WiseAcre Gardens

north of the adirondacks – wildflowers & perennials that survive winters colder than my wife's feet

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Posted by WiseAcre on Jan 19th, 2011

turkey, deer and a sleepy eyed porcupine

Jan 19

Another post of the same old wildlife stew I see nearly every day.

Yesterday a turkey sentry foiled my attempt to sneak up on the flock. I spotted it before it saw me but there was no getting around it.

turkey hidden by brush

My estimate of how many turkeys live in the neighborhood took a big jump when I saw this flock. There were at least 40 left in the field by the time I managed to get a photograph. Who knows how many vanished from sight before I made it to the crest of the rise and could actually see the corn field. That sentry had gobbled a warning and the flock was in full retreat.

turkey flock fleeing

This is a continuation of the view at the extreme right. Just a little bit beyond that the turkeys were disappearing into the woods at the corner of the field.

turkeys in winter cornfield

Continuing our hike dog and I came across other small groups of turkeys in more corn fields. I’d estimate I easily saw more than 60 turkeys on our walk that day. Who knows how many remained out of sight? I used to think there was probably 40 to 60 turkeys around. So much for thinking.

Pookey finally sees some deer. …and froze in her tracks. This might actually be the first time she actually saw any deer on one of our walks.

pookey finally see some deer

Once dog and I made the rounds of the crop fields we headed through the woods to the porcupine tree. It seemed ‘snowball’ had not moved since the last visit but this time it at least looked at me with sleepy eyes.

porcupine justwoken up

Posted by WiseAcre on Jan 7th, 2011

Neighborhood Stalker

Jan 7

Yep, that’s me. Unfortunately I have a sidekick that doesn’t have a clue of what I’m doing. Dog has a nose for following but she always seems to be out in front. Today was no exception. As I cautiously eased my way to the edge of the woods to scan the cornfield Pookey burst out into the open and immediately caught the attention of the turkeys that were busy scraping a living.

Can’t see them? Look closer and you might notice the tiny black spot just to the right and slightly beyond the shrub (island) in the middle of the photo.

winter cornfield

At full zoom (18x) the camera makes it possible to see exactly what the black dots way out in the field are. While the photos aren’t worth writing home about at least I have proof I see turkeys.

winter cornfield turkeys

The turkeys quickly scrambled over the small rise and vanished out of sight. Dog and I followed and we discovered that the turkeys had turned into deer.

winter cornfield deer

6 deer were also gleaning a meal in the cornfield. I froze when I saw them but Dog just kept following her nose. Of course Pookey never saw the deer but they certainly saw her.

winter cornfield deer

In typical fashion the deer flashed their white tails while getting the heck out of there.

white tail deer

With the wildlife spooked we continued down to the river. I was a bit surprised at the extent the river had frozen over considering the ‘mild’ weather lately.

grasse river ice

Not surprising (to me) was that the river also ran (downhill) away from me. Looks like Dog scared it by getting ahead of me again.

grasse river ice

Ice pile up. This is as close to a traffic jam I’ll ever get in my neighborhood.

grasse river ice

One of many streams that run downhill through the wooded neighborhood.

winter stream

Last stop – Porcupine Pillars. It looks like this upscale porcupine condo has a waiting line. There are a couple of hollow spots in the old maple tree so either this porcupine is snow bathing or waiting to fill a vacancy as soon one opens up.

porcupine snowball

Posted by WiseAcre on Aug 27th, 2010

Bass Fishing on the Grasse

Aug 27

Grasse River – Pyrites to Canton

The canoe launch at the bridge on County Road 21 (Pyrites – Hermon Rd) is usually more rock than river this late in the summer. For the first half mile or so the river is much too shallow to float your boat. Launching anything but a rubber duck here means wading in the shallow water and dragging your boat behind you over the rocks. But a heavy rain (over 3 inches) the other day raised the water level significantly making this section of river navigable to canoes and kayaks.

Grasse River near Pyrites   Grasse River near Pyrites
The current is swift but running the ‘rapids’ here is easy. The water depth was a good couple of feet. Standing waves marked the location of rocks just under the surface that you could easily get hung up on but were easily avoided.

Once around the first bend you’ll see the discontinued gauging station (04265000), the last records from this station are from 1977. The river settled down somewhat here, the current was still swift but there were few if any submerged boulders to worry about so I started casting about. Before I entered the first flat water section I had caught a couple small bass. Around 7 inch, they were nothing to write home about.

  gauging station on the Grasse River

Harrison Creek empties into the Grasse River just before the old bridge abutments where a road must have connected Barnes Rd with the Miner Street Rd long ago.

Harrison Creek discharge on the Grasse River
the canoe is pointing right at the creek entrance

Harrison Creek

A tree had recently fallen across the creek just above a beaver dam now topped by the high water.

  I could see two barriers as soon as I started paddling up the creek.

Harrison Creek

The creek turned out to be the hot spot of the day. I pulled in 4 bass within minutes of each other in this short section of the creek. The first was a 15 incher, the next was about 13 followed by two 10 inchers. The 5 inch monster got away.

smallmouth bass

After the creek my luck changed. I caught plenty of bass but most were in the 7 inch range with the largest pushing 9 inches. As luck would have it the big fish never took the bait on the Grasse. But that’s no big deal, fishing is only one excuse I use to go canoeing. (as if I needed any)

Canoeing the Grasse River

Owl   By the time I hit this section I still had a good 5 miles left to go before I reached Canton. I’d pause long enough to cast into likely spots, maybe catch a little bass and move on. If I fished the whole length I would not have made it to the takeout before dark. So I paddled easy and took in the sights, the scarlet red of Cardinal Flowers highlighted the yellow blooms of Sneezeweed along the entire trip. Other wildflowers such as Joe Pye-weed and Swamp Milkweed had gone by but the white flowers of Turtleheads were still hanging in there. All was silent including an owl but it’s movement when it did a Linda Blair on me caught my attention. After a couple of quick photos I continued my paddle.

One panorama after another comes into view as you round the numerous bends in the river.

Grasse River - Pyrites to Canton section

Sometimes a little rain must fall.

Grasse River upstream from Canton

This turtle has more climbing skills than I imagined possible. That stump was almost straight up. How that turtle managed to climb up there is beyond me.


The mouth of the Little River marked the last leg of my trip to the boat launch on County Rt 27 just outside the Village of Canton. A few minutes more and my 5 hour canoe journey would be over. I’m not sure how much time I spent fishing, drifting, hiding under overhanging trees to avoid the couple downpours that passed by or just plain goofing off. Even a little Muskrat Love kept me dawdling on the river.

Muskrat swimming

The little fur ball didn’t seem to mind my intrusion so I maneuvered closer for a more personal encounter.

Muskrat - Ondatra zibethicus

This was my last distraction, I did spot some ripe Jack in the Pulpit berries on the bank of the Little River as I paddled by but I didn’t let them stop me. I was wet as the muskrat and twice as hungry and just wanted to get home to some dry clothes and a hot meal.

Use the Google map to follow the course of the trip from the bridge on the Grasse River to the takeout on the Little River

View Larger Map

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