Saturday 31 December 2022

Saturday's Critters

 Someone nearby posted an image of a bobcat on our local FB page, from their trailcam. JB spotted one years ago, as we were watching out the back for some reason. It is illusive, and knows to stay away from humans, and staying out of sight during the day. Bobcat attacks are virtually unknown.

It's been seen twice around the lake, hunting rabbits, hares, and rodents. They are said to be crepuscular, more active dusk and dawn. There was some confusion, between it being a lynx or bobcat, but in a fuzzy photo, you could see the bobbed tail! They are an apex predator. This is an image from Wiki! They are elusive.

Calero Creek Trail Bobcat.jpg
California Bobcat
CC BY-SA 2.0, Wiki Link

Someone else has posted photos of about 2 dozen evening grosbeaks at their feeder. It is a busy ecosystem around here, despite rain, snow, wind, and graupel! (File photo!) We've another couple of days of rain.

These images are from Thursday. I used the monopod, and does it ever make a difference. Can you see the buck in the middle of the photo, on the hill? He chased a doe back there. The poor old white pine trees are a stark reminder of chores left to do. 

They were spooked when I went out on the back deck. 

Out front, I was having fun watching three red squirrels. This isn't a great photo, I had the zoom lens on, and sat it on the monopod. It's proof of 3, though! The snow provides much protection as they work their way under the feeders.

I love the snow falling from it as it emerged from its hole. I suppose this is protection from predators. I heard the Great Horned Owl the other day. We've hawks, too.

Friday morning I counted 9 deer in the backyard, and 3 at the front at the pumpkins.

2 big bucks from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

One is Richard Deer, the other needs a handsome name, as well. 

The fawn with the wrecked leg is doing well, all things considered.

fawn ankle from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

Thanks to Eileen for hosting! Saturday's Critters # 472

Friday 30 December 2022

We're melting!

 The amaryllis is doing well, still no roots on the one bulb. I am watching and waiting. More research is required. It is such a bright spot in window.

The orchid cactus is enjoying the sunshine, too. It is so low, it shines and tells them it is time to bloom. More buds are on the way!

Thursday morning it was above zero, and getting warmer. I went outside to fetch trailcam cards from on the deck in the dark, and heard a Great Horned Owl. I've not seen one since Oct., 2013. It was off in the forest.

Great Horned Owl, Oct., 2013

As is the way, after the Christmas Bird Count, we went from 2 Cardinals (a pair), to four males and the female. I joked with Alison, who runs our local bird count, that they seem to know the dates. 

Next, the tree sparrows arrived. I counted four.

Doe in the dark at the feeder. There can't be much food there.

doe from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

They are frequent visitors.

frontyard doe from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

We were above zero, and I hauled the snowblower outside of the garage to let all the snow impaled in the machine to melt. The driveway has all melted. We're back to black. It is a shame, with rain on the way. Lots of people are enjoying the snow, out doing winter activities.

I caught up with Caitlin on the phone. They are making new Year's plans for the weekend.  
People are taking advantage of the snow. Our girls went tobogganing, and went for a walk in the forest. 

They made hot chocolate in the woods, since rain is on the way, to take advantage of the snow. 

We are nearly into 2023. It is difficult to believe. We shall see what we look like after 25 mm (~1") rain.

Thursday 29 December 2022

Snow, more snow, and rain on the way

 It's been a quiet time here, other than all our snow storms. I finished off the day by shoveling another 10 cm (4") off front and back decks, and using the snowblower on the driveway. (We've rain on the way!) 

 We've had a few Facetime chats with our Ottawa kids. They are enjoying the school break. Jos and Izzy were proud to let us know their current heights! Josephine made it clear that she is 5' 5 ¼ " and the ¼ is important, since Isabelle is now 5' 5"! 

Isabelle and her Papa made a video, explaining a diorama she made for school. She is still coughing, poor kid. This virus is awful.


Isabelle's diorama from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

JB fed the deer, and there were 10, including Richard Deer. 

the buck from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

buck a deer from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

Wednesday began with more snow, as I reported. The snow plows are doing their best. Friends in Muskoka haven't seen a plow in days, since the crews focus on the main arteries. They've had about 5' of snow in four days. 

