A herd of 5 deer have been visiting my hillside this winter. Today they stepped out of the woods over by the abandoned farm house and passed single file across the field over to the wild apple trees, where they lingered a short while. If there were any apples left on the ground under the snow, they can’t have been too appealing. Suddenly, one of the deer became very alert, and then they all quickly disappeared into the woods again. They are very pretty, looking healthy and plush with their winter fur.
A little Ruffed Grouse also makes an appearance from time to time. In the fall I saw it several times eating apples up along the path to the road. I never knew that grouse liked apples. Their plumage is so well camouflaged that I flushed this one more than once, not knowing it was nearby when I went outside. Lately I’ve been seeing it out on the road, between my house and the neighbor’s. It flies off into the woods when I approach in my car. I like to think it’s the same bird I’ve been seeing these past few months.
One of the delights of having snow on the ground is finding tracks of small rodents, which would never be visible without the snow to record them. When I walk up to the barn under the trees, I see where some small creature has passed over the snow from one little hole to another about 18 inches away, never seeming to go anywhere else. There is so much life going on around me here that I become more aware of when winter reveals the trails and signs.