HELLO 2009!
Up here in Maine, our huge snow accumulation has been widely depleted as warmer temperatures took hold. The contrast is amazing. One week I am plowing through the snow drifts trying to reach the shore and the next week there is no problem getting around. There is very little snow for tracking and my porcupine hangout is bare of the white stuff. As you can see from my wish for 2009, the sun has been shining and warming everything. But today, the snow is falling once again. I am itching to get out on the trails near Small Point since I've heard there is another large beached mammal (not human).

With the holidays has come much more people traffic on the island. There have been a lot of hikers with dogs out for a run. Mild weather has also been a lure for hikers. There may be more people in the area because of the holidays and school closings. There has even been some mud to contend with, but that is sure to change.

Let's see, what have I found in recent outings? I was puzzled at a patch of fur on a beach which turned out to be the skin of a deer. From this picture, you can see how thick their fur is this time of year. Frankly, those deer must have been vulnerable during that last heavy snowstorm. Lighter and faster animals can take them down in pursuit. I have a feeling this was just discarded evidence of a deer that was shot. By the way, that isn't dandruff on the fur, but sand. I also found another cecropia moth cocoon. That makes three I have found this winter!

I made these snowmen in about fifteen minutes after that big snow storm. It was very light snow, not good for making snowmen. What I did was pile chunks of snow on top of one another that were left after our drive was plowed. It was kind of a balancing act. One of them blew down as you can see. This is our view of the Kennebec River at a low tide. All kinds of boats make their way up and down that busy river, including fishing boats, touring boats from the Maine Maritime Museum, sailboats, Coast Guard vessels and ships built by the Bath Iron Works. This time of year, only chunks of ice float up and down with the tide. The island in our view is called Goat Island. One of these days I will brave the tidal waters and swim out to that enticing island. It is supposed to be available to kayakers as a stop over on trips down stream. Maybe in 2009 I will accomplish that intention!

I will close with a wish that your New Year is more peaceful than has been this year. I am hopeful and heartened by what happens on January 20th. Let's hope the next four years will find our country less aggressive and more peace loving. It begins with us.......
12/31/08 Ronnie, with more exciting news in the next issue of the Strand Line!