A Moose Visits the Homestead

Reader Contribution by Bethann Weick
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It was mid-April, and I was away for a weekend helping a friend and her family inoculate a new season’s worth of shiitake mushroom logs. It was a short trip away, but at this time of year, changes seem to punctuate each hour. Thus, upon my return two days later, I was astounded by how little snow cover remained. Winter wrens were singing my approach, and the roar of the river left no question in my mind as to it’s frigid power.

I walked towards our clearing, smiling to see our footbridges now visible without snow. A wave of joy washed over me at the first sight of the shed, and the cabin beyond. I quickly spotted moose tracks through the mud, and wondered how the creature was finding spring.  In the few moments it took to walk to our granite stoop, my eyes caught the daffodils and tulips poking through leaf duff beside the sunny rocks out front. I noticed that sufficient snow had melted to allow for the pruning of winter damage from our young fruit trees and the tidying up of our many blueberry bushes – I would do that after unpacking.  I righted the snow shovel that had fallen when it’s snow drift slumped, and picked up the snow stake that no longer had snow at its base. Evidence of spring was sending me so many details to grasp I didn’t see what was right beside me.

My hand on the door handle, I turned to call Mica.  Instead, I chortled my own words into a surprised gasp of “oh…hey…” The moose itself was looking right at me.

While it seemed to find my obliviousness curious, it did not find my speech reassuring.  It trotted away towards the eastern woodline, kindly sidestepping the asparagus patch.  From there, we watched each other obliquely.  I, for one, was trying to watch subtly, without staring.  Perhaps she was doing the same.  She seemed well-fed, and her coat thick.  The exception, though, being high on her withers.  There, significant bare spots were visible –  the result, I assumed, of rubbing herself against tree trunks trying to alleviate the persistence of winter ticks.

She nosed about, then turned and headed north, again staying just to the side of the now snow-free garden beds.  I whispered a thank-you.

As the afternoon went on, I finished pruning and spent the later hours splitting wood for fall.  The moose continued to come back and forth, and we cautiously shared the clearing for brief moments.  At times it was I who retreated to the cabin; other times it was she who double-backed to the woodline.  Eventually she trotted off, delicately picking a path along the old woods trail.

My own elation at bare ground, plant buds, and warm sun kept me outside to the dinner hour.  The moose, perhaps, in her own way, was experiencing her own pleasure in the coming of spring.

Spring is here! Time to prune your fruit trees, berry bushes, and ornamental shrubs! Time to design your garden! Time to purchase new nursery stock! Contact Beth via b.a.weick@gmail.com for your garden and orchard needs.

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