Playing Possum Part II

    This is a possum, doing what possums do. 
 And this is Oliver, who sent the baby possum into fake rigor mortis. Oliver surprised the creature but hadn’t so much as nudged it when the possum flopped down and started playing dead. Its tongue was even hanging out. 

A late night excursion proved the possum was safely gone. 

This is the second time I’ve seen a possum play possum. It’s kind of amazing that it works. (The leash probably aided in the survival chances, too, though Oliver’s not really a killer.)

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Picked Up A Hitchhiker This Morning 

   It rode with us all the way to daycare, where Dylan and I dropped it off on a nearby flower.

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Post-Work Pre-Dinner Run

A trail/road hybrid squeezed into a busy day. I’ll take ’em where I can get ’em!

And with these views, the run was doubly rejuvenating!

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Woolly Bear Prognostications

Along with the colder weather and beautiful foliage, fall brings the wolly bear caterpillar. 

As a kid I believed these were going to turn into monarchs. I think I assumed the colors on the caterpillar foretold the colors of the butterfly so it made sense in my head. 

Actually, the wolly bear grows up to become the Isabella tiger moth. But not before spending the winter frozen solid! These hardy caterpillars overwinter in our region in logs and piles of leaves. They dehydrate themselves before hibernating. And their circulatory system produces a cryoprotectant, a substance keeps their organs protected from freeze-damage. But otherwise they are little wormsickles until they thaw out in the spring. 

In warmer climates they can complete their whole lifecycle–from egg to larval stage (caterpillar) to pupating (in the cocoon) to emerging as a moth–in one summer. But in Vermont, our warm seasons are just too short. So they spend the winter in suspended animation until they can thaw out in the spring and get a wriggle on.

This woolly bear had just been picked up by a toddler (not mine; mine prefers hands-off observation, unlike his mum), thus the tightly curled ball. But you can still see that it’s pretty rusty in the middle. Folk wisdom says that means we’re going to have an easy winter. The more orange on the wolly bear, the milder the winter. 

Rather than dispute the wisdom of my forebears with actual science, I’m going to take heart in the promise of fewer arctic days and nights, fewer times plowing the driveway and shoveling a path to the garage, and a lower heating bill. 

And I’ll keep an eye out for the wolly emergence and quick transformation to tiger moth in spring. Which will be coming early; this little guy told me so.

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Vermont Commute Series, #3



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Nature Is Everywhere 

Even on a classroom door at pick-up time.


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