Monday, January 21, 2013

The Marten Motel

When we got to the lodge this fall, Mike told me that they'd had lots of trouble with martens getting into the buildings and boats, causing mischief.  We see them regularly outside around the lodge, and see their tracks everywhere in the snow.

Martens are a member of the weasel family, and although they're cute, they do make a mess if they get inside.  It wouldn'd be so bad if they were toilet trained.

This fall we discovered that there were martens dining and living in the "store," over in the townsite.  We had a small trap at the lodge, but it was too small for the marten.  We found this homemade trap at the lodge, which we modified and baited up.  To our surprise, it caught a marten.  The town caretakers, Keith and Jackie, called me on the VHF radio, and because we have a bigger and faster skiff, we became the Marten Mobile and went over to pick up Mac.

Jen and I ran Mac out to a remote part of the bay.

It's an ugly spot, but we thought it would make a good marten home.

Mac Marten thought so too and took off, running up into the woods, as soon as the door was open.

After that, we didn't catch any more martens in the old trap, but we could see them (and their messes) inside the store.  They're not particularly shy--I went in one day and a marten just sort of followed me around.  We ordered some new traps, and a few weeks later, we were back in business.  This trap houses Rowan, marten Number Two.

Each day we'd get a call on the VHF, and would run over to pick up that day's marten for relocation.  We called this guy Artie, Number Three.

We caught six marten in six days and were running out of Laugh In names and places to release them.

I wonder why they put this warning on here, "Caution: always wear heavy gloves when transporting trapped animals."  Good idea, because these guys scream and snarl  and come after you if you get too close to the cage.  I've been told they spray, too, but we never experienced that.

On day seven, we caught two!

We found a new spot to release them, farther away, Numbers Seven and Eight.

Catching eight marten in seven days made us a little suspicious.  Were these guys making their way back to the store?  We spray painted these two so we could recognize them if they returned.  I discovered that it's not that easy to spray paint a marten when the old paint can is at 32 degrees, the marten won't stay still, and you're "wearing heavy gloves for transporting trapped animals."

Just a hint of paint, so we can tell the ones who return to the store.  Away goes Number Seven.

Number Eight couldn't wait to get out!

But he knew what to do once he got loose!

Looking back to the skiff from the safety of the rocks.

When Marten Number Nine was trapped (better pronounced "Nummba Nyan") a day later, our suspicions were confirmed.  This little guy had a whisper of white paint on his fur.  Number Nine was actually Number Seven or Eight, but we fondly called him Nummba Nyan.  

In less than 24 hours this marten had traveled several miles (three mountains, two lonnng arms of water, a salt chuck, and a river) from across the bay to return to his beloved B&B (bread and butter)!  As you look at this photo, look at the mountain peak on the right, then follow down the slope to the left, all the way down to the point in the distance.  NN would have returned from that far locale, running all the way along the shore towards the right, continuing out of the photo through more terrain and water and circling around behind us, finally arriving at the townsite behind the skiff as it's positioned in this photo.  We were stunned that these guys can cover so much ground so quickly!

Feral decided to keep her distance when Nummba Nyan stopped by for a taste of jam.  We'd been told that raspberry jam is supposed to calm martens down.  I only had strawberry jam, and it did calm him down--until I tried to take away the spoon.

The following day our Marten Mobile was again summoned, and who do you think it was waiting for us?  Nummba Nyan!  Amazing.  Off we shuttled him again, this time out of the bay entirely and out to a spot in Chatham Strait.

  Several days went by before we found one more trapped marten.  This one was a newbie, and I spray painted Number Eleven with blue.   So, we have ended up trapping a total of eleven marten (although three of them were Nummba Nyan).   We haven't caught any in the last week or so and have discontinued baiting the traps.  If we see any evidence that they're back in residence (scattered oatmeal and hot chocolate, among other types of scat), we'll start up again.

Some Feral Shots


    Everybody likes Feral better than us, so here are a few extra shots of Feral's winter so far this year.

Feral's new favorite toy....Jen's jacket.

Waiting for martens on the deck.

Forging a trail.

Waiting for something to move.

"Zat you, Santy Claus?"

Snorkle Up
Heading Home on the toilet trail.

Christmas is Feral's second favorite day of the year.  Halloween ranks number one.
Photo: I am usually a DAWG cat, but today I'm a DUCK cat.  Go Ducks!  (and then com-m-m-m-m-e visit my fud dish...)  QUAAAAAAAAACK!
Ready to watch the Ducks Bowl game!

Today is National Dress Up Your Pet Day!
Gator on the loose!
Watching the Seahawks lose in the last 15 seconds of their playoff game!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Christmas 2012

We had a good Christmas in our winter wonderland.

The view from the dining room.

We were fortunate to find a Christmas tree growing in the intertidal zone (otherwise we would have needed a permit from the US Forest Service to cut it down).  It came pre-flocked, but that didn't last long in the house.

Getting ready for Santa's visit.

Jen's been taking a photo class, so she's been looking for objects to practice some of her artsy effects.

As we adult-types know, Christmas is all about the kids!

Feral hardly slept the night before Christmas!

Of course, the paper was just as much fun as the gifts!

God Bless Us, Every One!

We hope you all had a Great Holiday!

December 2012

We had quite the mix of weather in December.  Our weather logs show a little over 10 inches of rain, 75 inches of snow, and relatively mild temperatures, with the lowest temperature we recorded at 16 degrees.

A view of the lodge from the dock after one of our snowstorms.

Putting our new LED lights to good use.

Sunrise coming!

A view from the boardwalk in Baranof, the small community near the lodge.

We did have some clear days.

The calm days were good for kayaking.

We kayaked over to Schooner Cove where our old dock is in temporary residence.

We had a long snap of freezing temperatures that gave us a pretty impressive displays of icicles.

Of course, sharp ice attached to tons of snow on a steeply sloped roof... a recipe for disaster--nothing to mess around with.

Our snow total for the year is now about eight and a half feet.

That's a moderate snow year for us so far....our record year was 36.5 feet.

It seems like we always have heavy rains around the times of the highest tidal range.

At one point, the ramp to the dock was actually sloped up.

The high tides did a good job of clearing the snow banks off the beach.

In freezing temperatures we run an overflow that helps keep our waterlines from freezing.  It also makes a pretty impressive ice formation under the deck--this is probably about six feet tall.

Looking at the back of the lodge from the shop, after the roof just shed its load of snow.

On the way up to the hydro intake with a piece of chaf protection for our hand line, which helps us up and down the steep and icy part.

In search of a Christmas tree across the bay.