When opening the Tecumseh trail on Elk Mountain recently, I came across this fellow making his way across the freshly groomed slope on his way back home.

I stopped several feet away from him and hailed him a good morning. It’s uncertain if he could have been less interested in me.

He glanced over his shoulder at my voice, twitched his backside in warning, and waddled unhurried into the woods.

Cold House

Frequented for several years prior, this house went uninhabited the last couple of summers.

Last spring, I emptied the house of  twigs and other interior features that had accumulated. My nose told me that Mr. Mouse and family had probably been squatters in this house at the expense of his avian woodland dweller neighbors.

I thought that I had accomplished this task soon enough after winter to make the house attractive to new spring tenants.

Alas, the house remained empty this summer. It rests now ready to accept occupants as soon as seasons change.