After a very mild November and December, January 2016 has arrived with more winter like temperatures. We also had our first very light dusting of snow the other day. The cats are handling the cold well, but much prefer our days of warmth and sunshine.
I am still trying to figure out the new hound heater that is used to heat the heated shelters. Hampton’s is in a position that is hard to read the temperature dial. I thought I was turning it the correct direction, but last night the temperature in his shelter dropped to 37 while the other shelter that houses Shadow and Stellar didn’t drop below 53. I did some investigating today and determined that the heat pads I use for Shadow and Stellar also put off heat. Hampton’s head pad requires pressure to be applied for it to heat. I rearranged some of the other shelters and changed out heat pads so Hampton’s shelter will have the same heat pads as Shadow and Stellar. So far this seems to make a difference as the temperature has warmed. I had my husband take a look and he discovered a gap at the top where the warm air might be escaping. This will require a small fix. Fortunately the night time temperatures are to be better for the next few nights before another cold snap arrives. This will give him some time to properly fix it.
With the mild November and December and not having any measurable snow, the deck canopy is still up. The cats love to use their “magic boxes” during the day instead of being stuck in the heated houses. The magic boxes are warm enough to use as long as the day time temperature is near 30. I do believe there will come a time when the canopy will have to come down. It is not made to handle piling snow. For now I will continue to watch the forecast and allow it to remain for as long as possible.
Stellar has been around a lot more this past week. His routine was to always leave by mid morning and not return until dinner. He would then leave again and return around 9-10pm. He often would leave during the night as well. Now with the colder temperatures he has been around almost all day and all night. This makes Shadow very happy. He loves having Stellar here.
The wildlife is also more prevalent this past week. The deer are here 2 or more times throughout the day and before I go to bed. During the night there is at least one that passes through each hour. I see many bucks during the night. I have also been seeing the fox 3-4 times each week. The fox just saunters through the yard and occasionally stops for a drink of water. The skunks have not been out the past two nights, but each night that is above 20 they are out and about. Fortunately the raccoons have only been in the yard on occasion. Each year they seem to find their way onto the deck and are a nuisance to the cats. I never leave food out during the night, but I assume they can smell where they food has been.
My favorite deer, Gimpy has been here several times each day. She still travels with a group of 4 or 5 others. One of them is a doe that has been with her for years. I call her Big Mama as she is quite large. There is also another doe as well as 2 male fawns. Gimpy’s fawn is not always with her. He is maturing and starting to break away from the group. I have read that between 6-9 months of age, the males leave their mothers for good while the females will often remain with their mothers for years. The other male fawn just recently joined the group. He has injured his left rear leg. I am calling him Limpy. When he first started coming with the group, they would not allow him to eat the corn or drink the water. It was very sad to watch. He is not one of their fawns so I thought they were trying to make him leave. This past week, Limpy and Gimpy have been showing up together. They arrive either before or well after the others. I assume that they are both moving slower these days with the cold weather. It is nice that they seem to have bonded. Limpy’s limp has improved, but he is still not right. I assume he may always have this limp just like Gimpy.