I am sorry to report that the news from WCORN is not the best. The Wild Critter Observation and Reporting Network reports that, for whatever reason, our friends, the red-shouldered hawks, have abandoned their nest in the big maple tree near the Fodderstack Road. Scientists who study nature will tell you that, sometimes, even the act of observation will change the nature of the subject being observed. I hope that is not the case with the hawks. We observed them from the house, with binoculars. I suspect they found the activity of the well-traveled Fodderstack and my wife’s work in the nearby hosta bed to be too much for them. Can’t say as I blame them, but I was looking forward to watching them raise a family.
In other news from the Network, some of you will recall the article or two that I wrote last summer about the snapping turtles. A large female snapper laid a clutch of eggs in one of Linda’s flower beds, and later we found a number of the little ones and helped them to the stream.
Last week while working on a recalcitrant lawnmower, my bride came and told me there was a large snapper in the middle of the road. She said she tried to pick him up, but he hissed and snapped at her. Then, with the help of a neighbor and a passing motorist, they tried to scoop him up in a big bucket, but he bit the bucket. I observed that maybe he was trying to tell them to leave him alone.
They were successful, finally, in getting him to the other side of the road, where it appeared he was headed. Linda went to the store or the post office, and came back an hour later and reported that the snapper was, again, in the middle of the road. Unfortunately, when she went to check on him again, he was in our yard, near the little stream, but pretty beat up. From closer observation, we could see that his shell was broken in several places, and his right front leg had blood on it. He had obviously been struck by a vehicle. We will watch him, but I don’t think he is going to make it. I thought about putting him out of his misery. I can’t stand to see anything suffer, man or beast, but I decided to let nature take its course.
In other news, my father used to say this: Even a blind hog will find an acorn once in awhile. If you have done some hunting for the delicious morel mushrooms but were not successful, you should consider giving it another try. My friends who hunt them are going to give me the dickens for writing this, but the morels seem to be quite plentiful this year. I have already eaten too many at least once, and look forward to doing it again. Dear reader, gluttony is normally considered a sin. Ask my pastor. But it is pretty easy to justify when you are talking about morels. Make sure you know what you are eating. I have read too many obituaries, lately.
I hope the big storm didn’t inconvenience you too much. Thanks to VDOT for a job done well and promptly. The waters came down through the garden, cut a trench, and washed a bunch of my recently planted potatoes into the grass. I have stuck them back in the ground and now wait patiently for the good earth to nourish them to the surface. Then I shall begin my annual war with the potato bugs. Until next time, stay well, and enjoy this beautiful place where we are blessed to live.