26 February finds me captivated by the soft snow "toques" on the Wild Cucumber pods. This one is hanging down low from the vine draping over the barnyard fence. Its translucent membrane almost seems to glow from within like a little lampshade. Last night's fresh snow is tracked by Hares and Cottontails where I walked with the dog "out back" in the morning. Grouse tracks lace across the path from a low-branched Cedar, and my boots slipped sideways over the hard irregularities of the old crust below the soft fluffy stuff. Suddenly a Ruffed Grouse flushes, exploding from a curtain of Cedar boughs close beside us, and Marigold dashes off in the direction of the whirring wings. Sometimes fleeing Grouse hit the sides of light-coloured buildings, perhaps taking them for openings in the trees.
Showing posts from February, 2011
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20 February finds me at the kitchen table with a live Mudpuppy in a shallow basin for reference as I press and smooth with my fingers a handful of flesh-coloured modelling compound. Pictured here is my first finished sculpture, painted yesterday and posed on black velvet for a photo shoot. The live Mudpuppy becomes restless and starts to splash with its tail, so I return it to the ice-lined bucket with its fellows. Zero degrees is "room temperature" for winter Mudpuppies, and it is at this season that they are most active, feeding and wandering about on the bottom at night. In Oxford Mills they are easily seen by headlamp and searchlight. We have been studying this population every Friday night for 12 years and have not found another site where they are so visible and conducive to long term monitoring and public education. See Mudpuppy Night in Oxford Mills