Fall Walks

Muskrat in the back pond

Muskrat in the back pond

October 19 – It has been quite a nice day, once things warmed up a bit. Until then we just stayed inside and after giving up on the computer for a while, we sat and read. Finally Chris said she wanted to go for a walk, so we put on our wraps and sallied forth. Yesterday we went for a walk too but I kept mostly in the sunshine and avoided shady lanes. Today we had on our warmer clothes and headgear and I for one was quite comfortable. Even the wind seemed fairly warm, from the south.

After a while we approached the pond, and there at the other end was a dark blob that we suspected was a muskrat, which it turned out to be. As we got nearer, other blobs began moving around and there must have been about five muskrats there. Some swam away, some stayed on the shore and continued nibbling on something in the water. One of them stayed on for quite a while and we were fairly close to it and Chris got several pictures. I am still intrigued by their vertically flattened tails.

Greenbriar no longer connected to it's host tree

Greenbriar no longer connected to it’s host tree

Any of you nature lovers would have been interested in a very long greenbrier vine that we found on our walk today, and pulled down out of a tree. I didn’t think they grew that long. Oddly, this one was not thorny, so I had no problem getting the whole thing down onto the ground so Chris could take its picture. Many are very thorny and hard to handle.

Our chestnut crop is all harvested and in the freezer now, and the squirrels will have to find something else to nibble on. For a while they were getting all the nuts that fell from the highest burrs that we could not reach with our rake. The black walnut harvest on our property was poor this year and we did not even gather up the few nuts that fell. The squirrels took those too and either planted them somewhere or ate them. In a newspaper we saw an ad by someone offering to even come and gather up the nuts under trees in yards where the owners did not want them. Oddly, some trees bore well and others did not. Our walnut trees did have quite a good crop of webworms, though.

Osage orange after squirrel attack

Osage orange after squirrel attack

During our walk, we found several large osage orange fruit lying on the ground under their tree and noticed that one of them had been well gnawed by a squirrel, seeking the seeds at the center. During the winter squirrels feed on these fruits as they get hungrier and hungrier. The osage crop was not a big one this year, but some years the fruit lie so thickly on the ground that we have to throw them into the adjacent woods in order to mow the lawn.

At church last weekend the list of folks on the nominating committee was read – five of them, plus two alternates in case one of the regulars was ill or unable to attend a meeting. Somehow I am “privileged” to be one of the committee members. Now we are just waiting for Harvey to phone and say when the first meeting will be. Despite his broken leg, we understand that he will be chairing the meetings.

The church was sure cold during services! The temperature was somewhere in the 50’s, as nobody had set the thermostat to a more comfortable level. We had a guest speaker but by the time he arrived, things were warming up. This man always brings with him printed sheets with all his texts and the wording printed on them, and everybody gets to have one to follow along on. A friend of mine in Tennessee is also a member of the nominating committee in his church, and he is the church treasurer as well, and is also often asked to teach Bible classes in church. I am glad he is a friend and not me!

Stapelia just before being moved inside

Stapelia just before being moved inside

My houseplants are all in the front room now, lined up on a low table in front of the big window. In the front of them are four stapelia plants, all in bloom. There are ten large blossoms, and these will be the last until next year.  As mentioned in previous posts, these flowers have a bad, carrion odor that attracts pollinating flies, so you can imagine how ten must smell, with no breezes to carry away any of the fragrance. My easy chair sits right next to their table, which does not improve my appetite at mealtimes!

And thus endeth the account of our recent activities here at the Fairchild residence for the moment. There will be more to follow in due time. – DALE

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