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Walking a Snowy Trail at Sunset

Walking a Snowy Trail at Sunset

Walking a Snowy Trail at Sunset

We went to put the poultry up for the night but the ducks were napping in the last of the sunshine. Peaceful. Bills tucked under their wings, opening an eye to take a quick look, and then back to napping. I didn’t want to disturb them so we, me and the dogs, kept going. We went walking on a snow trail as the sunset. Steve packed the snow down with a snowmobile. I can walk to the food plot and wood yard now without snowshoes.

Zoemobile raced up and down the trail, mauling Ava on each pass. Ava ambled along behind me, tolerating Zoey as she always does (“Can’t you just kick her fluffy ass once, Ave? Make her stop.”), looking up and down the trail for squirrels she could chase. Zoey stayed on top of the icy crust under a few inches of snow as she tracked snowshoe hares. Zig zagging back and forth, she always looked back to me when I called her name. That’s a big improvement over last winter when she either didn’t hear me because she was in the bunny zone or ignoring me. We hadn’t had her long last winter. She wasn’t the best at minding me. Still isn’t but she did well yesterday.

Tracks!

I noticed tracks in the snow, covered by the light fluff that fell Friday night. The only thing the tracks told me was that whatever the predator is, it’s full grown. The distance between steps showed me an animal that is a bobcat or coyote. Bobcat didn’t feel right. We aren’t having that hard a winter and there are plenty of snowshoe hares to keep the cats fed. Or at least I think there are enough hares. Maybe there aren’t many when you go into the woods away from the house and food plot. If winter’s going to get hard on the bobcats we shouldn’t see evidence of it until February, still three weeks away. We haven’t had a coyote around since Eryn trapped our nuisance in November. There haven’t been any signs of a coyote around. Oh we know they’re around. We do live in the woods, after all. But not close. Not backyard food plot close. Mating season for coyotes starts the end of January. They’ll be moving around more soon. Or maybe now.

The empty memory cards for the game cameras were in the house. It was cold and a bit windy and I still needed to tend to the chickens and ducks. By the time I got them settled for the night and went to the house and back to the food plot it would be dark. The idea of looking at the pics and walking back to replace the cards after dark in this cold did nothing for me. Leaving the cameras empty wasn’t a great idea. If the animal walked by again there wouldn’t be cards to catch the pictures. And it was cold. Really cold. As curious as I was, I left the cards and planned to go back this morning to get them.

In the Woods

You can see the tracks in the first picture (taken this morning). The rest of the photos were taken last evening while we were walking.
tracks in the snowy food plotAva, walking in front of me for a change. She was looking at snowshoe hare tracks going into the trees. We’re walking out of the food plot to get to the wood¬† yard.

walking, Ava, English Shepherd, small farm, homestead, Zoemobile, racing around the wood yard.

walking, snowyOn our way back to the food plot.
walking, snowmobile trail
The almost full moon over the food plot. If you look closely you can see the trail stomped down by Steve on his snowshoes yesterday (Sunday) afternoon. He went out to the beaver bog to see what’s going on out there. They don’t seem to be active here right now but whatever walked through the edge of the food plot also walked out into the woods around the beaver lodge.walking, snowy trail, winter, food plotSunset through the trees. This is where I first noticed the tracks.¬† I think I have the answer to what made the tracks here.
winter sunset, through the trees, snow, food plot

 

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When Homesteaders Vacation

When Homesteaders Vacation

When Homesteaders Vacation

Where do homesteaders vacation? We’re surrounded by lakes, ponds and streams that provide plenty of fishing and paddling. We live in Maine, Vacationland. Going somewhere means losing our peace and quiet and privacy because few places are as secluded as our house. We talked about going to fish one of the Great Lakes in New York but didn’t want to spend that kind of money with me being 99% unemployed. We chose Fish River Lodge in Eagle Lake, a three hour and 15 minute drive from home. We took the boat and Ava and Zoey. My uncle tended the homestead for a couple of days, and Taylor came home for the weekend.

This is the first time we’ve taken our high needs dogs anywhere other than to camp, and I don’t think Zoey’s even been to camp yet. Ava’s seizures are triggered by stress, and Zoey has issues being away from home after being in five places with strangers in three months last year. They’ve never been in a boat and Zoey hated water. The first time I splashed a tiny bit of water from the pond on her she acted like I’d drenched her in acid. We knew this was going to be a challenge. And then there are dogs, which Ava is afraid of, and strangers, disliked by both. Yeah for taking dogs on vacay, right? homesteaders vacation

Fish River Lodge

Ava and Zoey immediately liked Tenley, manager at Fish River Lodge. A quick sniff sniff from A and Z, and they were friends. They did just as well with Tenley’s three dogs, and Zoey struck up a friendship with Tinkerbell. When A and Z were inside Tinkerbell came to the door and woofed to be let in. Huge milestones. Ava tossed her tennis ball to Gracie and they had a great time playing indoors and out. When we let Zoey off the leash she had a short romp with Tinkerbell and came right back. Progress. homesteaders vacation

We went to Soldier Pond on Friday morning. I thought we were going to a pond named Soldier. We went to a town named Soldier Pond and fished in the Fish River. Fish River Lodge is in and on Eagle Lake. Huh? Steve asked if I looked at a map when we made these plans. <blink blink> Map? nooo. He caught fish in Fish River and I caught a couple of alders. The local warden stopped to chat. I thought for sure I’d be asked for my fishing license for the first time ever. He didn’t. He did give us some tips on flies, where to go in the river, and agreed I was in the best spot for me because “it’s wide open.” See the alder comment above…he was right.

Eagle Lake

We fished in Eagle Lake Friday afternoon and all day Saturday. The warden checked boats, keeping 20feet between his boat and others until he came to us. He pulled up beside me and we grabbed each others boats for stability. I was ready to whip out my license but again, he didn’t ask. He sent us to Mad Rock to find salmon, but we didn’t. Without down riggers we couldn’t get down to the salmon showing up on the fish finder 20 feet and more below the surface.

Fish River Lodge, Eagle Lake, homesteaders vacation
Red Bank, Eagle Lake, bass boat
beach, homesteaders vacation, picnic table
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, homesteaders vacation, Maine Lab Rescue, Fish River Lodge
salmon lures, bass boat, homesteaders vacation, Fish River Lodge
Gary Sibley, Maine game warden, homesteaders vacation
Ava LOVES to swim. LOVES it. homesteaders vacation, English Shepherd, working farm dogAnd now Zoey doesn’t hate the water, but she’s not in love yet. She does go in over her belly! Not far enough to get the stick. Ava retrieved it for her. The Labrador Retriever x Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever doesn’t retrieve in water deeper than her belly…yet.zoey swims

 

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