The following are three episodes in nature that occured at our cabin this summer.
THE RAVEN AND THE FLYING SQUIRRELS
Bill Hamblin and I were sitting on our porch swing one afternoon discussing how we could fix the world, when I noticed a raven landing in a pine a little ways from us. As we watched, it suddenly flew off carrying a baby squirrel. A few minutes and the raven returned. Once again it landed in the same tree, presumably to steal another squirrel. This time, however, something came tumbling down through the branches to land on the ground. I ran to see what it was with Bill right behind. As I reached the spot, a second something landed at my feet. To my amazement two flying squirrels lay in the grass!
THE MAMMA SQUIRREL AND THE MARTEN
One morning, Cindy observed a squirrel running across our rail fence carrying a furry bundle in it's mouth. The squirrel then entered our yard and stuffed the bundle in an aspen cavity just a few feet from our window. It must have been the last of several trips because when she returned again it was to bring in bedding. We were pleased to have the family so near and looked forward to watching them grow, but luck would have it events soon changed everything.
A marten had been visiting every week or so and wouldn't you know it, he showed up that same morning. Even though he showed no interest in the family hiding in the cavity, when the marten left the mamma squirrel left to prepare a new home. By evening the move was done and the squirrels were safely tucked in some hidden cavity known only by her.
THE WEASEL AND THE CHIPMONK
It's wood cutting season here at the Hartman cabin. As the stack grows in size, it's constantly being checked out by squirrels, chipmonks and our marten.
I plopped down on our porch swing after a morning of cutting wood. The drying wood pile in front of me cracked and popped from the mid day sun. A chipmonk arrived to investigate the new wood. "He thinks we're building him a log home".
In and out of the dozens of holes left by stacking round on top of round. Now the little fella was at the far end still investigating every nook, when suddenly a weasel appeared five feet to my right. At first glance because of the weasels size, I thought it was our marten. No, it was a long-tailed weasel. I spoke to him and he looked at me. But his attention quickly returned to the chipmonk. In a flash the little predator was streaking toward his intended prey. A moment and they both disappeared into the wood pile, the chase continuing in private.
I rushed into the cabin for a camera. When I returned all was silent. I circled to the backside of the stacked wood. A vole scurried away from me.
"This isn't a good time for you to take a stroll", I warned him.
As I circled back again, I spotted the weasel watching me from between two rounds.
"There you are".
As I snapped a few shots, he came closer. Lifting his nose, he sniffed at the air, hoping to detect the chipmonk. A quick movement and he was gone, disappearing into the vastness of the wood pile.
I returned to the swing and stared at the holes in the stacked wood. After a bit, the chipmonk emerged to climb a tree standing over the wood pile. There it chirped.
I stood guard for an hour but didn't see the weasel again.