By Alkali Springs Correspondent
This last week has been one of beauty and tranquility in the beautiful Bear Paw Mountains. With more winter on the way it was really good to have a week of temperatures in the thirties and forties along the way. Wonderful, in fact.
Most of December when we were out at the cabin, our goal was to get back to town before another storm hit. It was sort of like one storm after another and another and another. So these few first days of the new year seems like a wonderful balm just for a little while.
The good news is that melting is so slow that the huge drifts made during December in the high country are still all there and intact. There is more snow melted and in drifts than we got the whole of last winter, so if that keeps up in February and March, we will have springs running that have not run for quite a few seasons.
In the bird department we are amazed that we still have our blue jay at the cabin. Each time we get out there, we expect that we will never see him again because he will decide that Bear Paw weather is just not for him. And our bird feeding has been spazmatic at the least. So first thing we do is to go out and leave a new suet block and a coffee can full of black sunflower seeds each time we arrive at the cabin. Then we unload the car and by the time we are back in the cabin, there is that blue jay eating away at the sunflower seeds and suet too. Along with him come hairy and downy woodpeckers and our ever present chickadees. They are always in our coulee whether or not we are feeding. But that blue jay. He is something else. And so big. We had guests from the Flathead where blue jays are common these days. They told us that ours was huge compared to theirs. Perhaps we have been feeding him so well that he is top heavy and cannot leave until he slims down. Sort of sounds like us after the holidays.
A few weeks ago we had raccoon problems that wouldn't quit. Raccoons kept eating all of our suet we put out for the birds. We don't know how they got up the metal pole to get the suet, but they did night after night. We lost around five cakes. They would open the suet holder, take the suet and go, after first climbing up to a window box and looking in the living room window to see what was happening inside the house. Drove the dog nuts, but we already reported about that. Suffice to say, he is not the same yet. He thinks every noise around the cabin or in town is a raccoon trying to attack him. So anyway, we started putting our suet cakes out in a locked suet holder that no raccoon could open. Didn't help at all. They just drug the whole holder off into the night. Lost two of those.
Then just as quickly as they had appeared at the cabin after a two year absence, they were gone and our suet cakes go unmolested night after night. Strange things during the time of the Northern lights in the beautiful Bear Paw Mountains of Montana.