Thursday, December 18, 2014

Pond Invaders!!

With deer season ended, I could once again hike in the woods and up to the pond on our farm.  The pond is located almost a mile from the house and it is uphill most of the way.  It is a man made pond we had put in 5 years ago and it is a run-off pond, meaning that it is filled from a couple of streams that are formed from rain and snow-melt run off, so no spring or creek flows into it.  We stocked it with  fish and Sam likes to throw a line in it on a summer evening when he and the dogs and I stop by there on our daily hikes.  Imagine my surprise last Thursday when, as the dogs and I approached the pond for the first time in over a week at about 3 pm, I saw several things bobbing around in the water. 
At first I thought birds, but as I got closer I realized I was seeing sleek heads.  Five of them.  Beaver was my first thought since we have been observing the beaver habitat which is about a mile and half from our pond.  But no, I remembered Sam had told me that a neighbor had seen otters in another pond nearby and that he hoped they did not find our pond.  And once I got close, I realized that yes, these are otters.  North American River Otters to be exact.  Capable of eating lots of fish.  Every day.  

I cursed myself for not having my camera with me, but it had been gloomy and overcast when we left the house.  The otters were much more worried about the dogs running along the bank staring at them than they were about me quietly watching them swim about in our small pond.  However, it did not take Grover long to discover the fine aroma of otter crap and to think that maybe that would make a nice doggie cologne, so I headed back to the house.  By the time I got home, the sun had come out, so I grabbed the camera and headed back to the pond in the "buggy" with Grover riding shotgun.  I was able to get several photos, but could not get all 5 otters in the same photo.

Sam was not happy to hear the news and he went up to the pond very early on Friday morning to encourage the critters to move on. But whether it was the presence of the dogs and me the day before, or there being no fish left for them to eat, they seemed to be gone.  They did leave nasty smelling otter poop all over the dock and around the pond.  Sam and his brother both agree that there are probably no fish left in our pond.  Those guys could have been there several days and as I said, it is not a large pond.  And yes, Grover has had to have an unplanned bath!    I will admit it was rather a thrill to see these animals so close to home in the wild.  Now if only I could arrive at the beaver pond at the right time to see them....

Otherwise, not much new.  Christmas is next week and then right after Christmas Grover and I are entered in our second agility trial.  It is in Zanesville Ohio again and is Saturday and Sunday.  We are entered both days, so we will be staying in a hotel in Zanesville Saturday night instead of driving back and forth.  Our weather has not been real conducive to getting out and practicing, but we manage every few days.  Unfortunately, our weave poles are just pounded into the ground and the ground is so soft that after each run through, they are all crooked.  But we work with what we have.  Classes are suspended for the month of December, but will resume in January.

I have a reservation to fly to Minneapolis on the 30th to pick up a new natural gas powered truck that we are buying and drive it home.  This really is not the best planning, flying into Minneapolis via Chicago in the winter.  What can go wrong??

A couple days ago, I caught our rooster enjoying the porch swing.  I think he has a beer hidden behind his back, I'm not sure......

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