Friday, October 02, 2009

Cameraless for Moose

Friday, October 2, 2009

Early morning here on the mountain. The quiet is nice but I have already been up too long. Alex has what we hope is only a cold virus but he has been up all night and we have been up too. The only all-night sleeper is Karl the Wonder Dog and he just snores on and on.

Fall is a beautiful time in Vermont and the foliage is especially beautiful now. The colors here were more vibrant a week ago before the heavy rains but you still cannot complain about the show. The apple crop is quite good in the orchards although I notice many of our wild trees have lots of apples that remained rather small due to the drought that arrived in early August.

I forgot to add a note last week for those interested in seeing moose in Vermont. This is the time they are on the move and the bulls, no matter what age, are scraping trees and getting excited about life. A couple weeks back I was chain sawing to open up a new road and clean out a bunch of dead wood. I typically saw for the time it takes to use a tank of gas and then clean up what I have cut. 35-45 minutes of sawing and no more means I'm not tired and less likely to get hurt. That's just how I always do it and it works. Anyway I cleaned things up at the work site and left for the day. When I returned, I noticed a 6" maple had a bunch of gouges. I stood there trying to figure out how I had messed up a perfectly good young tree for no reason and then I noticed the tracks. A fairly large moose had raked his antlers along the tree some 6 feet off the ground.

Thoughts of moose became reality Sunday morning as I headed out to get my paper. Just down the road a large moose crossed right in front of me and stopped on neighbor Bobbi's front lawn gazing at me and a passing car. In twenty years of life here, this was the second biggest I have seen. Moose are black although sometimes in the spring they look a little ratty as they shed for a new coat and at that time you might say they are brown. This guy was black and his antlers looked golden orange in contrast. He was so big that when he came out of the swamp and onto the pavement I could hear his feet hit from inside the truck.

My estimate was a six foot antler spread but the local boys corrected me on my exaggeration and yesterday friend Kenny set me straight. He lives down in Jerusalem, a local area about ten miles from here. Two years ago he and a friend shot a moose that measured 54". The record is 64 3/8" dating from 2002 so moose with racks approaching 72" are possible here. The Vermont Fish and Game records are good for some to look at but for others, just seeing a giant animal in the wild is enough fun. For gardeners, except for what their physical size does walking through your gardens, there's really nothing to worry about. I know my friend Eric would have liked to see this one as he hasn't seen one in a while. I was cameraless so I cannot show you either.

I have to get going here this morning as I am involved with my favorite sport at 8 AM--dental work. I do want to say thanks again to everyone who voted for The Vermont Gardener and helped it win Best Vermont Blog. Also want to remind Facebook users that I have started a page there that over time should link you with more garden resources. If you have a page and are interested in becoming a friend of this well established social network, take a look.

From the mountain above Peacham Pond where I can hear some geese,

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener

Picture at top is Marshfield Pond. After all these years, I have found the private trail to the top. In 1979, this was one of Vermont's early peregrine falcon restoration sites. The granite cliffs say it all!


garden girl said...

Congratulations on your Blotanical win George! I enjoy your blog each time I visit. I love your writing, and the photos are beautiful. Kudos!

I'm off to Facebook to 'friend' you! said...

Thanks, Lynn!

The photos might be better how that I have a new set of batteries. Package says "good for 200,000 photos" That would be a lot of pictures but for me, a non-photographer, I have to take a lot to find one that others can recognize. I love the price of digital!!


Unknown said...

Hi- I found your blog through Cathy Resmer's 7 Days listing. I am enjoying your writing style and sense of humor. Thanks!

Christine B. said...

Hello George,

Just found your blog. Gorgeous photo. We deal with the moose and their shenanigans here in Alaska too. Looking forward to reading more.

Cheers from the Last Frontier Garden,

Christine B. said...

Hello Christine;

Long way from Vermont isn't it? This morning as I write it's the same temperature as in Anchorage--17 degrees. We have a big storm coming. Last night the temperature dropped from 28 to 10 in about two hours and now is rising slowly as the storm approaches.

As we garden here in the summer and on into early fall we always watch the weather from out your way, sometimes further depending on what events we have planned, what flower crops are coming into bloom.

I'd like to add your blog to my links list is that's ok as I am looking for different geographic perspectives. Were those metal fish sculptures in your gardens made any place local to Anchorage? Curious.