ARE YOU READY FOR WINTER? By: Kevin Williams, Grundy County Conservation Director
December 4, 2009
I got to thinking about winter the other day. Actually I was thinking about all the things that I still needed to be doing around the yard before winter. And all the things that should be sorted in the garage before winter. And where was I? In the treestand, of course. I guess what started me thinking that way was the fact that there were all sorts of animals around me getting ready for winter. The Fox Squirrels were about as active as they could be that afternoon. I think that there were eight all together running over here and then over there. Nut gathering and stashing occupied a large part of their time. And then one would be interrupted by another who felt the need to chase its friend around the tree, up the tree, into another tree, and then back down to the ground. It reminded me of “play” breaks that I need when I’m doing those getting ready for winter chores, too. The hawks were flying overhead. Each one making large circles in the sky. Each circle slowly taking them a little farther south on their migration route. Yet seemingly in no real hurry to get that job done. But should the weather have taken a nasty turn, the trip could quickly become a scramble to beat it south as soon as possible. Like my last minute winter jobs could turn to a scramble (and have in past years). And then a couple of surprises. A chipmunk emerged somewhere from the leaves behind me and scampered across the forest floor to a log. Inside it went – only for a moment and then back to wherever it should be hibernating for the winter. I’ll bet it had raided a secret stash of acorns. One more before the long winter nap. Sort of like the bag of candy I keep hidden away on the shelves in the garage. And then I was truly surprised to hear a frog start singing out a chorus over in the slough. It was like he (or she) was just not ready to “give it up” and bury into the mud for the winter. I know that I am not ready to say goodbye to fall yet either. Maybe that’s why I have put off those last few “get ready for winter jobs”, too.
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