Monday, October 18, 2010

(17) From Observation Hill

October 18, 2010

     Greetings from "Observation Hill"  This photo is my desk situated on the East side of my tiny cabin.  From here I do, well, what I do; observe.  I also, write, draw, read, eat and of late have been planning the next volume of "Realm of the Eighty" The Biota of the Realm with views from "Observation Hill".  In this next volume I will have begun to examine the Biota of the Realm which is vast and could probably not be accomplished in a single lifetime but I will enjoy exploring what I can, while I can.  Also I will include details of my observation center, also known as "Observation Hill".  Plans include details about the remodeling of the cabin, Essays about personal thoughts, poetry and generally what I am thinking.  The book will be in three parts including;  Photography, drawings and sketches.
     Fall is upon us and we have had an excellent October, blessed with warm weather.  There has been an observed shift in the seasons as noted by summer birds leaving, more year-round bird activity.  Bears getting fat and ready for winter and the Deer have changed their colors.  I see less of my Chipmunk friends.  They have to be fat and sassy as they have not had to rely on gathering as usual but have full storage rooms of sunflower seeds, probably enough for several life times.

This picture was captured last night by my trail cam just a few feet from my front door.  Even though the resolution is not great you can easily see these bears are fat and happy.  The Sow, I guesstimate at between three hundred and fifty and four hundred pounds.  The cubs, who will stay with "Mom" for about a year are about eighty to ninety-five pounds.  The first time I saw them last spring, they were about fifteen to twenty pound, little balls of fur!  I give them a few goodies now and then to help fatten them up even more.  

    My experiences here thus far have been more than fulfilling.  



 I built this fence around the compound as an experiment to deter Bear and Deer from coming into the compound and destroying things.  I have succeeded in deterring the Deer but the Bear are still climbing over somehow and knocking over the bird bath and causing general but minor turmoil.  Oh well, after all, this is their land I have invaded.  Perhaps I will dispense with the fence in the Spring.

      I began an online course from Penn-Foster, "Forestry and Wildlife Conservation"  to increase my personal knowledge and help gain a better understanding of what I am doing here.  Who knows, I may be able to get part-time employment in the field as well.  Maybe even some government study right here in the "Realm".  Time will tell.

     Anyway, I am having the time of my life.  See you at the next Post and thank you for looking. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

(16) July 20

     The wait is over, the cabin remodel is complete.  Unfortunately, my friend was not able to saw my siding so I purchased from a local mill, roughsawn lap siding.  I am very satisfied with the results.  Below are a few pictures of the project.  Complete details and photos will be available this fall when I publish volume 2.
     Besides the cabin project, my days have been filled with other things.  I built a White Birch fence around the entire cabin from downed or dead trees.  I have reconstructed my paths to the cabin and have added more rock borders along the paths.  I cleared a few trees to allow more sunlight to the cabin area.  Of course I planted more flowers and also planted some  pines as well.  I built an out house attached to the water tower.  I have maintained the miles of walking trails and have continued my research of the "Realm". 
     As John Burroughs said," If you wait, nature will come to you."  This is so true.  I have my usuals.  Mama Doe is still around.  So are her young, though, she has sent them on their way and shuns them when they get close.  There are many squirrels and at night the raccoons come around to have a bite if there is anything available.  I have a pesky young bear who I call "Little Smoky"  who hangs around constantly although I try to convince him not to hang around. 
     Much of my enjoyment comes from the chipmunks.  Their ranks have grown to thirteen!  I cleared a small area where I feed them sunflower seeds.  I call this area "The Arena"  They are my little gladiators  What a show they put on, I watch them for hours.  Sometimes they get a little rough. 
     I have taken hundreds of photographs of wildlife and flora and fauna which will be detailed and classified in this falls book.
     We have been fortunate to have more rain so far and that is good.  I am having the time of my life here in the "Realm"  Enjoy the pics. More to come.  Thanks for looking.  Click on any pics to enlarge.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

(15) April Jottings

Everything is wonderful in the "Realm".  The Aspens and Maples are showing their tiny new leaves.  Ferns are popping from the ground as well as the day lilies.
Work is progressing on the cabin at "Observation Hill".
On Friday the 9th I started framing the new roof rafters, by Monday the plywood was installed and the roofing felt was nailed down just in time for the much needed rain on Wednesday. 

