Sunday, September 13, 2009

Beetles, weasels, and sleet, oh my!

I'm not sure if we've mentioned these guys before:
These mule deer are incredibly ubiquitous around here. We see them browsing every evening around dinner time or so. There are about three adults and two juveniles that hang around in town.

It's beginning to feel more like fall- cool breezes and more stormy weather. Since we're in a valley surrounded by mountains, we expect our first snowfall pretty soon, probably in late September. That snow, we're told, will melt quickly and the 'real' snow won't come until mid to late October. Yesterday we got a taste of what's to come with a chilly storm. There was quite a lot of sleet and loud thunder!
In preparation for winter, we started stacking our wood today. The weather was brisk, but sunny, and we definitely made a dent in our big pile-o-wood. You can compare this picture with the earlier one of our cabin. The pile really is much smaller!

While packing, we found some critters who had been content inhabitants of the wood pile before we so rudely disturbed them. This longhorn beetle (of the family Cerambycidae) was hanging out on one of the pieces of wood.

And also, a short-tailed weasel (Mustela erminea)! This weasel kept darting in and out of the wood pile as we removed pieces. It was clearly distressed that we were removing such a fabulous small-mammal house from our yard. I'm sure it will make a new home below the big stacks of wood now surrounding our cabin. Both Thayer and I are really hoping that it will make some meals out of the mice that have been giving us trouble.In other news of animals hunting for meals, we saw our fox grab a chipmunk this evening. The fox was walking down the road, stopped and looked to the side, and then suddenly pounced into the tall grass. We had heard from our neighbors (who have now left for the season) that the younger foxes are pretty inept hunters, but this guy seemed to do just fine. Although I sincerely doubt that hunting for small mammals is that challenging, considering there are sizable abundances here.

One last thing before I sign off. We had noticed an espresso maker up on a shelf when we moved in, and yesterday we got it down to see how broken it was. And it wasn't! Well, it is missing a piece that prevents me from actually brewing espresso, but the milk steamer is working great! I have reveled in this new discovery by drinking lots of lattes (with coffee brewed in a french press) over the past two days. Now, unfortunately, I'm running alarmingly low on coffee. Oh dear, I suppose we'll have to make a town trip soon.

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