Skunks emerged early from their slumber. Given the weather perhaps they never settled into a long nap this winter. On a walk-about with Kodi today we passed through an area with a pungent skunk odor. Now that they are up and about searching for grubs and insects and worms and berries, they will also keep their nose in the air in search of a mate. Mating occurs around Valentine's Day.
In the morning the ground feels hard after a night of below freezing temperatures. Throughout the day the sun warms and softens the ground. By day's end deer create muddy tracks in the back woods, as they step through the soft snow into pools of water beneath.
The setting sun has melted snow off the fallen logs in our woods, exposing a carpet of lush moss. It feels like woolly bears and salamanders should be crawling about soon, but surely that is still a few months away. Maybe cold and snow will return and the skunks can resume their nap. They still have a few weeks before pressed to consider their Valentine.