A friend approached a Hydro worker in Muskoka, to thank them for working so hard. He is from Windsor, working in Muskoka since Dec. 24th. Crews are staying in Orillia, since there is no accommodation closer. They doubt he'll be home for New Year's, as well as missing Christmas. Hydro One updates:

Restoration Update: 
Crews have made significant progress and have restored power to over 442,000 customers since the start of the winter storm. We won’t stop until everyone is restored.

By the time I shoveled the back and front, and used the blower on the driveway, I realized it was snowball snow. I was too tired to build a snowman, though! I recycled this photo, below. 
The wishing well is gone, now. They had to wreck it to replace our broken well pipe one cold February. 

It looks lovely outdoors from indoors. 

The indoor plants are in bloom. The African violet, lower left, and the white orchid are thriving. Towards the back is the orchid cactus, kinda like a Christmas cactus on steroids. The two amaryllis are growing. Still no roots on the taller one, but it is blooming. 

Wednesday 28 December 2022

Snowy days and critter videos

🎂Thank you for your birthday wishes. I appreciate them! 

This has been quite the stormy time! Our friends in Muskoka have had 3' in < 24 hours. Plans were cancelled, and lots of snowblowers called for. My friend waited all day at the hospital, and ended up going home as the wait was too long. They didn't have power at the hospital. 

Ontario Hydro put out a message yesterday:

Restoration Update: Crews are out in full force and have gained access to Walkerton, Picton, Prince Edward County, Napanee and Trenton. Efforts to reach customers in Bracebridge and Huntsville continue. Conditions in Bracebridge and Parry Sound may worsen with up to 50 cm of additional snow expected. We won’t stop until everyone is restored.

🛫 Flight Aware said there were 17,000 US flight cancellations in the past week.  There is a luggage carousel in Pearson's that broke down. People arrived at their destinations without luggage, or any way of finding it. They mistakenly put their medications in luggage, rather than carry on. Big rookie mistake.

🌨And, the not-so-good news? It is snowing this morning, but they are warning us of rain Friday and Saturday. That will be a lovely mess. 


We haven't left the property in days, hunkered down with our four-legged friends. Thank goodness for the critters to entertain us. 

The deer were anxious to check out the bird feeders!

deer playtime from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

We had 7 deer Tuesday morning. Under the shelter of the trees, they hunker down. One took a nap in the back.

I took the photo through the glass, I knew if I opened the door, she'd wake up. Sure enough!

The fallen branches are still fallen. Cinnamon helped me outside, shaking snow off the trees.

Cinnamon Walkies from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

🐇 I'd noticed bunny tracks under the lilac tree. I cannot tell a hare from a rabbit, despite being corrected several times, so I'll call it a bunny! Bunny has been nibbling the tips of the shrub's branches. There are lots of bunny pellet poopies there, too. We often get them under the feeders in the front yard!

We've a few about. These tracks led to Fred Gopher's hole – under the lower deck. Fred took off, not to be seen again. Putting a couple of carrots to mark the hole, at dusk I spotted said bunny sniffing the carrots. 

Next morning, the carrots were still there. I'll be watching.

I had fun watching the dratted red squirrel (DRS) who had dug some tunnels for safety.

dratted red squirrel from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

The critters are still whacking away at the pumpkins. I have removed the trailcams from the forest, since most of the action is here. I didn't think the rain we had would do them any good. This is from a week ago. 

Pumpkin doe from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

Our 3 bucks, they seem to be triplets.  

3 Bucks & Mourning doves from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

Let's see what today brings! I'll be using the snowblower, I am sure, but we are safe, warm, and we will manage. 

Tuesday 27 December 2022

Richard Deer, and other tails

 It's been a tough few days for many. We are doing well, though. We miss our usual Christmas with the kids, but we are warm and dry and have power. Jesse tried to do a Facetime with me on my birthday, Dec. 26, but they lost power and his cell phone was crackly. Whoopsie. It's the thought that counts, plus we had a good chat on Christmas day. There is lots of wind in Vancouver, causing power outages. He texted later and said they had power back. Whew! 

☏ I remember trying to phone long distance to my parents in Muskoka on Christmas morning every year. Often the lines would be busy and we couldn't get through. You'd either wait, or hang up and redial that rotary phone! 

♪ Funny story, when we chatted with Caitlin and the girls Christmas Day, they told me the girls set an alarm for 7:30 a.m., and regaled them with a Silent Night duet to wake them up. Isabelle played her clarinet, and Josephine sung it in German! I was impressed. 

