Thursday, February 12, 2009


I totally stole the title of this post from Kate St. John, whose blog Outside My Window is featured by WQED, Pittsburgh's public media outlet. In her post on the topic, she included a fantastic photo of the mouse trails revealed by melting snow.

My photos were taken in the morning a couple of days ago, inspired by Carolyn's yelp when she lifted the blinds that morning. The thing that tugged the old heartstrings was that I walk around where those trails run. In the lower photo, my footprints are visible where I went to retrieve a fallen bird feeder.

No surprise, the trails also run around where I have the tree-hung feeder positioned. Makes me wonder if I collapsed any of their tunnels (surely I must have done) or injured any of them (I am going to assume they are more agile than that).

This also makes me wonder about the ethics of bushwacking through deep snow in winter, when I might be treading on someone's hidey-hole. And about the compaction of soils - I certainly didn't expect to see boot prints from my one-time walk to the site where I retrieved the feeder after snow-melt. I've always imagined that the snow protected the soils from damage. That's why EBWG is closed during the freeze-season.

And this article addresses damage to soils when human activites clear or kill insulating ground cover. The article also explains how structures built on permafrost are doomed because of climate change - how can we even be contemplating erecting more structures in the far North environment for mineral extraction?

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