Melvin the Moose

Today we went in town to do errands, get a load of bread at the bakery and a load of excess milk from the dairy. Interesting little observation at the dairy: In one place on the large expanse of cement floor on the loading docks milk would collect on the floor and not go down the drain. This has apparently been going on for years and it is under something so it doesn’t get cleaned up immediately. Today they had that area roped off so they could do repairs to the floor I suspect. I noted that the cement had been eaten right out of the concrete floor leaving the gravel clearly visible in that area. In fact, the gravel itself looked almost polished. A rather interesting thing – spoilt milk eats cement and maybe stone… Perhaps a double entendre on “Mother Nature’s Buffer Solution.”

On the way home from town as we were rounding the curve by Riddel Pond we noticed a long line of cars had slowed down. Now, around here, if you see cars slowed, I would recommend slowing too. Don’t whiz by unless you like collecting things on your grill, hood or windshield. We slowed down too. Just as we got to the spot Holly spotted a very large moose in the marsh between Riddel Pond and the road. He was up to his shoulders in the grasses. As we arrived he heaved himself up from the mud and leaped onto the road ahead of us. We drive a minivan – the moose is significantly taller. Very significantly since he had his head up. This is Melvin, the resident bull whom we have been watching grow up and rule the valley for the past twelve years. He is a magnificent animal with a huge rack, course dark fur and a long goatee. Melvin ambled across the road and casually jumped the 20 foot ditch on the other side. From there he crashed up into the woods, pushing aside fair sized young trees like they were strung beads of a curtain as he disappeared into the forest.

Hope, who is two, had managed to see him from the back seat. She was very impressed. I explained to her that it was a moose – like a big horse with antlers. She was enthralled and wanted to see more. Holly joked that it was hard enough to find horses to look at with Hope and meese* were going to be even harder to locate on demand. Fortunately we have a nature video at home about North American animals we can watch with her and we will see more in person.

This is the first moose I think Hope has been really cognizant of. The moose use our driveway as a path between the mountain and the marshes and sometimes Melvin brings his ladies and young ones into our pastures. With their long legs they simply step right over our relatively low fences. As the season progresses we’ll hear Melvin bellowing in the woods and on occasion he’ll be knockin’ down small trees and scraping the bark from bigger trees as he cleans his antlers. While normally he is quite calm in his rounds, these are times to stay well clear of his formidable bulk and temper.

*ah, but the plural of ‘moose’ must be ‘meese’ according “Charlie”.

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