Muskrat-watching has become a favorite household activity at the Wood family pond, for both dog and humans. 13-year-old Clara poses no risk to these quizzical, hard-working, highly appealing critters, so she joins our observations. There are at least six muskrats of varying sizes out there, with residences excavated into the pond bank or constructed from a bed of reeds. They’ve been highly active lately, clearing the ground of dropped apples, feasting on cattail fronds, busily crossing and re-crossing the pond to and from their work. It’s pandemic-era entertainment.
You’re Invited! Muskrat-watching and bocce ball by the pond, with a campfire.
This morning was our first ice-over. Hard not to worry about the bristly gang out there, but apparently they can be underwater for 12-17 minutes, and with vertically flattened tails that are half the length of their body, they are speedy swimmers. They are well-adapted to the ice and cold. Their biggest threat is the eagles, foxes, and one lone coyote that I’ve spotted twice in the last month. Well, everyone has to eat.
And so do we! Here on the eve of Thanksgiving, I wish for all of you, like our animal neighbors, plenty to feast upon, a warm place to sleep, and good company, even if your togetherness must be adapted to audio or video technology.
**photography credit - thanks to Lisa Wahlstrom!!
Robin Clifford Wood is a writer and writing teacher. She lives in central Maine with her husband and dogs, loves to be outdoors, and enjoys ever-expanding horizons through her grown children and their multi-species families.