Monday, November 27, 2006

Quiet Day, Small Wonders

Yesterday was one of those quiet pearly winter days (although without snow) which we have come to cherish, a slow drive out to the Two Hundred Acre Wood, taking winding back roads all the way, and a few hours spent rambling among the trees and fallen leaves with old friends, human, feathered and furry.

The new bird feeders which we installed on Saturday are already being visited by flocks of chickadees, and the air was filled with their songs and happy whistles. The first order of the day was to check the feeders and ensure that the deer feeding stations are properly placed and configured for winter feeding.

In January when the snows are deep, there is little food for the birds, and the deer are unable to forage, having already consumed whatever cedar they can reach up and browse in the north woods. We will spend the balance of the season (sometimes on snowshoes and dragging a taboggan), cutting cedar for the deer and filling feeders for both the deer and birds, no matter how we feel and how cold and snowy it becomes here. We have promised our wild friends that we will feed them through the winter, and that they will never go hungry - our promise of sustinence is one of the essential tenets of a wild covenant formed many years ago, and it is honoured, no matter what the honouring entails.

There is always a small surprise waiting in the woods in Lanark if one potters along on the trails with open eyes and alert senses. Yesterday, I turned about suddenly on the trail and found myself face to face (or nose to nose) with a magnificent white-tail stag (or buck) wearing a splendid rack of antlers and a curious expression. Deer are inquisitive creatures, and they often accompany us on our travels, so this was not very unusual, but on my way back to the hill along the same trail, I was astonished to discover this tiny fragile web spanning a lacy tattered maple leaf on a tree close by. I wondered how on earth the spider was managing to survive this wind and cold, and where she was finding the energy to spin a web on such a day.


Unknown said...

Good morning Kerrdelune,

This post filled me with happiness, wonder, and gratitude. Your description of the walk made me feel like I was right there beside you. I think that you are one of the few people who would have noticed the spider.

I'm so inspired by your determination to help our bird friends through the winter. I went to a bird store to get a feeder, but then got so confused by the caveats, the do's and dont's and the high prices. Your post makes me want to go back and just buy one.

Rowan said...

How wonderful to be at such close quarters with the buck. Spiders I know little about but I rather thought that they hibernate or die in winter? I admire the beauty of their webs but they are the one thing I am terrified of - snakes, rats,bats, beetles etc I can handle but spiders...........
I hasten to say that I do have them relocated if they are in the house and occasionally I've found enough courage to do it myself when no-one else is here with the help of a glass and a postcard! The thought of them disappearing and not knowing where they are is even worse than doing something about!

Maya's Granny said...

It is so important to my sanity that, after visiting political blogs which are important to my staying in touch with the world of events, I can retire to your blog, and touch the reality that is the beauty of the natural world.