On Thursday the 15th I installed the fascia, a nice little touch, and stapled on the tyvek.  I have secured the roofing shingles, generously donated by a friend and will lay those next week.  I am still waiting for the siding to be sawn and that should be soon.
I am very excited about all of the progress, however, I don't think I will make the May 1st deadline so I will have to push that ahead a bit.  I am confident it will be mostly done by the middle of May allowing me to concentrate on the biota of the "Realm" and to begin collecting data for this falls expected Volume two of "The Realm of the Eighty".  Thanks for looking.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

(14) Spring Remodel Begins

4/1/2010  I found an old swivel desk chair and spent three days refurbishing it for the cabin, turned out pretty nice.

4/4/2010  Nice and warm, 65 degrees.  The weather is nice enough so I decided to start some remodeling.  I removed the old window from the East side of the cabin and framed in and installed two sash windows, side by side.  These open from the inside and though smaller than the old window, provide a wider viewing angle, plus they look great.

4/5/2010  Cloudy and cooler but nice enough to work a bit.  Removed old window from the West side and framed in and installed another sash window there, also opens to the inside.  I also stained the new knotty pine paneling inside on the East side. 

Chippy's are very happy to see me each day and await my treats.

Saw a Purple Finch at the feeder today.

A new gabled roof will happen soon.  A friend with a portable saw mill is cutting new siding for the cabin.  I am excited.  All in future posts.  I hope to have the work done by the beginning of May so I can devote my summer to wildlife observation.

(13) March in a Nutshell

March was unseasonably warm and sunny although we could have used more moisture.  Our ground water is now more than three feet below normal, the forest is very dry.  Lakes are low.

3/09/2010.  Sunny, breezy and 45 degrees. We still have some snow on the ground.  I saw a Fisher during daylight hours and got a couple of pictures though not close before it left the area.  I took a couple of pictures of its tracks in the snow but they are difficult to make out. 

Saw my first Chipmunk of the season, I am not sure if it was Theodore but I have my hopes that that is who it was, later confirmed by the burrow in which he went in.  Good to see he survived the winter, though he should have, not lacking food as he stashed many pounds of sunflower seeds I provided.  I also observed several Chickadees, a Nut Hatch and a Downy Woodpecker.  A single Crow also stopped by to investigate.

3/14 Sunny, 60 degrees, very light wind.  Amazing how much snow has disappeared in a week.  Observed Chipmunks, a Red Squirrel, Nuthatches and Chickadees and a Hairy Woodpecker.  Did some work around the cabin.

3/15 Beautiful, sunny and 60 degrees.  Drove in for the first time this year.  A bit muddy.  I removed a window, framed in and insulated providing much needed room for new book shelves inside.

3/17 Nice 55 degrees.  Muddy road.  Built book shelves and observed many small flying insects that I did not identify.

3/20 Very muddy not driving back in until it is drier.  Deer have been around as corn is gone from the feeder.  As many as four Chipmunks around all battling for space, or is it a mating ritual?

3/22 Sunny 55 degrees.  Walked in.  Fed Chipmunks some seeds, Theodore ate at my feet.  Photos of various scat along the trails.  Woodpeckers.   Snow mostly gone.  Spent a couple of hours walking the trails.  Finally got my spotting scope and tripod, yeah!
3/30 Nice and warm.  Built more Birch fencing.  Moved water tank location.  Noticed Lilies and other spring flowers popping through the ground.

New Squirrels nest

Swamp pools from the runoff

3/31 Another great day weather wise but getting drier.  Able to drive in again.  Tree Frogs are peeping in the swamps.  Got a picture of a Leopard Frog.  Saw a pair of Mallards.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

(12) Winter Pushes Onward

     Welcome back.  Even though it is snowing today, signs of spring are slowly showing their faces.  The day light minutes have increased and air tempertures are getting warmer.  The south side of the hills are losing their snow and some are now bare once again. 
     I have not spent as much time in the "Realm" this winter as I have wanted, but I managed three trips in January and so far, once this month.   Last week when I went out, I had not been there a half hour when four deer came by.  They all looked very healthy.  That was a nice feeling.  I got a picture of a red fox by day and it also looked quite healthy.
     Of course I have been glued the the Lily bear site with her new cub and that excites me to get more involved with the bears I saw this past spring and summer.
     My ideas of having a vegetable garden this summer have faded as I want to spend more time observing all wildlife.  I will still have a few tomato plants.  My building renovation plans are still a go but I will not increase the square fottage of the cabin.  Pictures will follow as the work begins. 
     I have read much this winter on many aspects of nature to better understand the life I observe.  Some of the books I have obtained; Zoology and Mammalogy, have caused me to buy refresher courses in biology, physics and chemistry.  I should have paid closer attention in high school.
     By the way, my snow shoes worked out very well and after a couple of trips on them I was able to walk with just boots and not sink in.  I will still be much happier when the snow goes as walking is so much easier.