Tuesday Morning’s Visitor

Clarksburg, West Virginia, 8 November 2016

I’m not sure if he was just resting in our yard on his way through or if he intended to take up residence there, but when he realized I was looking at him he got up and went away. I’d never seen him before. I would have remembered.

The Buck in the Yard

The Buck in the Yard

I don’t know where the usual little herd of does, fawns, and yearlings was.

Awaiting the Hummingbirds

I noticed yesterday that the ruby-throated hummingbird migration map showed a couple of sightings that must have been close to us, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. The hummingbirds are approaching. This morning I filled the feeder to welcome them when they arrive. There haven’t been any visitors yet, but I think they’ll be around soon.

Hummingbird feeder

Hummingbird feeder

Natural History — The Beaver

From a Twelfth-Century description of the land of the Rūs:

The beaver is a wonderful animal. It lives in the great rivers and builds houses on land, at the edge of the water. It makes a kind of high platform for itself and to the right another, less high, for its wife and to the left another, for its children. Below, there is a place for its slaves. The house has a door which gives on to the river and another, higher up, on to the land. Sometimes, it eats the wood known as khalanj; at other times it eats fish. Some beavers are jealous of others, and make them prisoners.

Those who trade in those lands and through the country of Bulghār have no trouble in distinguishing the fur of slave beavers from those of the masters. This is because the slave beaver cuts the wood of the khalanj and other trees with its teeth, and as it gnaws them, they rub its sides and its hair falls off right and left. Hence they say, ‘This pelt is from the servant of the beaver.’ The fur of the beaver who owns slaves, on the other hand, is perfect.

— Abū Hāmid al-Andalusī al-Gharnātī, The Travels of Abū Hāmid al-Andalusī al-Gharnātī, 1130-1155, translated by Paul Lunde and Caroline Stone