Saturday, September 24, 2011

I'm still here...

I'm still here.  I have seen elk six of the eight days I have been able to hunt.  I would like to point out that one of the days that I didn't see elk, my husband and I could smell and hear them.  That is how close they were.  To add insult to injury that we hiked back to the jeep only to find tracks 10 feet from it.  Elk have a sense of humor. 

For any of you considering bow hunting elk, I would just like to mention patience is a requirement. Anyway, today was the same as the others.  My impatience caused me to miss another opportunity this morning.  On my way to their wallow this evening I am pleased to find it was all tore up.  If you are not familiar with elk wallows, they are muddy water holes that the elk urinate in and then roll all over.  The goal is eaud de stink.  Bulls hit the wallows on hot afternoons, before an evening of wooing the ladies.   This is a hot evening.  There is hope. 

I get to my hiding spot and sit under the spruce tree pondering my unsuccessful hunt.  Spruce needles fall all around.  Those darn Black Hills pine squirrels are ruthless.  I figure soon he would be hurling pine cones at me.  Back to my thoughts.  I'm hoping that if I don't get an elk at least I have learned the value of patience, after all my birthday is coming up and I'm supposed to be getting wiser. 

More needles fall.  "Don't look up."  I warn myself.  A needle in the eye could mess things up.  A doe comes to the water hole.  I hold my breath.  She drinks, flips her tail and walks off.  All is quiet except the robins in the wallow.  They are splashing like crazy.  Again with the needles. 

Then I hear a grr...  GULP! I look up. 

My pine martin has returned!  In fact he must have been sleeping up in the spruce.  When sleeping beauty woke up and started down the tree ACK.  There was some strange camouflaged thing at the bottom.  Oh my he hissed and ran up and down the tree trying to figure me out.  I forgot all about hunting, grabbed the camera and had so much fun taking his pictures.  He couldn't figure out
what that flash was, what I was, and how he was going to get out of that tree.  He got so close I could have touched him.  Finally, he made a flying leap and headed out.  

What a treat.  I didn't get an elk again tonight, but I do have some wonderful memories of a cute little curious fellow who lives in the woods. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

What do you see in the woods?

So what does one see in the woods after sitting all day?  Well there is this wonderful caterpillar.  I also watched a determined inch worm head up the tree I sit next too.  I guess he wanted to see the top.  Sorry no photo.  Truth is I thought I would have a while to take his photo and before I knew it the little bugger was too far up to get a good shot.
 The robins, nuthatches, flickers, and sapsuckers provide me with constant entertainment as they splash and sing in the elk wallow.  One bird will start bathing and the next thing you know there are 20 birds around all jumping in the puddle. 

The bird on the right constantly landed above me to check things out.  I'm not sure what it is.  The one above is the regal ruffed grouse.  He strutted through the forest, king of his domain.  But the real prize is below...

This is a pine martin.  I so wish he had slowed down enough for me to get a good shot.  He was sprinting through the forest on his way to somewhere very important.  By the time I got the camera out and figured where he was headed I had seconds to take a picture.  I'm pretty proud of it.  This is only the second pine martin I've ever seen.

I also took a photo of a quiet coyote that also visited the wallow tonight, but it is too blurry.  I heard one elk bugle right at dark.  I love that sound.  I don't think I will see any as it is a full moon.  They can do everything at night when the moon is full.  I can't complain.  I had lots of other animal visitors and being able to get a blurry photo of that pine martin was worth it. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A hummingbird!!!!!!!!!!!!

It was fleeting.  A buzz and a flash of green.  I ran into the cabin yelling to my husband, "It's here!  It's finally here!"  He knew what I meant. The hummingbird is on its way through.  Immediately I was mixing fresh batches of sugar water and cleaning feeders.  The poor snake almost got squished as I ran the to greenhouse to get my hook to hang a feeder on.  It was dark too soon.  Tomorrow morning I will be on the porch, coffee cup in hand, awaiting his return!  

An old photo from July 2006.

In Lead, I consistantly had hummingbirds.  I had a corner on the hummingbird feeding market until AJ moved next door and planted zinnias.  He proved to be tough competition for their affections.  I would sit on the porch with my morning coffee wearing red, so they would buzz me.

Also from July 2006, when hummingbirds were plentiful.

When we built the cabin in the middle of the woods, I had little hope for any humminbirds.  I was wrong.  Starting in May we had at least 4 ruby throated hummingbirds and 1 rufous.  The rufous had a real issue with the red Snapper lawnmower.  He would follow my husband around while Kelly mowed making the craziest squeaking noises I've ever heard. 

My mother-in-law is blessed with
bountiful and consistant hummingbirds. 

I was in heaven for about 5 years.  Every May the ruby throated  hummingbirds would come and stay until August.  Then I was down to about one.  Then one and only in May and August.  The last two years just a glimpse in August. 

I cannot describe the thrill these little buggers give me.  I'm amazed at their speed and bravery.  I've seen hummingbirds dive bomb robins that dared to think they were edible.  I love their curiosity and I cannot believe their anomosity towards each other.

Well, enough about these little speed demons.  I'm eager for tomorrow morning. 

On the elk front:  I've seen two coyotes close up, a cow and calf elk, a bull far far away, and a family of robins that bathe hourly in the water hole I'm sitting on.  I just want to say that sitting still in the woods all day is REALLY HARD. 


Friday, September 2, 2011

I'm in, I'm out, I'm here, and I'm there...

This won't be a long post.  I'm tired and inspired from my Washington DC trip.  Once in a while the little guy gets to go to the big town and give input.  Cool beans.  After my meetings, I walked my feet off.  These are a few of the photos from the Botanical Garden next to the Capitol.  They aren't the best, as I didn't take the good camera.   
The entrance to the Botanical Gardens.
This was right inside the door.
This is looking up at the roof.
These succulent pots were all over.  I was very impressed with them.
There is a table and chairs in the corner.  It was a peaceful spot.
This is inspiring an addition to the old greenhouse.
As you can see the gardens are right next to the Capitol.
I will share more later.  Sorry the sun is so harsh.  I sure enjoyed the tour.  I always see other posts that take the tour of some beautiful garden.  I never thought it would be me taking someone on a tour.  Hope you enjoyed, I know I did.

I am afraid I am still not fully back to blogging.  I have a bow elk tag, so I am up at 5:00am and  will be sitting in the woods enjoying nature and hoping a good elk steak walks by.  As those of you that know me are aware, I'm not a patient woman so this will be an interesting hunt.  Hope you enjoy the photos.  I will try to keep up with everyone's posts, but you may not hear from me as often.