Saturday, March 2, 2013.
The Plan had been a morning hike for all three of us. Lee got a migraine, so Boo and I got to the park at lunch time. We ambushed S, a favorite naturalist, for a picnic on the floor, and Boo asked if she would join us on our hike. “Well, I need to work. But I can hike with you a little bit.” Picnic was cleaned up, and it was arranged.
Just outside the door, Boo picked up a stick and handed it to S. “What kind of stick it is? I think maple. See how the twigs come out across from each other?”
Slightly farther out, we came across a melted oval just next to the path. S told me it looked like a deer bed, and I called Boo back to ask what she thought. She didn’t know, but after looking for what could have made it melt, she decided it was a deer sleeping there. Why a deer? From the size. I then pointed out the deer prints and scat around the area.
We’d barely started walking when we saw a fallen wasp next in the snow. S poked carefully with a stick, though she assured me that she’s never seen wasps around the nest in the summer, and any there would be lethargic from the cold. That reassured me as Boo ripped into it with her hands. “What would wasps do to us?” S explained how stings hurt. Not more than being bitten by the snake, but still not fun. (I love how she just demystified being bitten by a snake into something that happens if you handle snakes enough. Not fun, but not a huge deal.)
Boo was running ahead, and S and I were commenting on how we don’t usually see so many interesting things on such a short hike, when Boo shouted back, “I found scat!!!” And so she had. Not deer or rabbit. Not coyote. Not turkey. We poked it apart with a stick and noticed there was some fur, it folded around on itself quite a bit, and there was a long string folded over on one end. Still no idea. Took a picture and made a mental note to check a field guide. After consulting 2 guides, our tentative ID is some sort of weasel.
At the end of the Prairie Path is a mown grassy area. Somebody had made some snowmen. We discussed why their stick eyes had melted long furrows into the faces. Then Boo tackled the smaller one to the ground.
Then S had to leave us to go back to work. Boo and I decided it was snack time. I saw three benches from where we were standing. “Boo, where is a good place to eat our snack?” She looked around, deep in thought. “Right here by the side of the path.” And so we did.
How was your weekend?