WELCOME DECEMBER! It was 52 degrees this morning.......this is December weather? Where is the snow? I think the animals must be terribly confused. Just as examples, yesterday I found a lovely spider web and its handsome maker, poised over the doorway into the bathroom off Western Reach! Was he looking to trap mosquitoes? I haven't seen one of those in a month or so, but I have seen moths flying around. Needless to say, the bathrooms are seldom used these days on the campground. Flush toilets are inoperable anyway. I also picked what may be some of the last broccoli in my garden, and darn if there still aren't those green caterpillars chewing that plant! In the picture to the left you see where some animal, probably a mouse, has dined on a rose hip, using a bird nest for a dining room table. The nest has been tipped down to reveal the contents.

I had another interesting insect encounter this week. I had some organic lettuce in the refrigerator and brought out some for a salad. Hidden in the leaves, was a Ladybug Beetle which I retrieved before it went down the drain. I placed it on the counter for a closer look, upside down. I wanted to see how it would turn over! After watching it squirm with legs flying in all directions as it spun in place, when all of the sudden it opened those hard wing covers (elytra) and out came these thin, folded wings! That was all it took to accomplish a turnover. I kept doing it, as it displayed its ability to achieve a walking posture. These insects are amazing and beautiful. Here it is in the turnover mode. One wing is stuck out above, the other still unfolding. I wonder if you would have guessed what it was if I hadn't explained the situation!

This final picture is a sad commentary on the hunting season. I spotted this buck hanging from a tree on the West Point Road. I sure hope it impregnated a bunch of does before losing its life. Why do they hang these like trophies in front yards? Such a beautiful animal.......I hope the one like it seen on the island remains in the safety of that No Hunting environment. Perhaps I have a bias. Yes, I know that these animals can become a problem when they venture near our homes and chew our shrubs and flower bulbs, but isn't that because they are losing their private spaces to roam and find natural foods? Sighting these animals is a joy, especially in the spring when the young are born and cared for. Still, I mourn for this animal hung out for display (and to cure I'm told). Though the rifle season is over, deer are still hunted and so far 154 have been taken this year.

On a happier subject, my beach walks have been highlighted by windblown foam patterns. In places, the foam accumulates and "balls" blow up on to the dry sand leaving sandy puffs above the strand line. There are an unusual number of Quahog shells thrown up on Head Beach. We seldom find them alive, but they are subtidal - perhaps farther out than where we find the Surf Clams. I found one Quahog with a beautiful purple edging that would have been a source of Wampum, a Native American form of currency.

What will December bring? We may get our first snow next week, and the end to mud.......12/2/06 Wandering and wondering Ronnie.