Thursday, February 10, 2011

What else are you supposed to do in the Freezing Cold?

O.K....so let me just start by saying that I'm 100% positive that by the end of this post, there will be several people out there who think that our family (or at least me...and especially my dad) needs serious help...and I'm o.k. with that. Before I get into what happened, let me offer this caveat:
Around here, we fancy ourselves amateur explorers...we're blessed to live in an area with so much nature so close by....we feel it's important to seize opportunities to check stuff out..especially in nature. Dissecting a beehive, eyeballing a bunch of frog eggs, prodding a beaver lodge, examining animal tracks in the snow, identifying bird species at the feeder, breaking up a pine cone, checking out milkweed seeds pods....we love this kind of stuff. There really is no better way to learn about nature, science, God....than to get right in the middle of it and soak it in. That brings us to the activity at hand:

Frozen Roadkill Science Extravaganza.

Before I go any further, let me say this...my father is a rather unique guy. He loves The Lord so much. He loves his family so much. I am an only child...my children will be his only grandchildren. he loves them so much. He lives to show them interesting things. My dad's the kind of guy that can (and has) designed and built an entire house from the ground up, but literally has no clue how to turn on the DVD player to watch a movie. Let me pause and show you the guy I'm talking about:

Here he is in all his glory. He broke his hand shoveling snow off the roof last week. He told the orthopedic to give him the "brightest cast that they had". That pretty much tells you all you need to know about him. He's awesome. Anyway...back to the Roadkill.

2 weeks ago...my dad was so excited to tell me the story of how he found a dead hawk on the side of the road...in relatively good condition...frozen solid. He was so excited for me to show it to Gavin and Ivy and to teach them about it. It turned out to be a very cool experience. The Hawk was in very good condition. We looked at the markings and referenced them to a local bird field guide and found it to be a Sharp-Shinned Hawk. We got to check out all of the cool aspects of this bird...the reptilian feet and talons...the curved beak, the sharp eyes. It may sound really weird and disgusting to you...but what a cool opportunity it was for Gavin and I to explore this awesome animal...this was the closest that we would ever come to one of these creatures. Getting to see all of the little parts that makes it such an efficient hunting machine.....it was great stuff. I regret that we didn't take a picture of it, but we did save a few tail and wing feathers:



Definitely cool...but nowhere near as cool as what my dad found yesterday.

He emailed me to tell me that he had something amazing to show me...and...if you are into frozen roadkill...he was right on.

A Fisher Cat.

Dead...but very well preserved. Now, for those of you not in the know....
the Fisher Cat (or Fisher, to some) is, pound for pound, one of the most deadly animals on earth. It looks somewhat like a big weasel and is a relative of the marten. They have the ability to rotate their hind paws 180 degrees...which gives them the ability to climb trees and then turn and descend them head first (unlike a cat or raccoon, which has to "back" down")...because of this, they are considered as efficient a hunter as a puma or leopard. If you live in MA and have had a pet cat killed, chances are it was at the hands of a Fisher Cat. Pretty much, whatever they hunt...they kill. But the craziest thing about them isn't this...it's their call.
The call of a Fisher Cat is other-worldly....it literally sounds like a small child in horrid pain and great distress. Like a little girl being brutally injured...google it, check it out. We hear them throughout the Spring and Summer in the woods near our house...it's chilling.
I've heard calling as close as our back yard, but have never spotted one. Until yesterday:

He was awesome to check out....his teeth, his claws...the pads on his feet that looked just like a house cats. He's got an amazing coat....super soft and full. We had a great time checking him out. We're going to give him to a family friend who is into taxidermy to see what he can do with it.

Call it weird...call it bizarre....but the fact is....God gave us this amazing world to explore....we pay 25 bucks a pop to go to a zoo to check out exotic animals at 100 feet away....we got to do the same thing...just frozen and at point blank range. Is it really so weird?

Thank You, Lord...for these amazing creatures....for the tools that you give them to survive...teeth....claws....talons...instinct....how much more to you care for and equip us?

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