Journal for January 2, 2006

The New Year has come in with warm wet weather – it’s right at 32 degrees. On New Year’s Day there was a pale sun shining through the clouds, but today it’s misting steadily, and the wind is blowing from the east.
I planted some more sections of the prairie this week, but it’s been a little too windy – when I throw the seeds down they land way beyond where I expect them to go. And when the snow is wet my boots leak and it actually feels colder than when the air temperature is lower.

A few weeks ago I found a new path up through the woods – from just across from the house to the field where I’m planting. It’s a great path – it goes along the edge of a deep gulley where there are lots of fallen trees covered with moss and lichens, and then follows an old logging road. We’ll try mowing it this spring to see if we can make it into a wider path. (Mike doesn’t appreciate my narrow, winding paths through the woods – he likes to be able to walk without stooping for overhanging branches and tripping over logs.)

It’s fun making a new path in the winter because I can watch the snow to see which other creatures use it. I use the deer’s paths to help me find a path for myself, but then when I trim the shrubs and branches to make it easier to walk, the deer use it even more. Along the way there are places where the deer branch off to visit other places.

Here’s a place where the deer go off on their own.

Here’s where a Ruffed Grouse has crossed my path.

And here’s where an Opossum has come up out of the gulley to look for the leavings from the birdfeeders.

The mosses and lichens get soft and wet in this weather – it’s nice to see something green and growing in an otherwise snowy scene.