Friday, March 28, 2008

Early Morning Visitor in the Back Orchard

Jan Gibson

We're early risers around here and often see deer who have bedded down in the orchards. We've also had skunks who take great exception to our two dogs being allowed into the fenced orchard before dawn. Since getting a couple of not-so-gentle reminders from the skunks, we wait until daylight to allow the dogs to run in there!

So, when I let the dogs out this morning and they started barking along the orchard fence (which borders the back yard), I had a sick feeling that a skunk had wandered closer to the house than they normally do. I was relieved to find a possum scurrying as fast as it could go toward the back of the orchard. I guess it felt it might get caught out in the open of the hay field on the other side of the fence so it quickly climbed into the grape arbor and hid itself among the unpruned vines.

Possums, (or o'possums), are weird creatures to look at but I kind of like them. We hardly ever see one as, like the skunks, they're nocturnal. Some possums are very pretty, like the one this morning. Some are pretty scraggly looking and not so appealing. This one had soft-looking, almost pearl colored fur but I know it's actually rather coarse to the touch and they're usually a darker gray color.

Since I was photographing so early in the morning, I didn't get any great pictures of the possum (this photo has been enhanced) and this was about the only clear shot of it that I got because of all the grape vines it was hiding behind. I've been wanting to sort of catalog our wildlife and do some drawings or paintings of actual animals that I've seen around here. We have an abundance of sightings but I think I'm going to have to get a better camera in order to get good, clear shots of them. Sketching from life is a near impossibility as most won't hold still long enough or, like this possum, are only seen at dusk or dawn!


erin said...

i love that you cannot see the entire possum. it looks a cute stuffed animal toy. it would make such a lovely painting.

Jeanette said...

It was good to get that clear a shot of the possum Paulette. I agree with Erin, it is rather cute, though probably a snappy snarling mass if you got too close.

Being here on the island, we have none of these creatures. No skunks or possums or porcupines or deer. Moose, coyotes, bears and others abound however.

Jeanette said...

Sorry Jan, I called you Paulette for some reason! It must be getting late - bed time... :)

Jan said...

Thanks for stopping by, Erin! Yes, he/she looks cute & cuddly but, as Jeanette said, they can be right nasty! Maybe I'll sketch or paint it one day soon.

Hee hee, Jeanette. I've been called worse than Paulette so definitely not a problem!

I think I'd rather have our critters than moose, bear & the minks that get your chickens and geese! I did see a coyote here for the first time a month or so ago. At one time, they were never found on this side of the Mississippi River but I guess they've become fairly common now.