The elderly man approached as I took a photo of the gazebo which overlooks the stream.
“You don’t want me in this shot, Miss,” he said.
“Good morning, Sir,” I said. “It’s a cold one.”
He walked up to the gazebo and I continued to take photos of the area. My fingers was numb from the cold, the high wind with the -2 C temperature made fleece mitts essential. They didn’t work for the camera however.
A few minutes later, I walked to the gazebo as the man walked away. “Oh, a pair of mallards this morning,” I commented as I passed him. He came back with me.
We watched the ducks for a minute and then he said, “See the muskrat lodge over there?” He pointed to the pile of straw straight ahead of us, in a channel from the main stream. “It wasn’t there yesterday,” he said.
“I didn’t see it yesterday,” I commented. “I saw two muskrats by the lower bridge last week but couldn’t manage a photo of them. I’ve had no luck with muskrats for the last two years.”
“A group of us watched six of them one day by that bridge,” he said as he pointed over his shoulder. “They love peanuts in the shell and wait around by the bridge for them.” He showed me the bag of peanuts he carried on his walks.
I thanked him for the information and for pointing out the muskrat push-up. He turned to leave and we said our goodbyes.
I headed up to the bridge nearby, hoping to see a few birds or maybe a squirrel. I looked in the water below. There was Mrs. Muskrat, bigger than I had ever imagined, sat on a stick.
She was huge, but with what looked like a tiny face, until I noticed the eyes further back on her head.
She had a peanut shell in her mouth. Mrs. posed on the stick for a minute, then slid into the water and was gone.
My husband finished his walk and we met by the bridge. We stayed for a few minutes to see if she would reappear. No such luck!
By the time we arrived home, I was anxious to see the photos. While I’d only managed to get part of her tail in the shot, we were both pleased with the photo; you could even say excited after the two year quest.
We lead a simple life!