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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Muskrat Love

Kind of a belated Earth Day post. My beautiful Shenandoah Valley has been threatened lately by a big bad forest fire. We are deeply grateful for the diligent firefighters who are getting on top of the blaze. Thank heavens, some much needed rain is moving into our area. Finally. We didn't get those April showers you hear songs about.

I've had to drag the long hose around the garden every darn day to water the many wildflower seeds I've sown, and my salad patch. The seedlings are at the newly emerged stage when moisture is essential. I didn't have to go around with the hose yesterday or today and am praying for more rain. When you're a gardener and a farmer--I'm both--you rely heavily on Mother Nature.

Even during a drought/forest fire, I've noted forecasters would rather cut off their arm than promise us anything but fair weather over the sacred weekends. Get in touch with nature, people.

(Image above of the valley in spring taken several years ago by my mom.)

Meanwhile, life on our farm pond goes on. Meadow larks trill from the grass. Geese, ducks, swans, and now muskrats are all busy with their spring rituals. This generally involves egg laying and peeping offspring. I've spotted goslings. Ducklings appear a little later. No baby muskrats yet, but the adults are nesting. The swans come and go, so we don't think they have a nest. They are new arrivals on our pond this spring. Refugees, actually. Believe it or not, swan are under attack in Virginia for being too aggressive when nesting. So are geese. We just give them a wide berth.

(Look closely for the muskrat.)

(Swan with ducklings. My DH took these pics.)

(Daughter Elise got this shot of the goslings)

I find abundant inspiration in nature, and set many of my stories in our misty mountains. My new YA series, The Secret Warrior, is set there. On a clear day, I can see the Alleghenies from our farm. The ridges roll endlessly to the west. We're only miles from the foothills. Hop in the car, and we're there. The Blue Ridge are a little farther to the east. From the tall hill where some friends live, the mountain ranges surrounding our lovely valley are visible in every direction. A spectacular panoramic view.

Without the abundant life around me, I don't know what I'd write. I'm a gardener/nature lover and an author. The two hold hands.

Hubby took a video of the muskrat and other wildlife on our pond. A morning radio program is going in the background, but you can still hear geese and bird calls. I tried and tried to get the video to load here but it refused. I put it on FB: Author Beth Trissel.

Go out and plant something, or put in a water garden, bird feeder, or whatever brings more life to your bit of earth.

Breaking news! After about six hours I got the video on YouTube.


  1. Hi Beth: Couldn't agree more with you about being connected to the earth, watching the seasons change, basking in the light of a full moon, or just feeling earth beneath my feet. And LOL re: the hoses. They are the bane and savior of my outdoor activities, esp. the never-kink kind which are always tangled. What a lovely part of our country in which you live. Really enjoyed your post.

  2. Thanks! The hoses are a lifesaving nightmare. :)

  3. Beth, the video showed up here just fine for me. Loved your post and video. Exciting to see a muskrat not in a zoo. I never had. I can see that the water level on your pond is much lower than it has been. You live in a beautiful area and I appreciate you sharing it with us.

  4. Yes, water level very low, but rain has fallen from the sky lately at last and we hope for more. Thanks so much for the high five on the post.

  5. Nature is persistent sometimes. I've been shooing mating doves away from the ledge of the front door at my daughter's house all day! Enjoyed the photos.

  6. Beautiful pics & video, Beth! Nothing as exotic as muskrats in my suburb, although there seem to a bunch of bunnies (usually eating our flowers).


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