How about a Vole for dinner? Especially when it is caught in your house! Our cat, Timothea, caught this animal this week. I returned from an outing, and she greeted me with the animal in her mouth. I guess she wasn't hungry since she didn't make an effort to eat the animal, just seemed to treat it like a play toy. I guess she earned her keep this week. Voles are numerous in these parts. They are active year around and make their way near the surface of the earth, leaving small passages in the grass. I read where there may be several hundred per acre. They are an important prey for birds of prey and carnivorous mammals. Their short tails and snubby nose, with small eyes and almost hidden ears, distinguish them from mice and shrews. Their short fur may be rubbed smooth either way, like a mole, which one would expect for these animals living in tunnels. I set the dead vole out in the open and expect it to be someone else's dinner. I'm not sure how the vole got into my house, but this isn't the first time.

Recent wind and rain have brought down a lot of leaves from the trees. In some ways, this is a sad loss, but I always enjoy viewing the "skeletons" of trees that now show their shapes and growth patterns. Views of the river and ocean are now more open and visible. I took a walk behind the school looking for signs of animal activity. The leaves are hiding more holes that have been dug, but I did observe something I haven't seen recently.....a mushroom up in a tree! Squirrels will sometimes place fungi up on branches where they will be retrieved at a later date. This white one stood out like a beacon, so the animal won't forget where it was placed. We aren't the only ones to each mushrooms. I once saw a deer with a huge mushroom in its mouth. It looked like it was eating a hamburger!

The big discovery adjacent to the school was finding both a beaver lodge and dam. I had noticed a greater amount of water accumulated behind the school and wondered if we had had that much rain to fill the area. When I saw the dam, I realized what was happening. Beavers have to have a certain depth of water in which to build lodges. The hidden entrance is beneath the surface and must not be exposed. This activity bares watching. I also observed a new beaver lodge over in the Sprague Pond wetlands, so these animals are setting up housekeeping nearby. However, there is no new beaver activity at the campground's Lily Pond, as we've had in the past.

So, watch for Vole activity in your yards, and look for mushrooms up in trees to prove a point. Do you have any beaver activity in your neck of the woods? 11/1/10 Ronnie, and November novelties!