Wildlife at Thundercastle
The other day at my
desk, I caught a glimpse of motion out the picture window to my left and looked
up just in time to see a large red fox loping across the lawn just fifteen or
twenty feet away. A mysterious visitor from another world. But several days later we saw him again, this time out the kitchen window and heading down
the driveway. Deer pass through frequently.
A couple weeks ago, under a
misty overcast, I came home to see four of them sitting in our field, dusky brown
shapes almost indistinguishable from the background. I saw a porcupine scoot
under our old garage, near several trees whose limbs he has gradually stripped
of their bark over the winter. The turkey vultures have
been back for several weeks, silently gliding above the woods and fields in
great arcing loops, and perching in groups in the high branches of a giant oak
tree. Deep in the woods a barred owl cries, and we can now hear loons on Torsey Pond.
Indoors, our canary and four parakeets chirp and chatter and gurgle.
I tapped some of
our big maples for the first time this year, and am amazed at the amount of sap
they produce. Fortunately, we have some five-gallon spring-water jugs for
collecting it. There were about forty gallons altogether (which translates
to one gallon of syrup).
put together a crude fireplace with cinder blocks, bricks, and an old grate,
built a roaring fire, set an enameled pan on it, and started boiling. It
takes a long time! But it's very satisfying, and the taste of the
resulting syrup (slightly smoky) seems better than anything we've ever bought in
the store, maybe simply because it's our own.
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