We’ve got a snowshoe hare who lives nearby. I’m going to refer to the hare as a “she” because she’s so pretty and looks like a girl. I hope I’m not wrong, for the hare’s sake.
She’s been to visit our backyard quite a few times over the past several months. I’d see her huge back footprints (and little front footprints) after a fresh snow. But I didn’t have any luck in actually seeing her.
About a week ago, I was up early - before sunrise - and routinely began opening the curtains and raising the blinds so I could watch the sky brighten as the sun came over the horizon. When I got to the sliding glass doors, and the vertical blinds, I happened to catch some movement in the yard when the slats moved. I stopped my movements and peeked between them. And there she was! Our beautiful snowshoe hare was standing on the deep snow just off the back deck, and she was nibbling on some of the corn kernals and berries which the birds had dropped.
I switched on the outside light, fully expecting her to flee, but she merely glanced up at the light and then went back to her snacking. I grabbed my camera, and began sliding back the vertical blinds. She glanced towards me, and stopped all movement - standing so still, she could have been a lawn ornament.
After about a minute, she realized she wasn’t in any danger and went back to the business of nosing through the suet pieces and sunflower seed shells, looking for something good to eat.
I caught sight of the pineapple rind I had tossed out on the deck, half buried in the fresh snow. I threw it out there hoping the birds, or the woodpeckers, would be interested, but they ignored it. But Miss Bunny didn’t ignore it. Her little nose twitched in the direction of this sweet treat, and then she hopped up on the deck to investigate.
I watched her gnaw on it, all the while taking photos. It was barely daybreak, so I had to boost my ISO settings on my camera (which causes grain), so the photos aren’t the crispest and cleanest, but they do tell the story of Ms. Snowshoe Hare.
Of course, the furkids (Sedona and Airborne) had to see what was going on out there. I’m glad they were content to just observe and not frighten her off.
I never knew that bunnies liked pineapple!
She wasn’t very comfortable having her back to the door:
I was sorry to see her run off into the woods:
I’m pleased to say that she’s returned several times since then. In fact, I saw her just this morning - again chewing on what’s left of the pineapple rind. When she comes back tomorrow (I hope), she’s going to find a huge bowl of treats just for her. I did a little reading and discovered that rabbits like certain fruits and vegetables, so there’s a bowl of a nice fruit/green salad: apples, celery, romaine lettuce, and bananas. Now Steve and I are making bets on whether Ms Bunny is going to come back and enjoy the bounty, or Ms Moose is going to discover the buffet on our back deck. I guess we’ll find out in time!
Yesterday, Steve and I took a scenic drive down the Richardson Hwy to Summit Lake near Paxson. It was a 320 mile drive (round-trip) and VERY necessary. Since we couldn’t go to Homer, our week became filled with lazy days of nothingness. Some days, I didn’t even get out of my PJs! While this was OK on those days when it snowed (and it snowed frequently this week), by the time Sunday came, I was going absolutely stir crazy. I told Steve that if he didn’t get me out of the house for a scenic drive I was going to become Jack Nicholson in the movie “The Shining” and lose my mind! He got the message.
The day started out a little overcast, but the Alaska Range on the horizon appeared to be fairly clear. As we neared Delta Junction, the clouds were burning off and the sun was shining. It was a beautiful day for a drive.
When we reached the Donnelly Dome area (mile 248), we noticed a caribou standing alongside the road. This is the same place where we saw caribou the last time we made this drive in January. Again, about a half dozen lay in the grass, or grazed on what bit of edible growth they could find. A few walked along the roadway, nibbling or licking the side of the road. Salt? We don’t salt our roads here, but perhaps the melting ice/snow leaves salt behind? I don’t know the answer to that question.
We continued onward to Black Rapids. By this time, light snow was beginning to fall, and the clouds had come down to obscure the upper peaks of the range. We kept going, as I wanted to at least go as far as the Gulkana Glacier and Summit Lake.
The area between the Rainbow Mountains and Gulkana Glacier is mostly rolling hills. The snow was deep and untouched by humans, except for the plowed swath of the road. The sun was bright, but behind the clouds, so everything glowed with a bright white light. Between the brightness of the snow, and the brightness of the sky, it was difficult to see where the ground ended and the sky began. We had to wear our sunglasses to show the delineation of hill and sky.
We turned down the road that leads to Gulkana Glacier. It was freshly plowed in preparation for Arctic Man, which will take place on April 10th. We didn’t see anything of interest down there, and the glacier was clouded over and unable to be seen. We drove a little further down the highway, to Summit Lake, before turning around and heading back to Fairbanks.
Once again, as we approached the Donnelly Dome area, the caribou were on the side of the road, and on both sides of the road. One caribou - quite cheeky in his/her behavior - walked out onto the highway in front of us and proceeded to meander down the road in our lane. We slowed down long before we reached the area with caribou and couldn’t help but laugh as we played ‘follow the leader’ with him/her.
We stopped in Delta to grab dinner at the Buffalo Center Diner. The food and service didn’t disappoint, as always. We opted for burgers/sandwiches, and the food was filling and tasty.
This drive was just what I needed to squelch the cabin fever blues (for a little while at least). It was challenging to take photos as the sun was high in the sky in some places, and hidden behind clouds in others.
|There are approximately
950,000 wild caribou
I’ve wanted to tell you about the photo book I had printed for Kayla, but couldn’t write about it until she received it since she reads this blog. It was finally delivered to her yesterday, so now I can write about it! I created it using photos that were taken during her and Colt’s visit to Alaska, and had two books printed, keeping one for ourselves.
The book is 20 pages, and his hardbound with a leather cover. I’m quite pleased with the quality, and I hope that both Kayla and Colt will enjoy it for many years to come. Here are screenshots of the book. Click on the smaller thumbnails below to see the pages in a larger format for ease of reading. I mis-numbered the thumbnails, so please ignore the numbers on the bottom of the pages. I’m putting them here in correct page order.
It’s hard to believe that tomorrow starts the month of April. April is a celebratory month in that Steve and I will be married 17 years on April 5th, Kayla and Robby will celebrate their anniversary (I think 3rd?) on April 15th, my eldest son Christopher will turn the big 30 on April 23rd, and Colt will turn two on April 27th. In addition, my father’s birthday is April 12th, and even though he’s no longer on this earth with us, I will think about him and miss him greatly on that day.
Steve and I haven’t yet decided if we will go to Homer in April, to make up for our missed trip this month. I do hope we can do something in anticipation of spring’s arrival.
Until next time…