No need to venture farther than our own backyard for a menagerie of wildlife. The recent woodchuck (groundhog) boom has provided us with many miniature eating machines. Their love of dandelion greens and such is ok, but now they've discovered the delicacy of blooming purple lupines and who knows what else(not ok). We thought our cute and playful resident foxes romping in the yard might take a liking to woodchuck, but I just saw one curled up on the woodchip pile with Mom and Pop woodchuck relaxing nearby. Perhaps the foxes know better than to mess with those feisty little critters. We've also been visited by three healthy young bucks displaying their handsome antlers in velvet. They love to parade through the gardens and nibble off the tender lily tops and roses(or, if not them, something is!). I've lost some of my enthusiasm for gardening as the local animal population has risen, but thank goodness they haven't developed a taste for basil! I plant all I can get. My solution this year is to plant an herb garden on our upper deck. Surely they can't get up there.
I hesitate to mention the lousy weather we've endured this week--rain, fog, mist, cool temps and overcast skies. Seems I can't get enough sleep and caffeine to keep me going. It was finally not threatening rain yesterday (so we thought) and we ventured up to a favorite hike up past Spirit Mtn. After driving through the thickest fog I've ever seen (Jim was sleeping) we embarked on a very muddy Superior Hiking trail. The mist in the trees had a sort of "Lord of the Rings" feel and was actually quite peaceful. Hoping to avoid the mud we opted to take the nice grassy ski trail back. Unfortunately the knee deep vegetation was covered in water droplets which quickly soaked our jeans, but not as much as the swamps and water holes we encountered quite frequently. To make matters worse, we had taken the wrong way on the ski trail and gone the long way around. And then it started to rain. Of course, Sven and Ivy thought this was the best hike ever and merrily splashed through one puddle after another. We've never seen Ivy so chipper and full of energy. An hour later we sloshed to the car with pants soaked to our thighs and gratefully warmed our chilled feet with the car heater. Hot soup, spiced ginger tea and cookies never tasted so good. We hear the sun may shine tomorrow. As our guests have been saying, "At least it's not snowing!"