much to eat, when they are grazing through the snow on the lawn, but they are out there almost every day for a leisurely dinner. There always seems to be one that has guard duty, who is paying more attention to what is happening around the area. Usually it is the old doe, I assume she is mother to the rest of the bevy. So far this winter they seem to be doing pretty well. They seem more curious than frightened by our movement and are very tolerant of us watching them from the car. I wonder if they are aware just how visible they are now that everything is white with snow.
Our bird feeders are always busy. This year we have a pileated woodpecker that is making a daily visit to the suet feeder. He is definitely the top of the food chain at that feeder. Sometimes there are squabbles between birds for the suet but when the pileated woodpecker shows up everyone else hangs back and waits their turn. Except an occasional chickadee. The chickadees are feisty little beggars, seemingly not afraid of anything. When we look out at the feeder right under our hall window, every bird heads for safety. If we just wait a bit, the chickadees are the first ones to fly in and grab something to eat. After a couple chickadees have safely made a few trips to the feeder some of the larger birds will chance it. The birds, too, seem to be handling the winter pretty well.
The chickens are doing well, too, despite the cold. Sunday, there were 18 eggs, that is an egg per hen, which is pretty good. One of the eggs didn't have a shell, just a thick membrane. I can't recall ever having a chicken lay an egg with no shell before, although I've heard of it. It looked like a regular egg while it was lying in the nest, but it really felt odd when I started to pick it up-not at all what I expected.
Squirrels didn't pick up our walnuts this year. The nuts are little lumps in the yard. I see a squirrel come and get one occasionally. I'm hoping its a sign winter will be short-the squirrels knew it and avoided the bother of burying the walnuts.
I find it hard to believe it is that time again but it is, Merry Christmas.