Friday, March 26, 2010

Mystery of the Week

On my walk to the big pond last Tuesday, I found this little skull. Bones always fascinate me. They tell stories if we listen carefully. Normally it’s not hard to tell what animal’s bone or bones they are. But this one has me stumped. Email me with your ideas, please! I have one idea of my own, but won’t “spill the beans” until next week. I’ll let you all have a shot at this mystery of the week.

Top View

View of the roof of its mouth

Note the two front (curved) teeth and the overall size of the skull
Let me know what you think...!

Short Takes

ITEM:  The peepers are in full voice.. What a cacophony they make! I caught one once. It took a lot of patience and a quick dive, but I managed to get one of the little frogs to hold in my hand (and then I turned it loose). They are so small! With voices so big! I always wonder how something so tiny can muster a sound so huge! As they sing in unison, it’s magnified. Truly, it’s reassuring every spring to know we still have them. The worldwide decline in the frog populations signals decline in environmental health.  So, I always wonder if this will be the year they go silent...

ITEM:  We dropped a big hickory (for next year’s firewood) deep in the woods the other day. The Forest Service, in their survey of our farm, had recommended which trees needed to be thinned (trees we could use for fuel). Such was the case with this old, gnarled giant.  It was a free service by our local Forest Service agent, who spent two days surveying our farm, and gave us a “conservation plan” at the end. Many don’t know this service is available. If you’re interested, (and you have enough acreage to warrant the service) call your state’s forest service representative (here in the U.S).to discuss eligibility requirements.

ITEM:  Night before last, I went out after dark, to shut the door on the chicken coop, (having forgotten to do so earlier). The door is located adjacent to our garage. I didn’t bother to turn on the yard light. As I reached the coop door, there was a clatter of large wings over my head, followed by whooshy flapping, as obviously an owl—with my rude intrusion--decided to leave its roost for more suitable hunting. The sound was too large to have been a screech owl. I’m not sure what owl it was. I had noticed the leftovers (owl poop) on my car and had earlier surmised we had an evening camper, and I was delighted, as our rabbit population has increased dramatically and those cute little furry beasts eat gardens. Getting into the car yesterday, I saw the remains of the owl’s meal: a white-footed mouse was still mostly intact just waiting to be consumed by an owl that was no longer there. I felt sad that I had disrupted the owl’s feeding. It takes raptors several tries to “bag” a meal, and they spend a good deal of energy doing so. I so hope the owl returns!

ITEM:  We received our National Geographic in yesterday’s mail. It’s a Special Edition, totally dedicated to Water. The issue is breathtaking in its scope. If you don’t subscribe to NG I recommend you purchase the Special Edition and share it with friends. There are so many reasons we should be concerned about water everywhere in the world. We take it for granted. But…we mustn’t!

That’s it for this week! Yea, Mountaineers! But the best game last night was the Xavier/Kansas State game. WOW! Double Overtime!  Stayed up ‘til midnight and a little beyond! That’s LATE for an old lady!

 Thanks for sharing your week with me!
 Have a delightful weekend!  See you Monday.


  1. Elora, I, too, am fascinated with bones and have quite a collection. I have found that same type of skull and I'm not sure what it is, either! Very interesting. Nice shots!

  2. Elora I'm not an outdoor person in any way - allergies stomp on my head if I'm out too long - so I have no clue about the skull. As small as it is ... please tell us soon! blessings, marlene

  3. Is it some kind of snake skull? It would have been a huge snake, but I can't think of anything else that would have those teeth!

  4. Elora, You astound me with your great posts. Item #1 -- the skull. I am not a forensic expert so I will guess -- a squirrel? But I do have a short bone story to tell you. After I retired I would occasionally sub for an elementary school. I did a long stint for a teacher off on pregnancy leave. They were a tough and rowdy class. One day I brought in some animal bones to share with them and placed them in the teachers top drawer -- and forgot them. When my time was up a few weeks later,I mentioned in a note that I left for the teacher, that the kids were a bit too fiesty. Well, I can imagine her double take when she opened that top drawer and saw the bones I had forgot. -- I am sure she quickly took a quick count of her students. I am going to get that water book. Water is an issue that needs to be addressed ASAP. Elora, thank you for the nice comment on comments! And the peepers, love em, wish it was a tad bit warmer so I could leave the door open at night to listen to them singing. -- barbara

  5. It looks like some sort of rodent to me . I'm not familiar with your local wildlife but I do know that skulls always look much smaller than the 'live' animal.