Firewood, Birch-Wintergreen and Carno-Minks

Icicles at the Hollow Falls . . .

Icicles at the Hollow Falls . . .

Mink tracks in snow: distinctive 2x2 loping pattern with tail dragging.  This mink is near water, not rushed, feels relaxed.

Mink tracks in snow: distinctive 2×2 loping pattern with tail dragging. This mink is near water, not rushed, feels relaxed.

I came across a nice recently dead birch this afternoon, beside the Hollow Brook, and it’s all cut up for the woodstove now. Perfectly seasoned, it should be about as good as maple. And beside it was a large dead elm snag. I felled it but have not yet retrieved it. And behind that, in my coppice wood of alders, is a tall dead aspen and two dead white spruces. Plenty and to spare for a couple weeks. While I cut and gathered wood, Arielle was with me, gathering spring leaf buds of yellow birch for a potent and healthful wintergreen tea. But best of all, I sighted a set of mink tracks, so fresh they could have just come out of the oven, emerging from the Hollow Brook.

Every twenty-five feet or so, the mink darted into the brook, wherever the water was deep enough to submerge.  A yard or two down, it emerged again.  Here we see its tracks as it is just coming out of the water.

Every twenty-five feet or so, the mink darted into the brook, wherever the water was deep enough to submerge. A yard or two down, it emerged again. Here we see its tracks as it is just coming out of the water.

The mink had been doing its species’ unique run-skid-trot, about 25 feet along water’s edge, back into the brook, then out a meter later, and along side the brook again. It’s an efficient, safe way to travel for an aquatic mammal. And I got some great photos. The down side was it was heading east, in the direction of my barn, and I am thinking I should set out the mink traps tonight in case it has its carnivorous weasel mind set upon my chickens and ducks.

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