Sunday, October 13, 2013
Last night’s rain cleared away some of the clouds and we woke to a fairly nice morning. Temps today were much cooler than yesterday, but I still managed to sit out on the porch with my camera, trying to catch a few more photos of the many birds. This morning we had two new visitors, a dark-eyed junco and a tufted titmouse. I was so happy to see the titmouse. We used to see lots of them here, but the past few years their appearance has been very spotty. They always make me smile. All the regulars were here too: the blue jays (devouring the peanuts as quickly as I could put them out), chickadees, white-breasted nuthatches, hairy woodpeckers and downy woodpeckers.
Mark made us bacon and eggs for breakfast and then we had to tackle the weekend-worth of dishes that we had allowed to pile up. That chore finished, I stripped the bed and put on the flannel sheets and electric blanket so Mark will stay toasty warm when he comes up for opening day of deer season in mid-November. I tried not to allow myself to become too depressed, knowing I won’t be back until Thanksgiving. The two of us tag-teamed the storm windows and got them on pretty quickly, so Mark didn’t have too much time to grumble about that task that he hates so much. Seems like just yesterday he was complaining about putting in the screens! Ah, summer just flew by too quickly.
Unfortunately, by time we got all our chores done, the sun had disappeared and the day had turned cloudy, breezy and cold. Of course a few clouds never prevent us from going out on a hike. Mark drove to an area by Blue Jay Trail where he figured there wouldn’t be too many bird hunters and we enjoyed a very peaceful walk. The woods were gold and glorious despite the gloom of the day.
As we headed back toward our vehicle, the dogs got on a scent and started yipping and howling, dragging us along. We laughed because the only wildlife we had seen was a bushy-tailed gray squirrel that had bounded down the path. Their excitement seemed a bit extreme for that one little critter. Mark commented that they were going to have every coyote in the area come running. As we topped the last hill near where we were parked, we looked down and what did we see? A coyote not five feet from the back of our vehicle!! That really sent the dogs into a frenzy and even though the coyote turned tail and ran back up the track, we had a hard time getting the dogs loaded in the FJ. They wanted to stay on the chase!
As Mark drove back toward the trailer, I convinced him to detour down one more trail, trying to delay having to face packing up and leaving for as long as possible. He drove to the back side of Sportsmen Dam and we walked the dogs through the rye fields where we have often see elk in the past. Today, not a creature was stirring in the woods or fields. My heart was heavy knowing this was our last hike for the year. When we come back up for Thanksgiving we won’t be able to go tramping through the woods because of all the hunters. If we take the dogs out at all we will have to stick to the roads where it’s safer. As usual on our last day here, I whined to Mark, “I don’t want to go home!”
Of course return could not be postponed indefinitely. I warmed up the leftover vegetable soup for our lunch and made some grilled cheese, a nice hearty lunch to warm us up from all our hiking. We sat at the table in front of the kitchen widow, enjoying the birds for one last time. It always breaks my heart just a little to bring all the feeders inside before we leave.
An hour or so later the dirty laundry was packed, the fridge cleaned out, the bird bath emptied, bird feeders were stowed away, electricity turned off and we were heading down the driveway. Someday, I comforted myself, someday we won’t have to leave.