The transition from March to April was unnoticeable. It has been cold enough at night to keep the ground frozen almost all day. Most afternoons there is only a little melting, and yet somehow the snow has receded from our field.
The first big April surprise was the return of “Twiggy.” Against all odds she has survived the winter. I have never seen a live deer in such awful shape. In fact when she lies down it is difficult to tell if she is alive. The cold nights are still stressful, and she retreats to her bed in the woodshed at dusk and sometimes doesn’t come out until sunrise. She has more difficulty chewing than she did before, and it is pitiful to watch her struggle. All the deer are moving out of their winter retreats; each day there are new tracks in the road. I put out the salt block, and they immediately took advantage of it.
Maggie and Matt came for a visit, and Pat and I got some alone time with little Flynn. I walked him around after he had his dinner. “Toodling” as we call it, seems to be the only way to relax him enough to fall asleep. Sure enough, one moment he was squirming around, and the next he was asleep in my arms. I can’t remember when I last had that experience. In sleep his little face is so soft and smooth, a perfectly clean page with no life experience etched upon it.
The Wilderness EMT training for Franklin Memorial Hospital was the big event for us in April. The first weekend was for first time students; it was a very talented group. Mike Senecal, Dennis Kerrigan, Gabe Gunning and Al Sleight were instructors. This is the first time we have done a course in spring, and I was surprised at how well it went. The weather was cooperative, perhaps for the first time ever. Days were warm and sunny and nights cool and crisp. Without the normal downpour, the yard remained dry and “mud season” was pretty much over before the class began. Dennis came up with a water rescue scenario for the big “sim” during the second weekend. We had a record number of people participating in that, and it went extremely well. In spite of the instructors efforts to make it tough, eleven patients were rescued and treated in less than three hours. That might be a record in itself. I am in awe of all who can respond and function well in unfamiliar wildland at night.
Lots of familiar deer have returned to graze on fresh green grass in our field. Most of the does are big enough to be carrying twins. I saw a couple of familiar young bucks with the first velvet bumps beginning to grow. I believe this year we are going to see a dramatic rise in the population. Even though winter was fairly rough, there was a solid crust for the deer to walk on for a good part of the winter.
The moose population appears to be taking a dramatic rise also. Tracks on the Long Falls Dam Road are everywhere along the roadside and we are dodging them at dawn and dusk.
Finally, at the end of April I went on a smelting trip with three old friends. It was one of the best short trips I have ever taken. The weather was great, the smelts ran, the trout were biting, and I can’t recall the last time I laughed so long and so hard.
Now we are looking forward to mowing lawns and fishing and of course black flies. I can’t wait.
Greg and Pat