🐾 Monday morning I put the garbage out a bit late, having forgot, but someone reminded me. It was cold. I should have used the snow blower on the driveway. There is a layer of ice from our rainfall, but the drifts made it difficult to drag the cans. There is slush at the end of the driveway, as well. 

Can you spot the cat tracks in the snow? It has to be Oregano. Our cats haven't left the deck. He avoided all trailcams!

I was about to put the garbage out, and spotted my friends. I fed the deer after doing my chore.

morning crew from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

🦌 We've buck triplets, and one big buck, as has been the way. We had King Henry visited in January, 2022. Big Jake, in 2018. Big Daddy in 2015. There was Tigger and his brother, back in 2013. 

The coffee was ready when I got back in the house. This was our view out the kitchen window. I've removed the screen, and washed the inside of the window. That helps! I posted the photo on the family stream, and Caitlin named him for me: Richard Gere Deer – a handsome fellow. 

There is much action. Richard simply looks at them and they bolt! Alpha male. The fawns seem to tease him. 

In the afternoon, I got myself dressed, and used the snow blower on the driveway. (Yes, I put the garbage out in jammies!) It was a bit icy underneath, with drifts on one side, but I got it done. 

I spilled some bird seed on the deck. There are lots of little mouse and bird tracks. 

I'd given up putting the trailcams down in the forest. With the load of rain and snow, within 24 hours, I knew they wouldn't show me much. They get ice and snow covered, and fog up. This was fun.

deck birds from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

mice friends from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

I put a trailcam on the bird feeder for night action. We have triplet bucks. This is one of them. It is the correct time, but the wrong date! Dec. 26th

young buck from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

cats on deck from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

Our Christmas Dinner was a very respectable turkey TV dinner. JB did well getting them for us. He tucked away a frozen lasagna for me for my birthday, also very respectable. I supplemented it with pickled asparagus as hors d'oeuvres.  

More snow is on the way, but not as much. We shall see what the week brings.

Monday 26 December 2022

Snomageddon 2022

I've been watching the power outages. Yes, what else does an old math teacher do but create a graph? What I am looking for is progress. This morning, we (Ontario HydroOne) are down to 555 outages, and 30,000 without power. Progress. They are cleaning up from the storm, trains are still stopped along the Windsor Montreal corridor.

We made BBC news, things are so bad in North America! The drifting was awful all over. DW picked up on the mess in the US, 200 million without power, not realizing the storms covered the middle of the continent, and ignored the geopolitical border! 

Dec. 23 – you can see they were getting a handle on things, then the winds began in earnest. 

Dec. 25th – the wind was still howling.

I shoveled a path to the feeders. The birds have been having quite a time in the snow. 

Our triplet bucks were play fighting. 

This one has lost an antler. I'll have to summon some energy to go snowshoeing and look for it. Maybe.

After being quite excited with three male cardinals and one female, Christmas Day we had 4 males with the female.

This shot turned out nicely. You have to understand this is through the front window. 

This is a 46 cm (18") ruler. I worked hard at this. We might have rain this week, seriously, and the snow gets heavy and wet in the melt. I had to remove it.

I noticed bunny tracks!

I finally got my act together and dug out the sidewalk. This was 56 cm, this is a metre/yard stick.It's just from drifting.

I talked to our Ottawa family in the morning after they had unwrapped presents. Today is my birthday, so they usually end the call with, talk to you tomorrow! 

Caitlin and family were hosting her youngest brother (we are estranged- no conversations with him!), plus her mother-in-law, and brother-in-law for Christmas dinner. 

I lined up some Christmas movies to watch upstairs, and poured the wine. I made a fire in the basement. Our power outage worries are done, it was just for warmth for TV watching. There was football on. The cats really like football.

JB came upstairs while we did Facetime with Vancouver family. Jesse was wearing his Christmas jammies.

When Joseph Brian went back downstairs, two cats were sitting in the two chairs. I had to pull out a third chair. Everyone was happy and cozy. 

Later, I checked the radar, and it looked like more snow on the way. The ribbon of clouds was to the south of us, yet the radar showed it to the north. This morning, we didn't get any more snow.

This morning, I woke to a lovely surprise! We have deferred Christmas and birthdays until our colds are better. It's sad, but last year we did Christmas in February due to COVID. Hopefully, this won't happen this year.