Friday, November 14, 2008

Country Life At The Twilight Of The Year

Things are cooling off in Vermont. It happens to be an unseasonably toasty fifty degrees out right now. That and the moths out flying around got me thinking about salamanders.

There was a kind of salamander I'd never seen before hanging around the entry to our house last week. It looked kind of like a baby snake but with legs. About three inches long and narrow like a worm but with something of a head and, like I said before, legs. I hadn't ever seen a salamander in the fall so this one was new to me. It looks very different from a spotted salamander. We used to have a spotted salamander who lived near our front door and who would come out in the spring when it rained. When we put the patio in a few years ago one of the guys who was doing the stonework found it standing there looking at him. Michaela was there at the time so she told him to put it in the woods. I haven't seen it since. I hope it found a better home.

The frogs have all gone into hibernation and of course the crickets are done for the year. The snakes are probably all asleep by now too. To be honest, it's getting a little lonely. I miss all the creatures who eat bugs.

We used to have a bat who weekended in our barn. At least that's what the bat expert thought - the guy we hired to get the bat out. It was just one bat so he thought it would come to our barn once in a while for a night or two here and there. If we were using our barn as a barn that wouldn't be a big deal but since it's our studio spaces and Pete's clients sleep there we couldn't have a batty guest flying around. And that bat would fly around at night when the clients were there. So we hired an expert to find out where the bat was coming out and going in and attach one-way doors so it could go out but not get back in. It took him several months and five or so visits but we haven't seen bat poop on the floor since maybe September. I'm hoping that means that the bat guy was successful and not that our bat has succumbed to the bat fungus that's going around. I have a very large soft spot in my heart for bats and I'm very worried about them these days.

Unfortunately cluster fly season has begun. It's the time of year when the bugs head indoors. Now on a sunny day when I head to my studio I'll find dozens of flies buzzing at my windows from the inside. Yuck. At night when we go to bed it's not unusual to have to evict four or five flies. They make a lot of noise buzzing around and bouncing off the ceiling. I really don't miss them at all in the summer when they want to live outdoors.

The mice seem mostly content to stay outside so far this year. Soon it will get colder though and we'll have to stay on top of the traps in the basement. We've learned from experience that you can't be lenient with the mice. If you're not careful they'll have an orgy in your pillow and then where will you be? I'll tell you where: you'll be waking up in a pile of mice poop and fly parts. Nasty. Nonetheless anti-mouse warfare is pretty unpleasant for pacifists like me and Pete.

The bees and the dragonflies are asleep, the butterflies and hummingbirds have gone south. I have to admire the persistence of the moths. We've had a few frosts so I can't imagine what they're eating these days. Soon they'll be gone too. Things will get very quiet. At least we'll still have the owls for company.

1 comment:

Hopers said...

I'm glad that I didn't know about the bats when I was there before! ;)